by Alex Muto
The Village of Youngstown Community Picnic returns for its eighth year on Saturday, Aug. 11, from noon to 4 p.m. at Falkner Park. The event promises to be a day of fun and games for the entire community.
Before the festivities, families can bring their kids to the Children's Fishing Derby from 8 a.m. to noon at the South Dock. The event offers kids an opportunity to fish.
Paul Jackson, president of the Niagara River Anglers Association, explains that the group will guide kids with fishing, and help picnic organizers select prizes for them. "We do all the legwork as far as handling the kids and what they can catch. ... We have different categories of fish for them to find and offer them different prizes."
Tina Oddy, chairwoman of the Youngstown Recreation Commission and co-chair of the picnic, and Jackson explain that prizes are given during the picnic's opening ceremony. Oddy emphasizes that "all kids win a prize" at the derby.
A grand opening follows the derby with many local performers. Young Marines from the area will present the colors, and then recent Lewiston-Porter graduate Kate Mieth will perform the National Anthem. The Rev. Charles Lamb will present the prayer.
Oddy announces that Mayor Raleigh Reynolds will speak.
"Mayor Reynolds plans to say a few words and welcome the community to this picnic," she says.
The four hours of fun will be packed with a variety of different activities for people of all ages. They include a Castle Bounce House, the Shenandoah Acres Petting Zoo, Wild Kritters, a watermelon-eating contest, a sidewalk chalk contest and a wading pool.
Plenty of local organizations and volunteer groups are also contributing to the festivities. The Presbyterian Church Youth Group will offer face painting, Kids Count will run an ice cream station, the Youngstown Recreation Department will assist with the old-fashioned games (an egg toss, water balloon toss, three-legged race and potato sack race), and the Youngstown Lions Club plans to oversee kiddie carnival games.
Families will enjoy an abundance of music, food and entertainment. Stevie Fleck of the Brass Monkeez will play music from 1 to 4 p.m. Oddy says that visitors should anticipate a great concert. She finds that Fleck, a "rising senior at Lewiston-Porter High School," performs many genres of music with great skill.
Visitors will be able to try many types of food. The Lions Club will serve hot dogs, hamburgers and beverages to visitors. Local restaurants and farm markets will be providing specialty dishes, including the Village Diner, which will bring oriental salad; Brennan's and Main Street Gas and Grill, which will provide pizza; Stone Jug, which will donate a macaroni salad; and Bandana's, which will bring macaroni and cheese.
Oddy notes that other local markets, including Tom Tower's and Sanger, will likely provide dishes. The picnic organizer also asks visiting families to bring a dish as well.
Oddy notes, "This sharing is part of the community picnic's wonderful atmosphere."
Oddy observes that the picnic always brings local residents, businesses and organizations together.
"We really try to make this a community event by including many local clubs, organizations, businesses and people. That is what this picnic is all about," she says.