A carnival for a cause

By Julianne Peixoto

July 24, 2014 Updated Jul 25, 2014 at 3:33 PM EDT

Hancock, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The annual Hancock Fireman's Field Days raises money to support the Hancock Volunteer Fire Department.

"The cost of doing business is extremely high," said volunteer firefighter Jim Rotzler. "For example, just a helmet, your coat, your pants and shoes, the average cost is $2,300 per person to meet all the requirements just so you’re suitable and capable of combating a fire."

That's a big price tag for unpaid firefighters.

"To donate your time and risk your life and leave your family to help your fellow citizens, I mean, that says it all," said Rotzler.

Rotzler has been a volunteer firefighter for more than 40 years, and has always played a crucial role in organizing and running the Field Days weekends.

"He’s kind of like the backbone of the fire department," said volunteer firefighter Jay Smith.

With his help, the Field Days festival has grown immensely in the past few years.

"We’ve really built something up here that we haven’t had here in Hancock in the last 20, 25 years," said Rotzler. "In the past three years we’ve seen a resurgence of this carnival and with the additions that we've planned for this year, and pre-planning for next year, it will be a great asset for the fire department and the community."

New this year is the New York State Pony Pull, professional wood-carving competitions every day, an enormous parade and a beefed-up fireworks display on Friday night.

"We have built our fireworks display up which we feel is second to none in northeast Pennsylvania southern New York State," said Rotzler. "It's a great show, it's a solid 45-minute show with a spectacular finale, and it cost us a considerable amount of money, but the public enjoys it."

Rotzler says the carnival isn't just about making money for the department -- it's also about giving back to the community.

"We’re trying to give something back to the community to say thanks for giving us support throughout the year," said Rotzler. "That’s just the spirit of the small town, maybe some of the spirit is getting lost as time goes on, but we try to keep it alive here in Hancock."

For more details on events and activities at the Field Days this weekend, click here.