by Susan Mikula Campbell
The highlight of the Town of Niagara's bicentennial celebration arrives this weekend with a parade on Military Road followed by two days of activities at Veterans Memorial Park on Lockport Road.
"I'm very proud to be the town supervisor, especially during our 200th year bicentennial," said Supervisor Steve Richards. "It's not every day you get a chance to be part of history and all the town's residents will have that chance this weekend."
Town Clerk Sylvia Virtuoso and her Bicentennial Committee have been working for two years to be sure the bicentennial was memorable. Although special events started in January and there's more to come, this weekend will be the biggest and will offer something for all ages. Everything is free except the wares of 22 vendors and the craft sale.
"We couldn't have asked for a better team to put this together with the committee, volunteers, the Town Board, the supervisor and town employees working to present the 200th birthday of the Town of Niagara in the most meaningful way," she said.
Saturday's parade, featuring 45 units, begins at 11 a.m. at Fourth Avenue and ends at Kmart on Military Road.
After a day full of activities at the park, including the bicentennial car show that opens at noon, be sure to be in place by about 7 p.m. for the evening entertainment. Elvis tribute artist Shawn Klush, who bills himself as "The Closest Thing to the King in Concert," will provide musical entertainment.
"We've had phone calls from people in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He has a following," Virtuoso said of Klush, who was born in the small coal-mining town of Pittson, Pa.
Once Elvis "leaves the building," get ready for fireworks at about 9:45 p.m.
The town normally has fireworks after its first summer concert held near the Fourth of July holiday, but since this is the bicentennial, this display will be extra special, both longer and bigger than usual, Virtuoso said. The best viewing, of course, will be in the park, but the display will be visible all around the park area, she said.
Events continue on Sunday starting at noon and ending with a closing ceremony at 5 p.m.
After a weekend of cars, games, barbecue chicken, clowns, puppets, crafts, music, reptiles, tours of historic homes and more, it still won't be over.
On July 8, the town's Historical Society will hold Snapdragon Sunday, judging the garden decorations of front yards in the town. This year's theme is patriotic red, white and blue.
On July 13, there will be a ghost hunt walk at Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls, which originally was a town cemetery. Free tickets must be obtained in advance from the Town Clerk's office. Only 100 are available.
On Sept. 1, Wegmans is sponsoring a barbecue and entertainment at its Military Road store in honor of the town's bicentennial.
Also, Virtuoso said, sometime this fall, the Bicentennial Committee plans to bury a time capsule by the flagpoles in front of Town Hall. Anyone with suggestions on what the capsule should contain can contact her office.