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Niagara Falls News

61st Annual Niagara County Peach Festival to Open September 6th

Niagara County Peach Festival

The Kiwanis of Lewiston held a news conference today, Wednesday August 22rd at Academy Park in Lewiston to announce what’s new at the upcoming 61st annual Niagara County Peach Festival. The festival is being held on September 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th at Academy Park on Center Street in Lewiston. The first Peach Festival was held in 1958 and since then the Kiwanis of Lewiston have contributed over 1.2 million dollars in donations to area charities and organizations from Festival proceeds.

Niagara County Peach Festival Chairperson Jillian Colucci, veteran Peach Festival Advisory Chairman Jerry Wolfgang, former Peach Festival Chairman Gerry Gismondi, 5k Run Chairman Randy Gorzka, Niagara Falls Culinary Institute Division Chair Mark Mistriner and Jim Bittner of Bittner Singer Orchards addressed the media. Samples of the Peach Festival’s famous peach shortcake were then distributed by the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.

Chairperson Colucci, the first woman to be Peach Festival Chairperson, anticipates a crowd exceeding 35,000, weather permitting. Jillian Colucci also announced that the 2018 Festival will officially open at 6 PM on Thursday night September 6th. Last year the 2017 Festival held a “amusement ride preview night” on Thursday, but this year the entire Festival, including food vendors will be open for Festival attendees.

New this year on the September 6th opening night will be a meet and greet with Buffalo Bills mascot “Billy Buffalo”, Sabres mascot “Sabretooth” and the Bisons’ “Buster Bison”. All three will be available for photographs with youngsters in a designated area on the Festival grounds at Academy Park. There will also be costumed superheroes and fantasy characters positioned throughout the park for photos as well.

Another highlight and expected to draw a large crowd on the Thursday opening night will be local country favorite “90 West” taking the stage at 7 PM.

Chairperson Colucci also emphasized that the fresh peaches used for the peach shortcake are grown in Niagara County at Bittner-Singer Farms, 6620 Lake Road in Appleton. This year the Peach Festival is expected to serve more than 14,000 pounds (7 tons) of locally harvested peaches along with the fresh shortcake made by the famous local DiCamillo Bakery.

In all there will be twenty-two food vendors serving a wide variety of American and ethnic cuisine.

Amusements of America will again be the ride company at this year’s Peach Festival supplying forty-four thrill, family and kiddie rides, making it the largest midway in Niagara County. The Kiwanis of Lewiston have also hired the ride inspection team of LJM & Associates to add a third level of safety inspections to the rides at this year’s Festival. The rides are also inspected by New York state inspectors and Amusements of America.

Advance ride tickets are now on sale at forty locations throughout the Lewiston greater area at a 50% discount. The discount locations can be found on the Peach Festival web site at www.lewistonpeachfestival.org/ride-tickets.

Friday September 7th local first responders will take the stage at 5:30 PM and serve as the color guard as both the American and Canadian national anthems will be sung. A “All-star Cheer-leading Competition” will be held at 5:45 PM on stage featuring local units representing youth football and all-star cheering squads.

The morning of September 8th the 40th annual Peach Festival 5K Run will be held on a course that has now attained USATF Coarse Certification. Race Chairman Randy Gorzka announced that proceeds from the 2018 race will go to the “Eliminate Project” as part of Kiwanis International and UNICEF partnering to rid the world of maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT). The race is sponsored by Niagara’s Choice Federal Credit Union, and the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston. Entrants can register at www.racemanagementsolutions.com.

Also, on Saturday morning the Peach Festival Parade will take place on Center Street at 11 AM. This year’s parade will feature over 100 units and thirteen marching bands, an all-time high. Serving as Parade announcer once again this year will be Brandy Scrufari from Star 102.5 FM.

The peach recipe “Taste Off” competition will be held again this year sponsored by the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, the Niagara Gazette and Niagara Frontier Publications. Recipe entries can be mailed until August 29th to Barbara Walck at Niagara Country Community College, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn, NY 14132. The three categories include “Food Enthusiast”, “Culinary Student” and “Children”. Entrants can win up to $500 in prizes.

The finals for the “Taste Off” will be held at 4:30 PM on the Academy Park Stage with judges NCCC Hospitality Tourism and Culinary Arts Division Chairman Mark Mistriner, Dana DeFazio Manager of Savor restaurant and Scott Beahen Director of Food Service Operations at Niagara University.

The Peach Blossom and Peach Fuzz contests for the youngsters will again attract more than fifty contestants and will occur Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

The “Dance Showcase” featuring ten area dance companies, will take the stage Sunday September 10th from noon to 3 PM.

The finale for the Festival will take place Sunday night at 8 PM as the finals for the Peach Queen Pageant take place. This year fourteen girls from Niagara County have entered the competition for the crown of Peach Queen and the $4,000 scholarship awarded by the Kiwanis of Lewiston. The Hostess for the Peach Queen finals will be WGRZ-TV news anchor Maryalice Demler.

Live musical entertainment will perform on stage throughout the Festival featuring “Summer of 69”, “Terry Buchwald as Elvis” and “Everyday People”. “23 Skidoo” will also be roaming the field and playing in the peach shortcake tent. The full schedule of events is available at www.lewistonpeachfestival.org.

Transportation chairman Gerry Gismondi announced that there will again be free parking available to all Festival attendees at that upper Artpark lot and Greyline Tours shuttle buses will provide attendees courtesy rides from the Artpark upper lots to Academy Park.

The 2018 Niagara County Peach Festival is sponsored by the Kiwanis of Lewiston, WGRZ-TV, The Buffalo News, Star 102.5 and the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.


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