On Saturday, February 3, the Pawling Fire Department (PFD) will present its 21st annual Sportsman’s Night. The yearly event features a cocktail hour and expansive game dinner, as well as raffles and door prizes. Serving as the department’s largest fundraiser, the evening promises numerous culinary delights to benefit a truly worthy cause.
The PFD Sportsman’s Night is held annually on the evening before Super Bowl Sunday. Originally conceived as a fundraiser to send members of the department to the Hudson Valley Volunteer Firefighters Convention for training, the dinner now serves to raise essential funds for the their annual expenses. While the Pawling Fire District receives some town funding for the operation of their three fire stations, the Pawling Fire Department is funded exclusively by donations and fundraising events. Their largest annual fundraisers are the Carnival held in August and February’s Sportsman's Night. Funds raised at these events are instrumental in supporting the purchase of tools and equipment, as well as training, the bi-monthly bingo game, and the department’s day-to-day operations.
The 2018 Sportsman’s Night will be held at PFD Station 1 on South Street from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. The event has historically been well attended by members of the community, and PFD officials are once again anticipating a sold-out affair with more than 600 guests.
The centerpiece of the evening is the “all you can eat” game dinner, featuring an eclectic mix of carnivorous delights. The menu is a venison lover’s dream, featuring prosciutto, pepperoni, kielbasa, meatloaf, and roasts. In addition, there will be dishes of duck, pheasant, and rabbit. All game prepared for the dinner is provided either by department members themselves, or from community-member donations, with no meat being commercially purchased.
Preparation for Sportsman’s Night is an arduous process, but one that members of the PFD takes great pride in. In the week leading up to the event, members spend three to four hours each night prepping the enormous amount of food for Sportsman’s Night. On the morning of dinner, preparations begin at 7:00 a.m. to transform the fire station into a banquet hall. The menu is prepared by the 60 active and 40 associate members of the PFD. The Ladies Auxiliary will be serving the meal. Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the festivities.
In addition to the bounty of food being offered, Sportsman’s Night also features raffles and door prizes. The top prize for the evening is a 2017 Polaris RZR 570 UTV with trailer, with chances selling for $5. There will also be nearly $10,000 in other prizes available, including flashlights, binoculars, tree stands, smokers, equipment, and hunting supplies.
Sportsman’s Night has become a greatly anticipated event in the Pawling community. The effort to produce the event combined with the attendance demonstrates residents’ willingness to support the PFD for the services that they provide. “There are so many people who contribute,” says Chief Everett White. “This is a community event, and everyone pitches in to help us out.”
PFD Sportsman's Night tickets are available for a $40 donation and may be purchased on the department’s website or at Pawling Family Quickstop, 8 West Main Street. For more information or to order tickets visit PawlingFire.org online.