Photos of the 2012 Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival
Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival takes over Academy Park Sept. 7-9
by Terry Duffy
It's certainly been one heck of a summer this year, with extraordinary hot temperatures, ultra fine weather, and a seemingly endless array of great activities for residents and visitors alike to partake in and enjoy in northern Niagara.
With events such as Artpark Tuesdays in Lewiston; evening concerts in Youngstown and Wilson; a bike rally in Wilson; town celebrations in Porter, Wilson and Newfane; street dances in Youngstown and Ransomville; art and jazz festivals in Lewiston; field days in Youngstown; and much more, Niagara County certainly has been the place to be this summer.
And the good times will continue in fine form this weekend as the 55th Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival takes over Academy Park in the Village of Lewiston. Presented annually by the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston, this festival, which runs from Sept. 7 to 9, is both a celebration of Niagara County's most famous harvest - its peaches - and one that is just pure family fun, says 2012 Peach Festival Chairman Dean Beltrano. "This festival has something for just about everyone," he points out.
Into tasty eating fare? Well, let's start with peaches - this is a peach festival, remember?
Beltrano invites visitors to partake in Kiwanis' tasty peach shortcakes, with homegrown peaches provided again this year by Singer Farms in Appleton. This farm, under the direction of General Manager Jim Bittner, boasts high quality fruits, such as apples, pears, cherries, plums and, of course, peaches. It had a decent growing season this summer under Bittner's direction despite the heated temperatures and drought. And that resulted in a harvest of gigantic, almost softball-sized peaches, all of which will be served "super fresh" at this year's festival, according to Beltrano.
"They'll be fresh-picked peaches," Beltrano says. He reports that Bittner, who is marking his eighth year supplying Singer Farms' peaches to Kiwanis for its shortcakes, recently sent his just-picked produce to a nearby Canada facility for processing - peeling and bagging - and the refrigerated fruit - 6 1/2 tons - is expected to be returned to Kiwanis this week, just in time for the festival. "It's as fresh as we can possibly get," says Beltrano.
And it'll be served on DiCamillo shortcakes and topped with fresh cream for festival visitors to enjoy, starting on Friday and continuing all weekend in the Peach Tent, located on the west side of the park.
Beltrano noted that visitors can also look forward to new experiences at this year's festival:
•Improved parking, with free parking to be available in the Artpark upper lots and shuttle service provided throughout the weekend to the festival grounds by Gray Line Tours.
•An all-new Artisan's Alley. "We wanted to do something on the sidewalk along Center Street, so we're trying an Artisan's Alley there," says Beltrano. He reports Kiwanis has five interested artists signed-on to participate so far. They're expected to offer creations ranging from airbrushing to face painting. He invites others who may be interested to look into it. "Anybody who would like to come is welcome. We're looking for less of a high-end and more of a family-oriented" crowd," says Beltrano. Those who may be interested in participating during the festival are asked to contact festival grounds chairman Tony Attardo at 745-3438.
•A new exciting ride for thrill seekers. Beltrano reports that among the more than 40 festival rides provided by North American Midway Company that will arrive this week from the CNE in Toronto is one called the Ring of Fire. "It's a new, one-track roller coaster," Beltrano says. The ride has a car running on an inside circular track that will flip riders upside down at the very top of a high circle. He says the ride is both fun and safe, but it does have a minimum height requirement of four and one-half feet for younger riders. North American Midway staffers will check riders, he adds.
And returning will be a number of longtime festival favorites:
•The 19th annual Cheerleading Contest, Friday, starting at 5 p.m. in the DiMino's bandshell at Academy. Sponsored by DiMino's Lewiston Tops, it features various community cheerleading groups and youth football cheerleaders performing on stage before judges. This one's always a family favorite and Beltrano suggests visitors arrive early.
•The annual Lewiston Kiwanis 5K Fun Run and 1-Mile Walk, Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. "This is the 35th year that Tom (Baia) and Mimi (Cacciatore) have been doing this Fun Run. It keeps expanding every year and is fast becoming a premier event of its type in Niagara County," says Beltrano. Proceeds go this year to benefit the Jonathan "J-Mill" Giving Fund, established in memory of the Lewiston-Porter High School Class of 2010 member who lost his life in an automobile accident. Runners and walkers of all ages are invited to participate. For details on the race, visit www.lewistonkiwanis.org.
•The annual Peach Festival Parade, starting at 10:45 a.m. Saturday on Center Street. Sponsored this year by Wegmans, it will feature more than 100 units. Always a favorite of residents and visitors, expect to see marching bands, majorettes, floats, police units and fire companies, youth football squads and cheerleaders, politicians, color guards, drill teams, plus appearances by this year's Peach Queen contestants, the current Peach Queen, Peach Fuzz and Peach Blossom.
Also of note at this year's parade will be special visits by Kiwanis International President Thomas DeJulio and first lady Dr. Rosemary DeJulio, who will serve as honorary parade marshals. Also, Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy Allen Gerhardt, who lost his legs in an automobile accident while on duty in 2011, will make a special appearance. All will be honored by Lewiston Kiwanis at this year's parade event; and Gerhardt and his family will be treated to a full day at the festival, courtesy of Kiwanis, reports Beltrano.
•Entertainment throughout the weekend, both on stage and on the festival grounds. Included will be Saturday appearances by 23 Skidoo; the Peach Fuzz contest; the Lewiston Choraleers on stage; the Peach Queen fashion show; and a "Tribute to the King," featuring Terry Buchwald as Elvis beginning at 8 p.m.
Sunday will open with the Neptune Ski Club performing off the Lewiston Docks in the river. Other good ones to check out at Academy Park are the Sunday Dance Showcase, featuring dance companies performing every 15 minutes from noon to 3 p.m. on the DiMino's stage. Also the Peach Blossom contest; performances by the Bob Volkman Band and the McCarthy School of Irish Dance; and an evening that will see the crowning of the 2012 Peach Queen on the DiMino's stage.
Yes, from peaches to rides, midway attractions, good times, great eats and more, the Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival is sure to have something for everyone.
"Get there early, stay late and enjoy," says Beltrano.
With favorable weather, Kiwanis organizers anticipate three-day crowds approaching 100,000 for this annual event, whose proceeds go to benefit thousands in the area.
For more on this year's festival, including information on advanced ticket sales, visit www.lewistonkiwanis.org.
Lewiston Kiwanis Club prepping for Niagara County Peach Festival
Dean Beltrano named 2012 Peach Festival general chairman
Kiwanis Club of Lewiston President Jerry Mosey has announced that Kiwanian Dean Beltrano (pictured) has been named the general chairman for the 55th annual Niagara County Peach Festival. The three-day festival takes place Sept. 7-9 in Academy Park in the Village of Lewiston.
A member of the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston since 2003, Beltrano has served as co-chair of the Peach Festival for the past two years and chair of the Peach Tent operations for the past five years. He has also served on the festival's advisory committee. Beltrano has been active with the club on other committees, including Lew-Port Relay For Life, Kamp Kiwanis, the club's Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets and the Kiwanis Key Leader Conference. He is currently the club's 2012-13 president elect.
A graduate of Niagara County Community College, Beltrano works for the U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Call Center in Buffalo.
He and his wife, Dana, have two children, Joe and Andrea, and reside in Lewiston.
Beltrano invites all to visit this year's festival and to enjoy Niagara County peaches, served in Lewiston Kiwanis' famous shortcakes throughout the event.
2012 Peach Queen contestants mixer
The 2012 Peach Queen contestants gathered Sunday, Aug. 19, behind the Lewiston Senior Center.
Pictured, from left (front row), are: Margaret Dorian, Sarah Privitera, Chelsea Mullen and Jacey Diez; (Back row) Rachel Willard, Alyssa Oswald, Meghan Ireland, Peach Queen Chelsea Pelsone, Sarah Leach, Emily Lombardo and Corin Gildner. Not pictured are Dominique Abrams, Shawni Ingersoll, Valeriya Nikolayera and Kelly Rotolo. (photos by Robin Clark)
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 55th annual Niagara County Peach Festival
Friday-Sunday, Sept. 7-9
Kiwanis Club offering free shuttles to and from Peach Festival
Leave the driving and parking to the pros.
The Lewiston Kiwanis Club has good news for those who, in years past, might've been leery about traveling to the Niagara County Peach Festival (think congested roads and not nearly enough parking spaces). For this year's event, the organization 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.
"The first motivation for this is to improve the festival experience for the patrons who come in and enjoy the festival," said Kiwanian and event traffic coordinator Jeff Sanderson. "We've had a history of challenges with parking in the village, and people coming in - especially those unfamiliar with the village - have been unsure about where to park. So that creates some anxiety for them."
This new park-and-ride option cuts down on walking time and makes it easier for patrons to visit the Peach Festival.
"They don't have to worry about how far they're parked away from the festival, because they'll get a comfortable ride in a climate-controlled shuttle right down to the festival grounds, and same thing on the way back to their car," Sanderson said.
The shuttle system should free up Center Street parking spaces for Lewiston retailers and their clients.
"We've gotten feedback from the citizens and the business community that they would like the Kiwanis Club to see if we could come up with a plan that would alleviate some of the traffic congestion and parking in areas that are not intended for that purpose, and also alleviate the impact on area businesses during the festival," Sanderson said.
The purpose of the Peach Festival is to raise money for the Kiwanis Club, which, in turn, donates to charitable organizations and causes. While the shuttles are free - and will utilize professional Gray Line drivers - Sanderson said this expense would not adversely impact this year's fundraising.
"It is being covered by sponsorships, and so it does not detract from the festival proceeds," he said. "We have two major sponsors. One is North American Midway Entertainment, and that is the company that does provide all of the rides and attractions on the field during the festival. And then we also have a partner, sponsor, in Tedesco Construction. Those two companies are sponsoring the shuttle. It's also possible because of the partnership with Artpark and the Village of Lewiston.
"We think that, by improving the festival experience, we could improve the charitable impact of the festival, rather than detract from it."
In addition to the shuttle rides, handicapped-accessible parking will be available in the DiMino Tops parking lot, and on Center Street along the north side of the Peach Festival grounds (between Eighth and Ninth streets).
To further avoid traffic-related stress, the Kiwanis Club advises Peach Festival attendees to consider alternate routes into and out of Lewiston.
Reporter Joshua Maloni contributed to this article.
Parade, live entertainment, food, fashion and fun at Peach Festival
Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit Lewiston this weekend for the 55th annual Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival. The midway pictured above will be filled with families and children enjoying the rides, watching live entertainment and (of course) partaking of local peaches and peach desserts.
Among the scheduled events this weekend:
Saturday, Sept. 8
- 11 a.m.: Peach Festival parade
- 1 until 2 p.m.: Units from parade
- 1:30 to 4 p.m.: 23 Skidoo (strolling the grounds)
- 2 until 3 p.m.: Peach Fuzz contest
- 3 until 4:45 p.m.: Chris Glowacki and Zach Carr
- 5 to 5:45 p.m.: Lewiston Choraleers
- 6 to 7:30 p.m.: Peach Queen contest (semifinals); fashion show; the music of Bob Volkman
- 8 to 11 p.m.: “A Tribute to the King” with Terry Buchwald
Sunday, Sept. 9
- Noon to 3 p.m.: Dance showcase
- 1:30 to 4 p.m.: 23 Skidoo (strolling the grounds)
- 3 to 5 p.m.: Peach Blossom contest
- 5 to 6:45 p.m.: Bob Volkman Band
- 7 to 7:45 p.m.: McCarthy School of Irish Dance
- 8 p.m. Peach Queen contest finals
(photos by Terry Duffy and Joshua Maloni)
Units needed for Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival Parade
The Lewiston Kiwanis Club seeks entries for the annual Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival Parade. The parade will take place on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 11 a.m.
The parade route will be from the Red Brick Municipal Building on North Fourth Street, down Center Street to Academy Park in the Village of Lewiston.
Cash prizes of more than $2,000 and trophies will be awarded to outstanding school bands, senior bands, majorette units, fire companies, floats, drill teams and color guards. Any units desiring entry blanks should contact Jerry Wolfgang at 716-754-7745.
Entries for the parade will be accepted until Aug. 30.
Festival to hold cheerleading competition
This year’s Lewiston Kiwanis Club Peach Festival Cheerleading Competition will be held on Friday, Sept. 7, at 5 p.m. in Academy Park.
All high school cheerleading groups from Western New York and Canada are eligible, as well as all-star, town and youth football cheerleaders.
Participants will perform a minimum two-and-a-half minute and maximum five-minute routine containing a cheer and music portion. First-, second- and third-place winners will receive trophies.
There is no charge for a team to enter. For further information and entry materials, contact Jerry Wolfgang at 716-754-7745.