by Terry Duffy
Organizing continues for the annual Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival Parade, set to take place on Saturday, Sept. 7, along Center Street in the Village of Lewiston starting at 11 a.m.
Jerald I. Wolfgang, parade chairman, reports that entries are still being accepted for the parade, which will begin at the Village of Lewiston Red Brick School Municipal Hall on North Fourth Street, and continue down Center Street to Academy Park.
The parade typically sees in excess of 100 units participating, with cash prizes of more than $2,000 and trophies awarded to the outstanding school bands, senior bands, majorette units, fire companies, floats, drill teams and color guards. Interested individuals and groups should contact Wolfgang at 716-754-7745. Entries for the parade will be accepted until Aug. 30.
Wolfgang observes that throughout its existence this parade has had its focus on community. One such group is The Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association of Niagara Inc., which will be staging its 17th annual Buddy Walk of Buffalo-Niagara at this year's parade. In existence since 1997, DSA of Niagara is comprised of a small group of parents, children, and self-advocates who respect and value the life and dignity of each person with Down syndrome and are committed to helping them pursue a life filled with meaning, purpose and inclusion in society. It seeks to raise positive public awareness about Down syndrome and invites the community to join them at this year's Peach Fest Parade.
"We support and uphold all national and local advocacy organizations who advocate for people with Down syndrome and remain the only affiliate organization and licensed Buddy Walk of The National Down Syndrome Society in Niagara County," says Christine Siriani, parent advocate and president, The Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association of Niagara County Inc.
She invites area residents to join as a Buddy Walk supporter and/or a walker in this year's parade.
"Our greatest supporters are you: families, friends and volunteers who may know (someone) with Down syndrome," she adds. "Your contribution has helped raise positive community awareness and continues to 'open doors' for the inclusion and participation of people with Down syndrome in all aspects of community life."
"We are proud to take part each year in the Lewiston Peach Festival and Parade," she continues. "Our children and families enjoy a day of celebration, friendship, rides, refreshments, prizes and so much more. So won't you please join our efforts and celebrate with us again this year on Sept. 7?"
In addition to support from Lewiston Kiwanis, the Buddy Walk is supported locally by the DiMino family, Lewiston Tops; Hibbard's Frozen Custard and M. Hibbard Premium Custard; New York State Parks, Niagara Falls; and Smith Brothers Pizza.
For further information on participating in this year's Buddy Walk or to support the event, visit www.dsaniagara.org.