By Terry Duffy
Planning for summer 2016 and beyond was the focus of the Youngstown Business and Professional Association's members' meeting this past week, held at Bandana's Bar and Grill on Lake Road.
"We have a busy summer before us," YBPA President Cheryl-Irish Butera said, as she and YBPA attendees outlined an exciting couple of months ahead for the lower river/village region and beyond.
"Come join with us as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the YBPA. It's a celebration for all of us," Butera said.
Leading off is the seventh annual YBPA Beginning of Summer Street Dance, to be held from 6-10 p.m. Thursday, June 23, on Main Street. The event celebrates the traditional end of the school year and beginning of all that's summer in the River Region. Among the family-oriented activities, look for a classic car show; the music of Carl Motyka; a bounce house, pony rides, face painting and ice cream for the kids; popcorn and beach balls; foods, drinks and merchandise and family fun galore.
YBPA member Dennis Ketch reported the car show, which he runs with YBPA member Josh Stack of The Boat Works, continues to grow - and he welcomed new entries.
"It has gone from 10-12 cars to more expected this year," Ketch said. He has reached out to a number of car groups in the area, and many are indicating interest. "This one is open to visitors, too."
Ketch requests those interested in participating to bring their vehicle to Main and Hinman streets in the village from 4-5 p.m. that day.
Stay tuned to next week's Sentinel for more on the upcoming Street Dance.
Another exciting event discussed was the Great Contraption Race, taking place Saturday, July 30, on the lower river from Lewiston to the south boat launch at Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown.
YBPA member Sandra Lahrache, acting executive director of the It Happened to Alexa Foundation in Lewiston, and YBPA member Diane Melloni of Melloni's Market Place discussed plans for what's expected to be an eventful after-party at Falkner Park that day.
"It's a 'Party in the Park,' " Lahrache said. She told attendees the event will get underway at the park at noon and continue until 8 p.m. Activities will coincide with the race wrap-up and are expected to include bands and vendors, as well as food and beverages.
"It is expected that the Great Contraption Race will have a large following of participants and spectators that will be in Youngstown at this time," Lahrache said. "By having the event following the Great Contraption Race, the local business owners will benefit, as well, by promoting the beauty and tourism of the Village of Youngstown."
Lahrache said GCR race organizers are currently working with Village of Youngstown officials to secure the required permits and iron out the logistics for the event. Tent setups will be in place for beer sales and family dining; a series of bands is being arranged with a DJ also expected; trash, recycle bins and port-a-johns will be on site; and organizers said they will would enlist the help of area volunteers, Boy Scouts, etc., to assist in such areas as traffic, parking and cleanup.
Lahrache said "Party in the Park" planning committee organizers would meet with Mayor Raleigh Reynolds and village trustees this Thursday to discuss the event further.
For more on the Great Contraption Race, visit the Alexa Foundation website at www.alexafoundation.org.
In other YBPA news:
•Butera reported she had received good community feedback on YBPA's 2016-17 "Welcome to Youngstown" brochures, which were distributed with the May 28 Sentinel. She said the brochures are now available at 26 area visitor/retail businesses in the area, as well as at Old Fort Niagara, the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. and area campsites.
•YBPA member Christina Crane, sales and marketing manager of the NRCC, reported that, in coming months, she would work on developing a new chamber-oriented TV program focusing on NRCC members.
•Butera reported YBPA projects from its recently awarded $3,350 William G. Mayne/Niagara Falls Bridge Commission/Niagara County economic development enhancement matching funds grant are now underway. Included are: the aforementioned YBPA brochures; hanging flower baskets and planter plants in the village; repainting of the Main/Lockport streets signpost; updating the YBPA webcam at the Youngstown Yacht Club; and a new banner to advertise the annual Neil C. Riordan St. Patrick's Day Parade.
For more information on YBPA, visit it on Facebook or at www.youngstownny.com.
Scenes from the recent YBPA meeting.