by Autumn Evans
This weekend marks the return of Summerfest, the annual celebration held at Porter on the Lake Park on Lake Road. It will be held Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under.
Summerfest began in 2008 and has been held every year since, excluding 2012, when a festival celebrating the Town of Porter's 200th anniversary took place instead.
Each year, the event has been organized by Porter Councilman Larry White, his wife Linda, and Porter Councilman Jeff Baker and his wife, Gloria, along with the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce.
"It's a great way for the community to come and see the park," said Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Pauly. "It's a beautiful location."
During the event, food, wine and craft vendors will set up shop. There also will be live entertainment by WhaTheFOLK, The Instigators and Rip and the Bandogs.
For children, there will be pony rides, a petting zoo, a bounce house and face painting from 3 to 6 p.m. These activities are free.
The festival will conclude with a fireworks display at dusk over Lake Ontario by Skylighters of New York.
Summerfest is funded by corporate sponsors. All money raised from the festival goes toward improving the park. Pauly said the current playground equipment was purchased using funds from last year's festival, and this year's revenue will be used on similar upgrades.
There are tentative plans to build walkways to the playground and pavilions, create new parking areas and perform electrical upgrades, Summerfest co-chair Jeff Baker said, but they aren't specific plans yet.
"Our goal is to make those improvements without raising taxes," he said.
Besides fundraising, Pauly said Summerfest is a chance to reach out to the community.
"Really, this is done to raise awareness for the park," she said. "We want people to use the park."
Baker also emphasized the community focus of the event.
"It's a nice place for people to come and meet new people, and to see old people they haven't seen for a year," he said. "Hopefully we can get a lot of participants down here."
For more information on Summerfest, visit www.NiagaraRiverRegion.com.