A Peach Queen is crowned
Congratulations to Alexandra Casale, who was crowned Peach Queen Sunday night to cap the 56th annual Niagara County Peach Festival.
Check out more than 50 Peach Fest photos in our gallery. (photo by Courtney Corbetta)
Niagara County Peach Festival: Old-fashioned fun for all ages
Story by Terry Duffy
Photos by Joseph Catalano
The countdown to an annual end-of-summer favorite in Lewiston is now underway
The 56th edition of the Niagara County Peach Festival, presented by the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston, opens Friday evening, Sept. 6, and continues Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7 and 8, at Academy Park in the Village of Lewiston.
As one can likely guess, club planning for an event of this scale has been very involved over the past several months, and in coming the days activity onsite at Academy Park will be intense. North American Midway Entertainment will be arriving and setting up shop with a host of thrilling rides for all ages; food, games and vendor booths galore are going up; stage entertainment is being finalized and fun aplenty is envisioned by Lewiston Kiwanis organizers for the thousands of visitors expected. "All we need now is some really good weather," said Kiwanis President Jeff Sanderson to the membership Wednesday evening at Academy Park.
Kiwanian Randy Gorzka, 2013 chairman of the Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival, estimates attendance for the three-day festival will exceed that of previous years. According to Lewiston Police, the festival is rated as one the most successful family-oriented events that takes place each summer in the village.
And with good reason - it's good, clean fun.
Peach Festival Advisory Chairman Jerald Wolfgang commented that the Village of Lewiston and Town of Lewiston officials all have cooperated with the Lewiston Kiwanis to again provide a safe and pleasurable festival at Academy Park. It is always dedicated to the Niagara County farmers and their great produce and this year will again feature exceptional locally grown peaches - 6-1/2 tons of them - from Singer Farms in Appleton.
And peaches of all sizes will be ripe for sampling on Friday, Sept. 6, through Sunday, Sept. 8. A farmer's market will be selling peaches and other produce each day and will also feature peach pies.
The festival kicks off with a grand opening on Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. Festivalgoers can expect the largest midway in Niagara County, with more than 40 North American Midway rides combined with game booths for the lucky and many food choices for the hungry, making the Peach Festival and ideal stop on the weekend. The featured ride this year will be the Ring of Fire.
Activities run on Friday from 5 to 11 p.m. and continue on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day at Academy Park.
And getting there this year is expected to be the most convenient yet for visitors, Sanderson reports. He notes that Kiwanis organizers, in partnership with Artpark and the assistance of six local sponsors, will be providing free shuttle parking for festival visitors throughout the event. No more of those endless searches for a parking spot in the village and lengthy hikes to Academy. This year no-cost shuttle parking will be available in the two upper parking areas at Artpark off the Portage Road entrance, with two comfortable, air-conditioned Grey Line buses provided to visitors all three days. "It's a nice way to avoid the frustration," commented Sanderson. "This makes it easier for visitors to get in and out, and it will be available start to finish.
"Our climate-controlled Gray Line shuttles will whisk you to the festival grounds' entrance, just steps from all of the fun and excitement. When it is time to leave, the free shuttle will pick you up at the same spot and get you quickly back to your car and on the way home."
And what can visitors expect at this year's event?
Well, where do you want to start?
•Friday night will feature the 19th annual cheerleading contest, sponsored by DiMino's Tops Market in Lewiston. Area community cheerleading groups and youth football cheerleading squads will perform cheers before judges on the stage starting at 5 p.m.
Participants are still being sought. For more information, contact Wolfgang at 754-7745.
•Finals of the annual Kiwanis peach dessert recipe contest take place on Friday at 6 p.m. in the peach tent. The judges, following a tasting of the 10 sample dessert dishes, will award prizes. A $200 gift card will be presented to the winner and all 10 finalists will receive prizes. Tim Hortons coffee and cappuccino may be purchased on the field during the three days of the festival.
•The festival will again offer the Upstate New York Transplant Services Blood Drive on Friday, Sept. 6, from 3 to 6 p.m. The blood drive will be held on the Portage Road side of Academy Park.
•Saturday events get underway at 9 a.m. with the 5k Fun Run. The course runs through the Village of Lewiston. Fun Run Chairman Tom Baia stated, "The Fun Run and 1 mile walk will have one of its largest fields." It will start and finish in front of Key Bank on Center Street. Proceeds from the Fun Run will benefit the Divine Mercy Food Pantry of Niagara and UNICEF - Project Eliminate. Up to 250 participants are expected.
•The annual Peach Festival Parade will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday on Fourth Street and continue up Center Street to Academy Park. The parade is expected to feature more than 100 units, including marching bands, majorettes, floats, fire companies, cheerleaders, football teams, color guards, precision drill teams, assorted politicians, Peach Queen contestants and the reigning Peach Queen, Peach Fuzz and Peach Blossom.
•And the fun continues at Academy, with rides, foods, games, and activities galore.
Among the Saturday on stage offerings, look for the First Niagara Peach Fuzz contest at 2 p.m., the Peach Queen contestants semifinals fashion show at 6 p.m., and the always enjoyable "Tribute to the King," starring Terry Buchwald as Elvis, at 8 p.m. Interspaced between will be entertainment by 23 Skidoo, Christina Custode and the Lewiston Choraleers.
•On Sunday, the Neptune Water Skiers will perform on the Niagara River at the Lewiston Landing site at 11 a.m.
•Academy Park opens at 11 a.m. for daylong fun and this year, the Sunday Dance Company Showcase will be held on stage from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Area dance companies will perform on stage every 15 minutes with eight dance companies signed up. And Sevenson Environmental Services is sponsoring the Peach Blossom contest on stage at 3 p.m.
Additional Sunday entertainment will feature The Bob Volkman Band and the ladies of the McCarthy School of Irish Dance on the Academy stage.
•Contestants will vie for the coveted crown of Peach Queen on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. Chairwomen Kris Trunzo and Jeanette Collesano estimate that the largest crowds appear for the finals. The Kiwanis annual media award will also be presented on Sunday evening.
The festival's most popular food, peach shortcake - featuring Singer Farm's peaches atop DiCamillo Bakery shortcakes with tasty cream - will be available Friday through Sunday. Peach Tent Chairman Gary Rose advises visitors to get their shortcake early because the Kiwanis sell out every year.
Profits from the Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival are put right back into the community. "For the past 10 years, $500,000 in goods and services have been contributed to over 50 organizations throughout Niagara county," Gorzka proudly announced. Since 1958, the Lewiston Kiwanis Club has donated more than $1 million to area organizations.
Sanderson suggests everyone who plans on attending come early and enjoy the festival grounds in the Village of Lewiston. The Peach Festival closes on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 10 p.m.
Kiwanis Club of Lewiston hosts Peach Queen get-together
The Kiwanis Club of Lewiston hosted its annual get-together for the Peach Queen candidates on Sunday, Aug. 18, at Pletcher Road Park. The event featured a meet-and-greet between the candidates, Kiwanis members and visitors, as well as a picnic and games.
Pictured, former Peach Queen Virginia McAuliffe (center), who is serving as a foreman and judge for this year's pageant, joined the contestants at the picnic. McAuliffe was crowned Peach Queen in 1994.
In the first row are Ali Casale, Gabrielle Lopez, McAuliffe, reigning Peach Queen Margaret Dorian, Sarah Privitera and Jacey Diez. In the second row are Gabrielle McIntyre, Bridgette Ehrmann, Hannah Olds, Kara Incorvia, Angela Gallo and Alexandra Westadt. Not pictured: Kristy Hepfer, Rachel Mackenzie, Alyssa Oswald, Jordon Powe, Annina Quarantello, Lorelei Teamore and Cailey Wright. (photo by Jennifer Pauly)
Photos of the 2012 Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival
Peach Festival advance ride ticket locations:
Advance ride tickets are now available for the Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival. They are good for all three days of the event, and will provide 50 percent savings for all rides. A strip of 14 tickets costs $22, and one ticket is good for one ride. Tickets must be purchased by the morning of Saturday, Sept. 8.
Advance ride tickets are available at the following locations: DiMino Tops Lewiston; Tops Military Road; Niagara University; Favorites Pizza, Lewiston; KeyBank, Lewiston; Wedge Liquors, Niagara Falls; Capitol Cleaners, Niagara Falls; Supermarket Liquors, Niagara Falls; Niagara's Choice Federal Credit Union, Niagara Falls; Bank of America, Lewiston; First Niagara Bank, Lewiston; First Niagara Bank, Ransomville; Villa Coffee Shop, Lewiston; Moose Lodge, Lewiston; Greg's Pools, Lewiston; Coppins Service Station, Lewiston; Janice's Family Hair, Lewiston; Olde Time Barber Shop, Lewiston; Village Hardware, Lewiston; Apple Granny Restaurant, Lewiston; Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, Lewiston; Stuart Sports, Lewiston; Tim Hortons, Military Road, Niagara Falls Boulevard, Niagara Falls Boulevard (airport) and Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls; The Orange Cat, Lewiston; Marketplace, Youngstown; National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima, Lewiston; and Brochey's Automotive, Lewiston.
Tickets may also be purchased from Lewiston Kiwanis Club members.
Peach Festival 2012
Welcome to the 57th annual Niagara County Peach Festival
Kiwanis Club offering free shuttles to and from Peach Festival
Leave the driving and parking to the pros.
The Lewiston Kiwanis Club is utilizing two Gray Line shuttles, which will transport patrons to and from the Peach Festival at no charge.
Peach Festival guests can park in lots A and B of the upper Artpark plateau (off Portage Road), and receive a free ride to Academy Park. Shuttles will run every 10 to 15 minutes, depending on traffic. If those lots fill, patrons will be allowed to park on the Village of Lewiston spoils area, located next to the dog park, and take the shuttle from that point.
Plans take shape for 56th Niagara County Peach Festival
Members of the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston, organizers of the 56th annual Niagara County Peach Festival, report final planning is underway for the annual fall favorite, set to take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6 to 8, at Academy Park in the Village of Lewiston.
Latest Kiwanis announcements include the following:
•Jeff Sanderson, Lewiston Kiwanis president, announced Randy Gorzka was named the general chairman of the 56th annual Niagara County Peach Festival. Gorzka has been co-chairman of the Peach Festival for the past two years and served as chair of the peach tent at the festival and the festival's 5K run. He has also served on the festival advisory committee and as the Kiwanis president.
Gorzka is proud that Lewiston Kiwanis serves Niagara County peaches in its famous shortcake. He invites all families to attend the 56th edition of the Lewiston Kiwanis Niagara County Peach Festival.
He reports a contract has been agreed upon with Singer Farms to supply 6.5 tons (or 13,000 pounds) of peaches for this year's event.
"Jim Bittner concluded meetings with the Peach Chairman Gary Rose and a successful arrangement was agreed upon to provide Niagara County peaches," Gorzka said. "Bittner's cooperation and enthusiasm will enable the Kiwanis to serve Niagara County peaches for the fifth year.
This year's Peach Festival will be a true tribute to Niagara County farmers, especially Singer Farms and Bittner, Gorzka adds.
•Jerald I. Wolfgang, chairman of the annual Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival Parade, taking place on Saturday, Sept. 7, announced Lewiston Kiwanis is now seeking entries for the parade. The parade route will begin at the Village of Lewiston Red Brick Municipal Building and then continue on North Fourth Street, down Center Street to Academy Park.
The parade, which typically sees in excess of 100 units participating, begins at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Cash prizes of more than $2,000 and trophies will be awarded to the outstanding school bands, senior bands, majorette units, fire companies, floats, drill teams and color guards. Any units desiring entry blanks should contract Wolfgang at 716-754-7745. Entries for the parade will be accepted until Aug. 30.
•Lewiston Kiwanis member John Frandina reports applicants are still being accepted for this year's Peach Fuzz contest, taking place Saturday, Sept. 7. Applications are available online at www.lewistonkiwanis.org and at the following Lewiston locations: The Village Bake Shoppe, 417 Center St., Artzee, 549 Center St., and at Sister and Brother Children's Apparel, 484 Center St.
Contestant openings for the Peach Blossom competition are now filled.
•Gorzka has announced that this year's cheerleading competition, which is sponsored by DiMino's Lewiston Tops Market, will be held on Friday, Sept. 6, at 5 p.m. at Academy Park.
All high school cheerleading groups from Western New York and Canada are invited to participate, as well as all-star, town and youth football cheerleaders.
Participants will perform a maximum five-minute routine containing a cheer and music portion (for a minimum of two and a half minutes). Trophies will be given for first, second, and third place.
There is no charge for a team to enter. For further information and entry materials, contact Wolfgang. More information about the peach festival is available at www.lewistonkiwanis.org.
Judges for the cheerleading competition are AnneMarie Dimino-Hepfer, Carol Houwaart-Diez, Lewiston Town Councilman Ronald Winkley, Robert S'dao and Margaret Toohey.
•Lewiston Kiwanis is again sponsoring the peach recipe contest taste-off.
Applicants can send their original peach recipe in the "cake/pie" or "all other desserts" categories to: Peach Festival Taste-off, 310 Niagara St., Niagara Falls, NY, 14303. The deadline to enter recipes is Friday, Aug. 26.
The judges for the Taste-off are: Lynn Catalano, executive director of the Mount St. Mary's Foundation; Lewiston homemaker Vicki DeVantier; Mary Mistriner, pastry professor; and James Klyczek, president of Niagara County Community College. The four judges will pick 10 finalists from all entered recipes.
On Friday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m., finalists will display their desserts in the peach tent and will compete in a taste-off. The winner of the taste-off will receive a $200 gift card. Other prizes will be awarded to the top 10 entries.
Peach Festival advance ride tickets available
The Kiwanis Club of Lewiston announces advance ride tickets for next month's Niagara County Peach Festival are now on sale.
Nick Morreale, chairman of the Peach Festival advance tickets committee, reports these tickets are good for all three days of the festival, Friday, Sept. 6, to Sunday, Sept. 8, and offer buyers a 50 percent savings on all rides.
Cost is $22 for a strip of 14 tickets. Each advance ride ticket is good for one ride. Tickets must be purchased by the morning of Saturday, Sept. 7.
This year, the North American Midway Company will provide the Peach Festival rides on the Academy Park midway.
Advance ride tickets will be available at the following Niagara County locations: DiMino Tops Lewiston; Tops Military Road; Niagara University; Favorites Pizza; the Lewiston branch of KeyBank; Wedge Liquors; Capitol Cleaners; Supermarket Liquors; Niagara's Choice Federal Credit Union; the Lewiston branch of Bank of America; the Ransomville branch of First Niagara; Villa Coffee Shop; and Lower Niagara Moose Lodge No. 584.
Also, Greg's Pools; Coppins Service Center; Janice's Family Hair, Olde Time Barber Shop; Village Hardware; Apple Granny Restaurant; the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce; Stuart Sports; Tim Hortons (Military Road, Niagara Falls Boulevard and Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls); The Orange Cat; Marketplace; National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima; Rite Aid; Macri's Restaurant; The Silo Restaurant; Larry's Liquors; and DiCamillo Bakery.
On Grand Island, advanced sale tickets are available at Niagara Frontier Publications.
Tickets may also be purchased from Lewiston Kiwanis members.