Caroline Murray/Recorder staff The Doins festival to be held this Fourth of July weekend is sponsored partly by the Timeless Tavern, shown above, and will take place at the Northville Waterfront Park on Main Street.
By CAROLINE MURRAY
NORTHVILLE -- For many Northville natives, Fourth of July weekend means family, friends, fireworks -- and the Doins festival.
The festival has been a tradition for decades, but according to several Northville residents, the event has been scaled down with each summer that passes.
This year, sponsors are trying to revive the festival with musical performances, homemade carnival games, local food vendors and free entertainment for children.
"The past few years, it kind of fizzled out," event sponsor Lisa Wood said. "We tried to bring it back a little bit, to the way it used to be when I was growing up."
For the first time ever, the festival is being sponsored by the village's Timeless Tavern, along with Happy Returns and the Parade Committee.
Wood, who co-owns the tavern with her husband Tom Wood, said they took over when she heard the festival might be canceled.
"No one was holding it," Wood said.
The two-day celebration begins Friday at 4 p.m. and will go through Saturday at the Northville Waterfront Park on Main Street.
Along with homemade games, a dunking booth, food and various vendors, the event will also provide a zip line, a mechanical bull and jousting games.
Before the fireworks commence Friday, a free reptile adventure and magic show for children will take place.
The festival also includes a parade, which starts Saturday at 1 p.m. and will stretch across all of Main Street. Later in the evening, musical entertainment will be provided by Frank Manning, Under the Sun and the Pat Decker and Crew.
"I am just hoping that the little kids will be talking about what a great time they had," Wood said.
Mayfield resident Rachel Mykel said she used to attend the Doins as a child. She said there used to be dozens of rides and vendors blocking off all of Main Street, but that simply is not the case anymore.
She was shopping at the Northville Five and Dime store when she overheard the event was taking place.
Mykel used to attend in the late '80s and early '90's, up until she graduated from high school. She used to bring her children, but stopped when the parade began to fade out.
Lee Robinson and Shawn Darling own the Allen & Palmer True Value Store located just a few buildings down from Waterfront Park.
Both are natives to the village and have seen the festival peak and plummet throughout the years.
Darling said he was about four or five years old when he first attended the fair.
He remembers the festival taking place first on the Northville Central School District grounds, but then moved to where the old bank and new post office is on Main Street.
"I remember early on a lot of games and rides," Darling said.
He said there was a woodsmen contest and art vendors too, but then dwindled to a few vendors.
Darling said the festival was rumored to be called off a number of times, but he does not remember an actual cancellation.
This year the hardware store will close on Friday for fireworks and for part of the day Saturday for the parade.
Darling said the weekend is one of their busiest of the year. Between campers needing supplies and tourists perusing the streets, the hardware store has plenty to look forward to.
And so do other merchants in the village.
Adirondack Country Store owner Joyce Teshoney can attest to the uptick in tourism.
"A lot of people are on vacation this week," Teshoney said. "Once school is out they just aim for the lake."
Teshoney moved to village roughly 35 years ago and remembers a time when the Doins festival played host to commercial rides such as ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds.
She said in recent years, the rides have been swapped out for bouncy houses and zip-lines, to bring the affair more up-to-date with the times.
Wood said as long as she can remember, the festival has always been called the Doins. She said when she used to attend during the 1980s and 1990s, the entire Main Street was blocked off and there would be square dancing in the streets.
She hopes in coming years, the event will return to what it once was.
"It definitely won't be what it was back in the day but we are hoping it will go back that way," Wood said.