Family-friendly happening takes over Main Street
By Terry Duffy
Despite those seemingly never-ending rains -- not to mention the high water conditions on area waterways -- summer is very much here in the busy River Region.
Our festival and event season has already taken a-hold, with successful community experiences near and far. Included are the recent Taste of Lewiston, the Lewiston Memorial Day Parade, always popular Artpark Tuesdays, celebrations at Old Fort Niagara, Friday nights at the Big R, the Ransomville Community Faire – the list goes on.
Next week, the good times hit the Village of Youngstown with the annual Beginning of Summer Street Dance. Celebrating its 10th year, Street Dance takes place from 6-10 p.m. Thursday. It is sponsored by the Youngstown Business and Professional Association along with the Village of Youngstown, its police department and volunteer fire company.
And for those in need of a summer experience, it’s a must do.
“Bring your family, friends and a lawn chair and join fellow residents, as Youngstown’s Main Street is transformed into the best beachfront area in Niagara County,” the YBPA proclaimed.
Considering the flooding conditions out in the lake, it probably is the best place.
Here, visitors will find a whole host of fun attractions with appeal for all ages.
YBPA President Cheryl Butera, who has been involved in this event since its onset, reported many Street Dance favorites will return. For the kids, we’re talking a bounce house with slides plus basketball nets by Nick Conde; pony rides and a petting zoo from Lakeside Quarter Horses; and Niagara Clown Alley’s Corabell and Donuts the Clown with face painting and balloon animals.
That’s not all. Look for servings of tasty ice cream, free popcorn by the Youngstown Lions and free beach balls – 900 of them – by Anchor Spirits. Throw in the return of a Street Dance favorite – the Carl Motyka Band – and you have the makings for a fun evening.
“Carl Motyka called; his whole band will be there,” Butera said. “Carl Motyka’s band has been at every single Street Dance for 10 years. The kids love him!”
Actually, this band has become quite popular with visitors all ages.
“They play current songs to dance to, as well as bring the little ones onto the stage to participate playing tambourines with the band,” Butera said.
During breaks, the on-street entertainment will continue with dance performances for the kids by Amy Roush’s The Dance Shop Studio, while the older set will be able to check out Margaret Nucci with her friends from “Dance Like a Star with Serge” and Serge Komar.
“These two dance teams were both huge hits at last year’s dance and we look forward to their return,” Butera said. “Of course, we invite everyone to dance on the Main Street of Youngstown and celebrate the beginning of a long-deserved summer!”
Another returning favorite is the Street Dance Classic Car Show on the event’s south end at Main and Hinman streets. The event started out as a classic car cruise and continues to grow in popularity. It is coordinated by Albert McFayden, Dennis Ketch and Town of Porter Councilman Tim Adamson
“It’s a great venue to show off your special vehicle,” Butera said. “Come early and line up on Hinman Street. This year we will have a tour group of the International Station Wagon Club who will be bringing 15 classic station wagons to name a few new exciting offerings.”
“We’re hoping for a goodly number of cars this year,” McFayden said. “We have one special group – it’s the ‘Woody Station Wagon’ group. Many have a number of years on them; we’re going to have 15-20 of those coming.”
Both noted that, for those interested in bringing that special ride, there’s no cost to participate.
“Hinman (Street) is going to closed off and we’ll fill the whole thing, hopefully,” Butera said. “Come on down.”
Still more to look forward to Thursday are good eats on the streets with the village’s “Taste of Youngstown.”
“We will have our best foodies on the street this year,” Butera said.
Look for items from The Youngstown Galley and Mangia Cakes Ice Cream, the Mug and Musket, Youngstown Diner, The Ontario House (aka Jug), and Sanger Farms.
Speaking of tasty edibles, Terry Dietz of Lakeside Quarter Horses will offer dessert fare with a 4-H Club baked goods sale.
“We will have many more vendors this year offering a large variety of goodies for everyone to enjoy,” Butera said.
She noted vendor applications are still available for Street Dance. Contact Catherine Stella (street vendor and food coordinator) at 745-9938 or her and Mark Butera at 745-7989 for more information.
Still more to check out on the street will be one of Niagara Jet Adventures’ jetboats, the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co.’s new ambulance and fire truck, plus vehicles from Youngstown Police, whose officers will handle security for this all-ages event.
Butera stressed the Street Dance will again be an alcohol-free, family-friendly event. Local businesses will be open for those wishing to purchase adult beverages.
She said the YBPA will have a display table for information sharing with visitors, as well as a 50/50 split – with the winner to be announced that night. YBPA volunteer staff will be available throughout the evening.
The Buteras as well as the entire YBPA welcome readers to attend what has become Youngstown’s signature event.
Noting the modest beginnings of Street Dance in 2010 with 250 attending, Butera commented, “We had maybe 2,500 people last year. It just keeps growing every year.”
Pointing to the past 10 years of Street Dance and its growth, she said, “Mark and I are really happy that there’s new and younger blood coming up behind us,” noting the recent new member additions to YBPA.
Mark Butera added, “Street Dance, it’s an opportunity for all the businesses and professionals here to showcase what you do. You don’t pay a vendor fee, if you’re not selling something. If you’re a member, you can just showcase yourself, present what you have. It’s an opportunity for your own self-promotion; get the word out.”
Lending his praise to the YBPA efforts and Street Dance, legendary Town of Porter farming guru Tom Tower commented, “I would like to offer the strongest heart-felt thanks to Mark and Cheryl. Without those two, none of this would be going on.”
He continued, “We all have our own world. We’re all busy, doing our own gig, but we’re all part of a community – a community of students, of educators, business people, retirees, tourists. A community helps each other, all the time. Mark and Cheryl were basically one of the nicest things that ever happened to Youngstown; I think we owe them a huge, huge ‘Thank you’ for everything they’ve always done.”
Barring uncontrollable rains, YBPA’s Beginning of Summer Street Dance will go on from 6-10 p.m. Thursday on Youngstown’s Main Street, from Lockport Street on the north to Hinman Street on the south. Visitors can look forward to a lot of fun throughout the evening in-between these streets.
“This is a rain-or-shine event, but, should there be rain, we will relocate into the gymnasium of the community center on Lockport Street. Come on down to Youngstown and see that this little community has so much to offer,” the Buteras said.
For more information on Street Dance, visit the YBPA online at www.youngstownny.com.