Festival season in the Village of Lewiston kicks off with the annual Smelt Festival, to be held Friday, May 4, on the Lewiston waterfront. The event is centered on one of the region's most natural resource - smelt - which is netted in the Niagara River.
The festival will begin at 5 p.m. at the foot of Center and Water streets. Niagara River Anglers and Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce staff, board of directors and local dignitaries will serve free smelt samples along with Smelt King Ken Scibetta, co-owner of the Griffon House. The Anglers will batter and fry approximately 400 pounds of smelt, given out as free samples in signature white dishes.
Smelt will be served until it runs out. Donations are encouraged. Funds will go toward the Niagara River Anglers' community programs.
Other food and beverages will be available for purchase at the event. The Silo Restaurant and The Spicey Pickle will have food available for sale.
Additionally, local country band 90 West will perform throughout the night.
The River Region has a robust schedule of events from May through December. This annual festival is hosted by the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Village of Lewiston and Niagara River Anglers. Sponsorship of the event is made possible by DiMino's Lewiston Tops, which assists the anglers in purchasing the approximately 400 pounds of smelt. The crispy-cooked fish is shipped to the Lewiston store in preparation for the festival.
"With the growing popularity of the festival, Anthony DiMino stepped in a few years ago as a sponsor to help with the volume of smelt needed to accommodate the crowd. The Anglers and Chamber are grateful for the sponsorship, as the festival is a major fundraiser for the Niagara River Anglers to continue to offer important educational programs to the youth, and stocking our local ponds, lakes and rivers," Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Pauly said. "Last year the event landed on Cinco de Mayo, and this year on the popular 'Star Wars' date May 4."
Many Lewiston restaurants will also offer Smelt on their menus over the weekend. Participating restaurants serving smelt, and businesses offering special promotions, will be identified by a decorative fish flag outside their door.
The Smelt Festival is sponsored by DiMino's Lewiston Tops, Modern Corporation and Waste Management Inc. For additional information, call the chamber office at 716-754-9500 or visit online at www.NiagaraRiverRegion.com