By Terry Duffy
Seems there's always something going on in Youngstown, especially when the warmer weather of summer hits.
Over past weeks, the tiny village at the mouth of the Niagara has played host to such events as the Beginning of Summer Street Dance, Niagara Pioneer Soccer Tourney, a national lacrosse championship, the Can Am Challenge, the French and Indian War Encampment at Old Fort Niagara, the Jack Beatty Hospice Cruise and Clambake, the Great Contraption Race, the Somewhere BBQ benefit and a Buffalo Philharmonic concert.
Time for the Youngstown Community Picnic!
Presented by the Village of Youngstown Recreation Department, the event takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at Falkner Park on Main Street.
It leads off with the annual kids fishing derby from 8 a.m. to noon at the Youngstown village south dock. Children of all ages are invited to participate in this event, which is sponsored by the Niagara River Anglers Association.
Village Trustee Tim Adamson reports the picnic itself will feature an assortment of family-fun activities. Included will be foods and beverages; an ice cream sundae station and watermelon-eating contest; fire truck rides by the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co.; an onsite bounce house at Falkner; visits from Donuts the Clown; and entertainment by DJ Mxn. Onsite exhibitors include Wild Kritters, the Town of Porter Historical Society, Niagara Jet Adventures, Old Fort Niagara, U.S. Coast Guard Station and the Youngstown Free Library.
The picnic is open to the public. Visitors are asked to bring a dish to pass, and a lawn chair.
The village will see the return of the annual Old Fort Niagara "Soldiers of the Revolution" on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13-14. Re-enactors will again share the history of the British-held fort and surrounding frontier during the American Revolution from 1775-83.
Activities at the fort begin daily at 10 a.m. and continue through 6 p.m. Included are history tours at 11 a.m., where visitors will discover the fort's role in the American Revolution; fife and drum performances at 1 p.m.; battle demonstrations at 2 p.m.; children's recruitments to join the wooden-musket army as Loyalists or Rebels at 3 p.m.; and 18th century games with the soldiers at 3:30 p.m.
"Fort Niagara was under British control during the American fight for Independence," OFN Executive Director Robert Emerson said. "While the fort did not see any direct armed conflict during the war, its location on the Niagara River and Lake Ontario served as a busy, strategic hub for information-sharing and troop movement. It also served as a gathering place for colonists who were loyal to King George III, and a staging point for numerous raids against the American colonies in New York and Pennsylvania."
For more information, visit www.oldfortniagara.org.
British redcoats will be on the ground at Old Fort Niagara's "Soldiers of the Revolution" next weekend. (Photo by Lee Gugino)
And come Saturday, Aug. 20, look for a return of the "ladies of the deep," with the second annual Mermaids of the Mighty Niagara. Presented by the Porter, Youngstown and Ransomville Business Association, the event will take over Youngstown's Main Street Saturday afternoon and evening with a host of family-oriented events for all ages.
"We are having an old-fashioned block party," PYRBA organizer Aaron Dey said.
Taking place from 4-8 p.m., the Mermaid Fest opens with a children's costume contest at 4 p.m. Cost is $5 per child to register, and all participants will receive a mermaid or pirate keepsake.
Other activities for the kids include performances by the TNT children's theater group of musicals "The Little Mermaid" and "Shrek," a wet bounce house, face painting, children's crafts and games, and - new this year - a little mermaid boutique.
"For all the beautiful mermaids out there, we are going to have a mermaid boutique to spoil you with," PYRBA event organizer Miss Jane said. "Mermaid Fran and her helper mermaids will be there to do your nails and hair and other beautiful pampering.
"There will be music and lots of other activities for both children and adults. We will have Mermaid Jessica doing face painting, creating mermaids and Neptunes. Of course, we will have our crafting area for the children and, new this year, special games to play and earn points for prizes."
The fun continues with a mermaid promenade with a special appearance by Mermaid Tory, an adult costume contest, a pie-throwing contest and a dunk tank. The event will also serve as the final destination for the Bob Weaver Motorsports-sponsored Lions Clubs Motorcycle Dice Run for Charity. Still more features include the Power Vista kiosk by the New York Power Authority, street vendors featuring Youngstown area restaurants, and musical entertainment.
PYRBA organizers invite readers to visit for a fun afternoon, to enjoy the area and support a good cause.
"This event is to promote the lower Niagara River and Porter, Youngstown and Ransomville, more specifically," Dey said. "It is also to raise money for the Care-N-Share Food Pantry, which, in turn, helps to feed families in need, in both our village and local areas."
Last year, Dey noted, PYRBA.org raised more than $1,100 for the Care-N-Share Food Pantry, which services communities in the lower Niagara River Region. "This year, our goal is to do more to help others, all while having fun," he said.
In addition to PYRBA.org, sponsors for this event include Rich Products Corp., Riverview Fitness, the Youngstown Village Diner, Tim and Lori Adamson and family, the Ashker family, Victoria's Family Hair Care, the Village of Youngstown and www.wnypapers.com.
For more on this event, visit www.pyrba.org.
Fun for visitors of all ages. A children's costume contest, a dunk tank, a pie-throwing contest, a mermaid promenade and more will be part of the second annual PYRBA.org Mermaid Festival on Saturday, Aug. 20.