SCARSDALE, N.Y. — Packed with food, games and even an air show, the Scarsdale Fire Department’s Ronald McDonald House Carnival had it all Thursday, thanks to firefighter John Savarese.
The 28-year veteran of the Scarsdale Fire Department organized the event, now in its third year, to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of New York. Savarese worked for five months to raise $12,000 to help fund the carnival.
The event hosted 25 children battling critical illnesses to “just be kids” for the day and have some fun, Savarese said. “To put a smile on a kid’s face, I have to do it,” he said. “It makes it worth it.”
Yonkers restaurants including Del Primo’s and Buon Giorno’s donated the food, as did Metro Deli and DeCicco’s Family Market in Scarsdale. Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino also stopped by for the event.
The carnival started with an air show featuring members of the U.S. Army Black Knights on Scarsdale’s Crossway Field. Following the demonstration, the kids had a chance to check out the inside of a real police helicopter, which touched ground for the occasion.
The carnival also featured a car show. Children voted for their favorite vehicles to win the Ronald McDonald Kids’ Choice Award.
And of course, no carnival is complete without some magic. Savarese, a magician who regularly performs at New York Knicks basketball games at Madison Square Garden, impressed the kids with some sleight of hand before the day was through.
“A lot of these kids think all year about coming back to Scarsdale for the carnival,” Savarese said. “The carnival is about having fun and relaxing.”