Candidates mingle, smile, during Olive Day

(Photo by Paul Smart)

(Photo by Paul Smart)

Olive Day, the annual fundraiser for the town’s long-in-power Democrats, seemed busier than ever this year. And the average age seems to have dropped, somewhat, given the numbers of kids on hand for frog jumping contests, egg tosses, sword fighting demonstrations by knights in hot and heavy armor, and a chance to dunk local politicos into some warm if not quite hot water.

“Don’t ask me why it’s this warm,” said a soaked Pete Friedel, this season’s Republican candidate for supervisor against 31-year town clerk Sylva Rozzelle, before getting dunked by a local cub scout for the umpteenth time.

Across the picnic pavilion, filled with line dancers moving in unison to the sounds of the Ben Rounds Band, Rozzelle asked if someone wanted a picture of her trying to dunk Friedel, a former scout leader and two term town board member. She laughed heartily when asked if she wanted to take a turn in the wet seat.


As did the man Friedel and Rozzelle are both seeking to replace after his two and a half decades as supervisor, Bert Leifeld, seated with a Mona Lisa smile by the event’s busy beer tent.

Candidates of both parties clustered around their party booths…but also glad-handed around the crowded town park where this was all happening. Among those spotted were Drew Boggess and Jim Sofranko, Democrats running for town board, and their Republican counterparts Craig Grazier and Scott Kelder. Jimmy Fugel, the incumbent highway superintendent, and a Democrat, seemed to be everywhere, as was GOP clerk candidate Sharon Wood. Less omnipresent, but here, were Republican highway super candidate Herb Dixon and Democratic clerk candidate Dawn Giuditta.

Not as much in evidence as in past years, though, were the three former Democratic Party candidates for clerk, town board and supervisor — Susan Horner, Linda Burkhardt and Bruce La Monda — who will also be on the ballot come November 5 under the Working Families Party line, whose endorsements they won before the Democratic caucus this summer.

“I received the WFP and Independence Party nominations prior to the Dem caucus and made a commitment to them and as you know I try to fulfill commitments I make,” noted La Monda in an e-mail after the Saturday Olive Day celebration.

Horner acknowledged that she was, too, although not actively campaigning. Burkhardt did not comment.

Back at Olive Day, meanwhile, the final action in the Park September 7 came in the form of a different sort of battle…between hordes of kids using foam swords to play at the popular Wayfinder Experience role laying games.

“That was certainly fun,” said one seven year old. “What were the grown ups doing while we were playing so hard?”