Ghostbusters of Buffalo dedicate new sign to Hook & Ladder Company 8

S. sent some photos of what looked like a happening at Hook & Ladder 8 last week and it sure was: the good folks at the Buffalo Ghostbusters dedicated a replacement Ghostbusters sign to the firehouse, since the nearly 40-year-old original was showing its wear and had lost a finger. But there’s more, with a pandemic silver lining bonus:

During the past year, with everything closed down, the Buffalo Ghostbusters — one of about 200 fan franchises across the country — were trying to stay active with their ectoplasmic activities while staying distant. So first they cooked up the idea of participating in kids birthday parades that became a thing in the suburbs in covid — after all they just happen to have a few cool cars with flashing lights and costumed drivers.

And then one of the 13 members got to thinking: why not launch a GoFundMe to replace the sign at N. Moore firehouse that they knew was in disrepair? Their goal was to raise $1000, the price of one they found on eBay. “We thought that might take a week or so to raise the money,” said Dan Liberg, one of the Buffalo members. “It took less than a day.”

Sony Pictures owns Ghostbusters and even has a division called Ghost Corp to promote the brand and work with fans. (The clubs are officially unofficial — allowed to use the logo and the images as long as they don’t profit from it.) When Sony got word that the club had raised the money, they offered to donate the sign themselves. By then the fund had grown to $8000. So the Buffalo crew redirected the funds to commission a weather-proof sign that the firefighters can hang outside on special occasions.

The dedication of the original sign was on June 8 — Ghostbusters Day — which is what S. caught on camera. Liberg’s 2019 Subaru Outback in the shot is tricked out with custom vinyl stickers and working lights and props. NB: this is his only car. (He’s cleared it with local law enforcement in Buffalo, who let him use the lights when stationary or for short periods, like parades.) And the club has a direct relationship with Hook & Ladder 8, communicating through Firefighter Nick Vitucci. “The crew there really embraces the fans,” Liberg said. “This is our way to show our appreciation for the great work that they all do.”

Liberg is 36 — born the year after the first movie was released. Still, since he was a kid he’s loved not just the movie but the concept — it was a comfort to him as a little guy, knowing there was a service out there to protect him from ghosts. “Eventually as an adult I got that a ghostbuster was not an actual profession, but the kids still think we are real and we get to give back that way to our community. Which is probably better anyway. Less slime.”

SIDEBAR: The Buffalo Ghostbusters club is making up patches as a fundraiser — they use most of their money to buy presents for Toys for Tots in the Buffalo area — $10 through their Facebook page till July 10. But they also decided to launch a GoFundMe every April to be donated to the firehouse for whatever they may need.