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Village of Lewiston to offer horse & carriage rides, welcome new pizza fest

by jmaloni
Fri, May 24th 2024 11:00 am

By Joshua Maloni

GM/Managing Editor

This summer, the Historical Association of Lewiston and Lewiston Museum will debut horse and carriage rides on non-festival-weekend Saturdays. Weather-permitting, this activity will be available at noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. June 8, 22, 29; July 6, 13, 27; and Aug. 3, 17.

Village of Lewiston trustees approved this new ride at their monthly meeting on Monday.

The two-horse carriage can carry nine passengers, with the ride commencing from outside of Deal Realty, 451 Center St. The recommended donation is $10 per adult and $5 for each child under age 12. Reservations can be made by calling the Lewiston Museum at 716-754-4214.

Volunteer project organizer Lee Simonson said, “We want to start in front of Tom Deal’s place and then go down Niagara, Seneca, up South Forth, then maybe down Plain again, stop for 20 minutes, give people a tour of the museum, and then back down to Cayuga, up South Third and back. We think it'll end up being about 40-45 minutes.”

Mayor Anne Welch asked Simonson if the Department of Transportation had given its approval, as Center Street is a state roadway.

“I had done a lot of research on this and, because this is not a procession, it's not a parade, it doesn't involve a festival, and it doesn't involve shutting the street down,” Simonson said it’s his understanding DOT is OK with the rides.

Welch said, “My one concern is the traffic on Center Street, especially in the summer. It's not the side streets so much, but it's Center Street traffic. Going to those parkway meetings, (I’ve learned) we get like 20,000 cars on Center Street. It’s a lot.”

Simonson offered, “We’re concerned about safety, too. … If we do find that the traffic on Center Street is a problem, we'll just shift them over to probably Niagara Street, and maybe have the people get on and off at the museum. We'll just see what happens.”

He added, “We're very interested in complying with anything. So, we'll do whatever we have to do to make this work.”

Summer brings vintage carriage rides to Lewiston. The horse-drawn carriage, owned and operated by Scott Armison of Cattaraugus County, can be seen here in Ohio where it was recently restored. It was transported back to Western New York last week and will be used to offer carriage rides in the Village of Lewiston this summer on non-festival Saturdays. Reservations are encouraged by calling the Lewiston Museum at 716-754-4214. (Photo courtesy of Lee Simonson)


Scott Armison of Cattaraugus County owns the horses and operates the carriage.

His steeds will be brought to Lewiston on ride days; they will wear a mud bag to collect their droppings; horses will then return home after the rides end.

Trustee Dan Gibson said, “I think it’s a great idea.”

Following the meeting, Simonson said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for residents and visitors alike to familiarize themselves with all that Lewiston has to offer. It's simply another way for Lewiston to boost its reputation and status as a premiere destination and one of the best small towns in America.”

Volunteers are sought, particularly to serve as noontime museum greeters. Contact HAL at [email protected] or by calling 716-754-4214.

Simonson was asked to provide trustees with a progress report in July.

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SliceFest to showcase pizza purveyors, raise funds for youth sports

The Village Board also approved a facilities use request from Bashar Srouji and Ray Barry for use of Academy Park and the Alphonso I. DiMino Memorial Band Shell to host SliceFest, a pizza festival to be held from 2-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.

Per the organizers’ submission, “This event will have local artisan and merch vendors, beer/wine/seltzer tent, and live local music, a kids area for building their own mini pizzas, dough-tossing contest, face-painting, henna tattoos and more. This event will raise money for the Lew-Port Youth Football and Cheer and Wrestling programs.”

Alcohol service will be confined to a tented area.

Srouji runs Ghada Have It Mediterranean Home Cooking restaurant on Military Road in Niagara Falls. Barry is a musician and festival promoter who has staged several events in Youngstown.

On Tuesday, Barry added, “Bashar and I have been friends for a while. We've done a couple of different things together, and he approached me about this; had the idea for it.”

“The big thing is we're trying to get as many local pizzerias involved as possible,” Barry said. “The idea is just like it sounds: ‘SliceFest.’ Let's get all the pizzerias together. Let everybody try everything. Promote local pizzerias.”

He noted SliceFest will be “a day of pizza, music, drinks, games, fun, vendors, just an all-around sort of family-friendly, good-time event. … We're making this event totally free to the public. We want a bunch of people to come and have fun.

“The best part is part of the event is dedicated to raising funds for Lew Port youth sports. I'm involved with Lew-Port youth football. I'm on the board for that and I'm a coach, and Bashar is also a wrestling coach. So, part of our initiative here is to raise funds for Lew-Port youth football and wrestling. That's going to be kind of rolled into this event as well.”

“Pizza is a loving treat that everyone can celebrate together,” Srouji said Thursday. He called SliceFest an “opportunity to bring a wonderful event to my hometown Village of Lewiston.”

Srouji added, “This event is open to all walks of life – no matter where you're from, you do not have to live in Lewiston to attend this event. We are inviting any and all pizzerias in WNY to come out and battle for the best slice at SliceFest. This will be a full-on pizza competition for traditional cheese, cheese and pepp, and specialty pizza.”

He explained, “At the end of the day, this is a communal event that's bringing together local businesses, vendors, bands – and is also a fundraiser for local youth sports – in particular, football, wrestling and cheer. 

“Being an alumni of the local school district, and a practitioner of wrestling, especially, the club I have the honor of owning today that I've participated in since the age of 4 is truly a dream within itself.

“Recently, many school districts have done extensive budget cuts, one impacting all sports in its entirety. One small example is the funding for assistant coaches went completely out the window. Being a three-star varsity athlete, state and national competitor for the school district, I can tell you firsthand, if it wasn’t for assistant coaches, I would not have made it as far as I did in my career. 

“Myself, and my partners on this board, all see the value in giving back to the youth program, which will also trickle up to the varsity programs. (The) end result will pave the way for these kids to maximize their potential in the college and higher-up athletic levels.”

Flag retirement ceremony

Boy Scout Alex Vanderlip will hold a flag retirement ceremony near the “Circle of Honor” veterans memorial in Academy Park at 7 p.m. Sunday. Flags have been collected in a box he donated that is stationed outside of the Red Brick Municipal Building.

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