By Marty Pauly
President, Kiwanis Club of Lewiston
On behalf of the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston, a special thank you to the community for coming out in droves to make the 62nd Niagara County Peach Festival a success this year. The course of events leading up to this festival led to an enhanced sense of urgency by the many volunteers and participants to make sure this festival was going to be the best it possibly could.
Kiwanis members work tirelessly planning this great event every year and count on a cavalry of volunteers from the community to help us finish the job of creating an event we can all be proud of. This cavalry includes families and friends of Kiwanis members, teachers and students from the Lew-Port school district, students from NU, UB and Canisius, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Work Program, local service organizations, businesses and many more.
A special heartfelt thank you goes out to the great members of the Lewiston Police Department. Chief Previte commanded a safety and security detail that included police departments from Lewiston, Niagara Falls and Town of Niagara, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Their collaboration ensured the Peach Festival would be the safe family event it has been for 62 years. Last Saturday was the most secure day in festival history. Thank you very much, Lewiston Police Department. The Peach Festival cannot occur without you.
The Peach Festival also couldn’t exist without the extraordinary efforts of the village DPW, town DPW, Lewiston Fire Company No. 1, and Modern Disposal Services. The respective DPW employees help Kiwanis by delivering necessary equipment to Academy Park and are ready if called upon to help with ground conditions in the event of inclement weather. Lewiston Fire No. 1 and supporting EMTs basically live at the Peach Festival and are prepared to administer first aid at a moment’s notice. Extensive planning occurs between Kiwanis and Lewiston Fire No. 1 to ensure the proper location of safety and fire lanes.
Modern Disposal Services is the main sponsor of the Peach Festival. The work this company does to provide facilities, wash stations, and a clean field each day for the festival can never be fully recognized, yet is never forgotten. To these four separate but important organizations, Kiwanis says thank you.
We would like to take the time to publicly address a change in policy regarding our advance ride tickets, which drew criticism from numerous guests. Many of you who have been regular attendees over the past several decades will note we strive to keep our festival affordable when it comes to ticket prices, and the price of food and beverages at our Kiwanis tents. Although our expenses may increase from year to year, we do our best not to raise prices to the consumer, especially as we are aided by the ongoing support of many generous sponsors.
Over the course of our relationship, our ride partner, Amusements of America, has suggested we raise ticket prices several times. This is partially due to rising insurance costs and the fact the Peach Festival is one of the less-expensive events of its type. To our knowledge, we are the only festival that has an advance ticket sale agreement of one ticket equals one ride. This has been a great tradition of the Peach Festival, which Kiwanis tries very hard to maintain each year.
Later in the planning stages for this festival, our ride company asked for one of two things: raise the cost of each sheet of advance ride tickets, or decrease the number of tickets on each sheet. Kiwanis did not want to do either, and tried to keep the old tradition alive. Then we were asked if Amusements could select a few big rides and charge two advance ride tickets. All other rides, most notably the younger children’s rides, remained at one ticket. We reluctantly agreed, because we at least were able to keep the cost per sheet at $20, and the amount of tickets per sheet at 10. Even at two tickets, the advance ride tickets offer a less-expensive approach to enjoying the rides at the Peach Festival.
The advertising for this untimely break in tradition was not explicit enough. For this we apologize, and will make the necessary adjustments for future Peach Festivals.
Always remember we are a charitable organization, and the success of the Peach Festival allows us to avoid holding several smaller fundraisers throughout the year. We are proud to provide one of the best values of any four-day event in Western New York with free admission, free stage entertainment, and free parking and shuttle rides to and from the festival from Artpark’s upper lot.
For a list of entities in our community to whom we provide direct support from festival dollars, please visit our website at www.lewistonpeachfestival.org.
Thank you very much!