Energy in Downtown Cortland this past weekend was buzzing, and the community has IBEW Local 573 to thank.
Since 2019, the union has volunteered time to help set up and energize the Cortland Street Fair. The latest one was held July 21-23.
Mike Reed, a journeyman electrician with “Joe” Dickey Electric, led the process this year along with Nate Sherbourne from Becdel Controls Inc.
Beginning the Tuesday before the fair, Reed and other volunteers from Local 573 begin mapping and stringing power lines.
The main power source is a substation with three panels.
Concession trailers and an entertainment stage are powered, along with rides and an area used for robotics.
On Wednesday things really ramp up as vendors arrive.
While it gets crazy, “it’s always fun. It’s a great time,” Reed said.
That craziness includes tending to popped breakers from vendors turning on their equipment to working out any issues that arise throughout the evening.
Reed and Sherbourne switch working Thursday and Friday each year. They are available for any troubleshooting needs.
Teamwork makes the electricity work
The fair is an opportunity for the community to meet members of Local 573, Reed said.
“Everyone sees we aren’t just a tower in the middle of Champion,” he said.
This is a way for Local 573 to help out the Cortland Lions Club, which organizes the event each year.
“The Lions Club takes great care of us throughout the week,” Reed said.
That includes having space right at the entrance of the fair and entry in the Saturday parade.
“Being able to help the Lions Club, who do so much for the community themselves, is a huge bonus” of the volunteer event, Reed said.
The fair is also a way to help other local businesses.
After the pandemic halted most gatherings in 2020, many people are excited to be back to work, Reed said.
“Helping with the fair is a really big deal for us,” Reed said. “We love that we get a chance to help the community and see that donating our time and skill can create such a positive outcome for so many. It’s extremely rewarding.”