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Country Fair and Green Expo take ‘Center’ stage Saturday

REPORTER FILE PHOTO A slide set up for kids last year at last year's Country Fair was a popular attraction.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO A slide set up for kids last year at last year’s Country Fair was a popular attraction.

Saturday, the place to be is in the Center for two annual late summer events — the 36th annual Shelter Island Fire Department Country Fair and the seventh annual Green Expo.

Before there was a single fire department, the Country Fair was the major fund-raising event for the Center’s department, while the chicken barbecue was the specialty of the Heights’ department.

With the merger in the late 1990s, a decision was made to maintain both events have them occur back-to-back each summer.

If last Saturday’s Chicken Barbecue had a dicey start with rain in the morning, the sun shone brightly by afternoon and was a spectacular event, Chief Greg Sulahian said.

While he and his department and auxiliary members are tired, that hasn’t stopped them from dismantling the tables, chairs, cooking facilities and tent and moving back to the Center Firehouse to set up for this Saturday’s Country Fair.

It runs from noon to 4 or “until the food runs out,” Chief Sulahian said.

But it seems likely with a raft of food — hotdogs, hamburgers, brisket , roasted turkeys, sausage and peppers, corn, watermelon, beer and soda — there will be plenty to go around for the crowds expected.

The weatherman is predicting sunny skies Saturday. Chief Sulahian noted the event has never been rained out.

There are plenty of games for children, along with the bouncy tent that’s always popular, he said.

Despite all the work involved, Auxiliary President Debra Speeches said the Country Fair is a lot less intensive than the Chicken Barbecue.

Still, Chief Sulahian said he and the crew look forward to a couple of weeks of rest after it’s all over.

“It’s a lot of fun,” despite the work, he said.

Green Expo
For the past six years, and again this year, the Green Expo sets up Saturday outside the American Legion Hall between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to bring information about how to expand their use of natural resources.

“I hope a lot of people come and a lot of kids, too,” said Green Options Committee Chairman Tim Purtell.

Among the most significant displays will an explanation of changes that will occur to the septic systems at the Youth Center and Shelter Island School. Some of the cost of the new systems is offset with grant money.

The two venues were identified as having aged septic systems that get a great deal of use and needed extensive upgrades to protect both the aquifer and surrounding Island waters.

Those curious about solar panels to cut their electric bills will meet representatives who can provide information.

For the first time, representatives of the Peconic Land Trust will have a display. The Land Trust owns most of Reel Point and is working with the town to identify ways to shore up the spit of land that juts into Coecles Harbor. Despite previous efforts in recent years, Reel Point has continued to erode.

Mr. Purtell expects close to 20 groups to be represented at Green Expo, including the Group for the East End, the Peconic Baykeeper, representatives from the Peconic Estuary and town committees, including the Deer & Tick and Water Advisory committees.

Linking the Green Expo with the Country Fair has proven a means of attracting more people, Mr. Purtell said.

“On a local level, we can do things that would make a difference,” Mr. Purtell said. “If everybody in a community our size did something, it would change things.”