Wizard Bonfire Ignites Unity in Washingtonville
By Eugenia Moskowitz
The annual Wizard football bonfire brought out a larger crowd than ever on Aug. 23 as cars filled the parking lots of Lasser Park in Salisbury Mills and football and cheer families and friends streamed onto the fields and grounds to unite and celebrate.
A moment of silence was held for Washingtonville’s beloved children Timmy Davis and John West, longtime teacher and mentor Jodi Davis, and athletic trainer Barry Chait. Their passing has been devastating to the community, for both those who knew them and those who knew of them.
As the Salisbury Mills Fire Department set up the pile of pallets and lumber, football players and coaches, and the cheerleaders and their coaches, were called and ran down a human tunnel leading to the end zone as parents applauded.
Food and festivities organized by the Washingtonville Youth Football and Cheer League (WYFCL) led up to the bonfire as townspeople and children, from the tiniest babies to this year’s graduating seniors, milled about in groups and their parents socialized. Wizard football and cheer spiritwear was sold and donned as temperatures dropped and a full moon rose above a sea of blue and gold.
Finally, firemen lit the torches and the blaze was set. Flames danced fifty feet into the black sky and the warmth could be felt from all the way up on the hill. One football parent said he prayed the light would illuminate some of the darkness he was feeling. “We are always together supporting each other,” he said. “That will always remain.”
CAPTION 1: Prior to the bonfire, cheerleaders gave a performance as football players kneeled for them.
CAPTION 2: Wizard families stayed well into the night at the annual WYFCL football and cheer bonfire at Lasser Park. (Photos by Eugenia Moskowitz)