by Terry Duffy
Among the many assorted festivals and fairs that have become a part of the fabric of the northern Niagara area is a relatively new one, but also one whose objective is to benefit the community far beyond.
The Lewiston Village Pub, 840 Center St., is now in the final stages of preparation for its second annual "PubFest." The event, which donates 100 percent of its proceeds to the Variety Kids Telethon, takes place next Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 18-19, at Academy Park in Lewiston. Times are noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Ken Scibetta, co-owner of the Lewiston Village Pub and general chairman of "PubFest," said this event is more than just involvement by a local business for a good cause. It represents years of involvement by Scibetta and his family in the many beneficial programs of Variety. "My father's been a driving force at Variety for over 30 years," says Scibetta. "I've been with it for a number of years, my sisters have been involved; my own daughter has been at Children's. We've experienced it first hand."
Over the years the Variety Club has benefited literally thousands through its programs at Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, the Robert Warner M.D. Center for Children with Special Needs at Cradle Beach Camp, The Boys and Girls Club, Mount St. Mary's School for the Deaf, the Variety Kids Telethon Peace Camp in Niagara Falls and many others.
Scibetta says the Lewiston Village Pub embarked on "PubFest" last year and it became an instant hit. "We had an overwhelming response, a little over $7,000 raised in six hours. It was really an experience for me to put this together."
He points out that his Lewiston business with "PubFest" has become unique among WNY bistros in devoting its entire proceeds from such an event to Variety. "There's not as many as you would like," said Scibetta of establishments holding benefit functions such as this. "There are some that charge a cover for bands, but I tried to take this to a next step."
Expanded this year to two days, "PubFest" offers fun for all ages. It includes children's activities such as pony rides, games, clowns, a kids zone with a bounce house, a petting zoo and more. For the adults there will be a classic car show, (with attendees invited to bring their own vehicles to show), a variety of food vendors, 50/50 splits, a large basket auction, a huge beer tent, the Bills-Packers game on TVs in the tents next Sunday, crafts and more.
Twelve live bands have signed on to provide the entertainment, say Scibetta. During the two days attendees can check out such offerings as the Soul Committee, Free Henry!, Terry Buchwald as Elvis, Aqueous, Naughty Dog, Middleman, Wheelhouse, Michaneko, Rick Leskell, Vinnie DeRosa and Vitamin D, Stone Row, and Hit and Run.
Scibetta says his goal this year is to raise $20,000 for Variety programs, and community response thus far "has been unbelievable. People have been calling, wanting to help, we're receiving assistance, donations," he said, noting checks he received just this past week from the Hibbards and Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour.
Businesses have stepped up likewise, with sponsorship for "PubFest" coming from Certo Brothers, Modern Corporations, Red Bull, Falls Tent and Awning, S.O.S. Special Occasion Specialist, Niagara Frontier Publications, Lewiston Music, the Hibbard family of businesses, and Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center.
Scibetta hopes for great weather and invites residents from both counties to come out. "This is an opportunity to participate in an event that benefits our entire community," he says.
Stop by at Academy next weekend, and join Variety honorary chairs John Certo and Sarah Kopasz in a real fun event for a good cause.For further information, contact the Lewiston Village Pub at 405-7017.