By CAROLINE MURRAY
EDINBURG — During Saturday's sunny, but cold afternoon, J&S Country Store, Four Corners Diner and Fuller's Corner Store hosted their first annual bed racing championship next to the Batchellerville Bridge at the Great Sacandaga Lake.
Hundreds of people were drawn outside their homes to enjoy a day of tethered hot air balloon rides, live music, warm food and the main attraction; bed racing.
"This winter has been tough for everybody,” J&S Country Store co-owner Robert William said.
“I run the store and I hear a lot of people and see lot of frustration ... and it's just a good time to get people out ... good to see people they haven't seen all winter."
The bed racing competition lured in several different teams hoping to win the $200 prize. Even though Glenville resident Eddie James’ said it was his first time racing a bed with sleighs, his team progressed to the final round.
“My mom owns Placid Place Pub in Edinburg and told us to enter,” James said. “We had fun.”
James’ team, Placid Place, faced his family’s team, Placid Place Two, in the end for the grand prize. Spectators said it was the closest race they witnessed all day, but Placid Place Two won in the final seconds.
Emceeing the event was local musician Vinny Saj who was scheduled to perform later in the day. Saj said he was afraid the frigid temperatures would affect his guitar sound quality and he would most likely not play that afternoon.
The cold air did not stop him from emceeing the event and hyping up the crowd, though.
“It is freezing,” said Saj. “I am just going to have fun and get the community together and have a good time.”
The weather also hindered any chance of the hot air balloon leaving the ground. Residents were hopeful, but the air was blowing too fast and frequently to allow any rides that afternoon.
“It was a little too windy to do the tether rides,” pilot and owner of SunBurst Ballooning Todd Monahan said. “What we were going to do was bring people up about 100 feet or so.”
He said that although the wind was prohibiting participants from rides, they still inflated the balloon and let people hop on board.
Edinburgh residents Tom and Beulah Simpson were warming up by the bonfire after watching the bed races. They heard about the event last week and came out to experience the day’s festivities.
They also attended to show their support of the Edinburg Emergency Squad, which the event was raising money for.
“We had to call the ambulance a lot,” said Beulah Simpson. “They need our help and support,” added Tom Simpson.
Angela Reynolds, president of the squad, said she was pleased to see the community get together to raise money for her organization.
Reynolds said the squad is one of the only not-for-profit emergency service organizations left in the state that relies solely on the community’s donations.
Although it has been a slow winter for the squad, Reynolds said they could use the funds to invest in their ambulance and additional training courses.
Reynolds said she didn’t know the owners of J&S Country Store well, but appreciated their support.
“They are doing it out of the goodness of their heart,” she said.