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Northport Firemen's Fair dates back to 1930s

Renado Beneforti, 81, of Northport, enjoys an ice

Renado Beneforti, 81, of Northport, enjoys an ice cream cone at the Northport Firemen's Fair. (July 9, 2012) (Credit: Arielle Dollinger)

Renado Beneforti, 81, moved to the United States from Florence, Italy, almost four decades ago.

The Northport resident of 35 years has five children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, but attended the Northport Firemen’s Fair alone.

“For my age, it’s taking me back to when I was a kid,” Beneforti said. “I love it.”

Beneforti sat eating an ice cream cone and watching children play carnival games around him, and later ran into his neighbors. He has attended every year for as long as he can remember.

The fair is planned each year by a committee led by the Northport Volunteer Fire Department’s second-in-command. This year, it was Second Assistant Chief Brad Wine’s turn.

According to Wine, the fair is a tradition that dates back to the 1930s.

“The community almost expects us to do it,” Wine said.

The village pays for fire trucks and other essentials for the department, but money made from the fair covers extra expenses, he explained. He could not give an estimate of the funds raised by the event, but said the fair usually attracts between 1,500 and 2,000 people each night.

This year’s event kicked off Monday and ends tonight. The festival is at 1 Steers Ave., Northport, and opens at 7 p.m.

Northport resident Kevin Madden, 29, brought his daughter, Samantha, 7, to the fair for the second year in a row.

“All the kids in school know about it,” Madden said. He said his daughter and her classmates ask their parents to take them to the event after they hear about it at school.

On Monday night, the fairgrounds were filled with children.

Eight-year-old James Letkovsky, of Northport, raved about the ride that spins.

Five-year-old Annabelle Reed, of East Northport, walked around happily carrying an inflatable medieval weapon — a prize she won at one of the carnival game booths.

Sisters Mimi, 8, and Lulu, 5, Moussa-Gilles, of New York City, traversed the grounds carrying the goldfish they won by successfully throwing a Ping-Pong ball into a goldfish bowl.

But the event is not just for kids. Beneforti played a water shooting game himself, while others of his generation followed their children and grandchildren from booth to booth or ride to ride.

Many stopped to sit on a set of bleachers set up in front of a small racetrack and a sign that read, “Robinson’s Racing Pigs.”

Jerry Morris, 57, has been bringing baby pigs to race at the fair for several years now, he said.

“I always have a good time up here,” said Morris, who travels all over the United States with the pigs. “It’s nice and clean, they take good care of it, and everybody’s happy.”

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