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Our eclectic jukebox featuring everything from Martin Denny to Van Halen and Mos Def to Depeche Mode, attracts an equally diverse crowd. Bond with the person next to you over a Pina Colada and an A’s game or sway shoulder to shoulder as you shout out the chorus of “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Our smoke-spewing volcano erupts without warning, just as Kilauea of the Big Island, and covers the bar in a mysterious, warm glow: The perfect backdrop to a great night.

 Weedsport Central recently completed another successful football season, advancing to the sectionals.  Over the years I have been one of many faithful fans following the teams.  For several years I have sat at the top of the bleachers on the 50 yard line with retired Weedsport teacher Keith Davis, Dave Fults and his family and others. If inclement weather is forecast, Dave comes up ahead of time and rigs a tarp down the back of the bleachers and over our heads to keep us warm and dry.  What a Guy!

 Weedsport has a rich football tradition going back beyond when my dad played in the 1920's, after transferring from Jordan.  In those days the football field was between what is now the Elementary School and Science Hill and games were played Saturday afternoons. Some will remember an ice skating rink being there in the 50's and 60's.  Other locals that played in that era included Bill Sullivan, Lamont Hoffman and others.  The story used to be told that during a game against long time rival Port Byron, on of the local guys who had apparently been sipping some cider, or some such stationed himself well up on the hill with a shotgun loaded with birdshot.  When a Port Byron quarterback threw a pass that looked like it might connect, BOOM and he shot the football out of the air.  Fortunately our fervor has toned down a bit since then

 Fast forward a generation to when I was in school.  Weedsport was the first  school in central New York other than city schools to play under lights. Games were Friday nights, as they still are. Principal Wm. Lampman had concluded that much more community spirit could be raised by playing Friday evenings under lights than Saturday afternoons when residents had lawns to tend, gardens to keep and other such mundane activities.  Accordingly he acquired through war surplus enough equipment to do the job.  The lights were portable, and I use the term loosely.  They were originally made to light up newly created airfields in the South Pacific during WWII.  The football field had by then morphed to the west side of the athletic field, parallel to the rear of the homes on Jackson Street and several large power boxes were installed on the fence at the rear of people's backyards.  Similarly several more were installed along the fencing around the tennis court, which was on the other side of the field.

 Now imagine this--remember, I  said these lights were portable. They were stored a good ways away in a storage area under the school, and on game days the football team, coaches, managers, janitors and willing fans would tote the twenty some four foot diameter weighted bases, weighted so they wouldn't tip in a wind from their storage area out to the field.  They were pretty heavy and awkward to carry, so usually they were rolled on edge like a giant hoop.  After they were placed in position every twenty yards, the poles were next.  15 feet tall, made out of three inch tubing, with a twist light socket at he top and a power junction box near the bottom.  After the poles were mounted on the bases, back to the school for the lampheads themselves.  These were also pretty heavy, hard to handle and of course pretty delicate as they all contained a 1,500 watt incandescent bulb. A couple of guys would tip the pole over and the lampheads would be twisted into place. Finally, the worst part of the whole deal--wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow load of huge and heavy power cable, perhaps an inch, or inch and a quarter in diameter.  The cables were all tagged where they went and they were dragged around and connected and the lamps tested.  The only thing that remained was for someone to come back after dark and aim the lights.  Guess what the football team , et al did on Saturday mornings after the games Friday nights?  Reversed the procedure and put every thing away.  These lights were used for several years even after the high school was built and then several years until the football field was constructed there, which is another story.  You know what though?  Lampman was right, as usual and attendance at the Weedsport games under the lights was and is  amazing to this day!  As a note aside, I got another dose of the "portable" lights.  When the school finally got done with them, they gave them to the Fire Department and we used them for years at our annual field days, first on West Brutus Street and finally on Rt. 31 until we finally set poles and installed street lights.  Next month, building the football field at the High School.

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