CORTLAND Water battle proves to be main attraction at street fair

The fair, which is held on Main Street, will be June 21-23.
CORTLAND -- Officials say the big draw at the annual Cortland Street Fair is not the rides, balloons, music or fair food but wet firefighters.
Community leaders say people seem to flock to the annual water ball battle that is traditionally held the first day of the fair.
The fair, held on Main Street, will be June 21-23. It is sponsored by Cortland Lions Club.
"I'm not sure why, but lots of people seem to love to watch this," said Fire Chief Bill Novakovich. "We've been doing it for years and it seems to be a favorite for people who come to the fair."
This year the water battle will be at 6 p.m. June 21 in front of the fire department, 194 Lattin St.
"It's fun to watch," said Mayor Melissa Long about the water battle.
This year's battle: The fire departments competing this year are from Cortland and Greene, Johnston, Vernon, Bristol and Southington townships.
"Each team has four players," Novakovich explained. "The firefighers stand underneath a 100 feet cable and attached to the cable is a large ball. Each team has a water hose and they use the water from the hose to try and push the ball to the other team's side."
Novakovich says every member of the team gets soaking wet.
He noted he is not sure which firefighters from his department will be participating this year.
"If I were a betting person I wouldn't be betting on our team to win," Novakovich said with a laugh. "We are not very good when it comes to water ball. I would bet that Southington is going to win again. I think they have the best team around."
Thomas Strock, Southington's fire chief, said some of his firefighters are "just naturals."
"They have a lot of fun with it and we practice when we can," Strock added.

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