Article and Photos by Karen Carr Keefe
Senior Contributing Writer
There was a Bills game on TV, it was drizzling outside, and the wind at times felt chilly. But none of those things seemed to bother the folks who came to the Fall Fest on Sunday at Kelly’s Country Store, 3121 Grand Island Blvd. It was the second day of a two-day festival.
Kids were the focal point of much of the action, and parents and grandparents made sure that fun was center stage for the younger ones.
There was plenty of fun stuff, including face painting and two bounce houses.
For animal lovers, there was a petting zoo from Niagara Down Under of Sanborn; Wings on Wheels, a trailer brought in by 2 Barn Farm that featured 200 colorful parakeets that guests could feed; pony rides; and an owl and a hawk, brought to the event by Wolcottsville Wildlife, an animal rescue organization in Akron.
Riding ponies at the start of Sunday’s action were three boys from a Grand Island family: Maverick Hagerty, 8; and twins Dalton and Hudson, 5; and Madelynn Davis, 3, who was all smiles as she road on a “baby horse,” led by Keely Pufpaff.
Bob Humbert of Wolcottsville Wildlife described the mission of the wildlife rescue: “We take in sick or injured wildlife and provide the help they need to get them back to the wild again.” He also has a license to exhibit exotic animals, so he visits and provides educational demonstrations for schools and groups with animals that were too long in captivity and couldn’t be returned to the wild.
“I specialize in birds but I also do mammals,” Humbert said. His wife, children and grandchildren are all part of the family business.
Lisa Dudley walked up to the area where a TV provided fest visitors a chance to catch up on the Bills game against the Washington Commanders, which the Bills won 37-3.
“I came out at the beginning, so I do want to get home for half-time,” she said. “But I came out here to Kelly’s Country Store. I grew up coming here, and I’m just down the street, so I want to support a local business and see what they have. I love seeing all the animals and the vendors here, and then the Bills game.”
If you were hungry or thirsty, there was an ample selection of vendor offerings and food trucks to satisfy festgoers. Food was provided for purchase by 773 North, Dirty Bird Chicken N’ Waffles, Steaksters Food Trailer, Planned EATS and Roadside Diner. Beverages were on sale at The Village Inn tent, for a selection of wines; and Simply Boba for a variety of bubble teas. Hukilau Shave Ice was there with its flavorful frozen treat.
Samantha Kane and Rich Daubney represented the Village Inn, 1488 Ferry Road, serving red and white wines that are popular at the restaurant, which is celebrating its 35th year on Grand Island.
Kane said, “I really do enjoy being here. It’s nice to see the community come out and, honestly, just enjoy all the vendors. Fall Fest is just such a nice time – it really is – to be here and as, like, a Village Inn staple. It just says a lot. Familiar faces – fun time!”
Members of the Williams and Bradley families from Niagara Falls and Grand Island attended the festival and enjoyed the food. Kahlynn Williams was having a good time: “It’s a nice treat to be out and gathered for fall season. I’m excited about it.” Her mother, Gloria Bradley, and Taron Williams joined her in a meal from Planned Eats.
Taron said, “I just wish it wasn’t raining today. Other than that, it’s pretty good.” He had pulled pork, mac ‘n’ cheese, and apple crisp for dessert.
Planned Eats owner Bryan Caudill said he has been in business for three years with his catering business, based in Wurlitzer Park, North Tonawanda. He said business has been good.
“We did a bunch of grad parties this summer, retirement parties, and we usually get business for the holidays – Christmas parties and office parties,” Caudill said. Next up for his business is a gig at what’s called The Haunted Forest in Clarence for five consecutive weekends, starting next weekend.
He said business was down somewhat on Sunday, with a hit on attendance due to the Bills game, but Saturday exceeded his expectations.
Rachel Kielaszek, of 773 North, corner of Bedell Road and Grand Island Boulevard, served beef on weck soup and harvest couscous salad.
Other featured venders included Strobel’s Farmers Market of Newfane, with produce and meats; Grand Island Liquidation, 2491 Grand Island Blvd., with its tools, household goods and toys; and Farmhouse Handcrafted, with its unique offerings.
Adam Berger, 9, of Wheatfield, has fun holding a parakeet at Fall Fest, hosted by Kelly’s Country Store.
Bob Humbert, of Wolcottsville Wildlife, displays a rescued hawk.
Rachel Kielaszek, of 773 North, served beef on weck soup and harvest couscous salad.
Samantha Kane and Rich Daubney, of The Village Inn, served a selection of wines that are popular at the restaurant.
Keely Pufpaff leads Hudson Hagerty, 8, around the circuit on a pony ride.
The petting zoo by Niagara Down Under of Sanborn was a popular stop for families at the Fall Fest hosted by Kelly’s Country Store, 3121 Grand Island Blvd.
From left, Taron Williams, Gloria Bradley and Kahlynn Williams enjoy food at Fall Fest.
Kragh Marshall of Niagara Falls brings a couple of plates of food from Dirty Bird Chicken N’ Waffles to his family.
Madelynn Davis of Grand Island feeds the goats at the petting zoo at Fall Fest
Madelynn Davis and her mom, Stephanie, get acquainted with the pony that Madelynn will be riding at Fall Fest.
Kadie Maerten of Strobel Farms, Newfane, staffs the tent for owner Paul Strobel, left. Leo Gianadda, 10, enjoys corn on the cob.