By Deb Everts
The 30th Annual Western New York Dairy/Agricultural Festival is coming to Springville June 7-9, bringing family-friendly fun for all to enjoy.
The festival will take place, rain or shine, at Springville-Griffith Institute High School, 290 North Buffalo St. The event celebrates the dairy industry and the role of agriculture in people’s daily lives.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating WNY Dairy/Ag Festival’s 30th Anniversary.”
Some of the highlights will include the crowning of the Erie County Dairy Princess and ambassador, a presentation of Western New York Dairy of Distinction awards and a Future Farmers of America (FFA) Sponsored Ice Cream Eating Contest.
The 2018-19 Dairy Princess Corrine Brown will have a stand set up with Upstate Farm’s Intense Milk and be in attendance all weekend.
Other features and attractions include a parade on Saturday at 10 a.m., an arts and crafts show with 30 or more craft vendors, new and antique farm equipment displays, farm activities for kids and Animal Farm Zoo, amusement rides for all ages, live music and a food court.
Other events in the planning include a fireworks display on Friday and Saturday evening, and the possible addition of a new vendor, Dodge Heavy Truck Tour Northeast.
Pastor Kevin Friedman, who is organizing the event, said the committee started preparing for the event in October. According to Friedman, things are going well, in general, and they have only a short “to do” list left.
“We got into things early on and we have a very good executive committee. Each member has taken their little area and gone with it,” he said. “For example, we have a fellow in charge of the music tent who is very much in the music business. He’s a veteran who really knows the music in the area and was able to line up the music tent pretty quickly.”
There will be live entertainment at the music tent until 10 p.m. all weekend. The Friday lineup currently includes Gene Hilts and The Rustic Ramblers as well as Ozone Rangers. Saturday entertainers include Down Home Country Cloggers and Bill Coca and the Springville Jazz Band. Sunday’s music will include Ken Cornell and The Country Poor Boys, Back woods Country Cloggers and Dave Tucker with Nip-N-Tuck.
The committee is currently trying to build a parade. Friedman said the biggest challenge they are facing right now is getting people to sign up for the parade. Friedman said they are looking for any groups, organizations, churches, fire companies, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Little League teams — anybody that wants to get their group together to join the parade.
“So far, we have only a small group that has signed up,” he said. “Spectators like to see a nice parade, and we want to put on a nice parade.”
According to Friedman, the event has been held at Springville-Griffith Institute High School for three previous years, but it was not held at all last year due to grounds construction at the school.
“We couldn’t find a place large enough to hold our event last year,” he said. “The grounds at Springville-Griffith are very well-kept and very nice. We have the use of the grass fields now when we used to be on dirt, which was kind of annoying to some folks.”
The committee is in search of volunteers to help with the 2019 Dairy Festival. Friedman said they are very much in need of volunteers that want to come in and do something.
“We had a few people expressing an interest in volunteering and we had a meeting in February, but nobody showed up,” he said. “So, whatever folks want to do, it’s wide open. We’ll take help anyway people want to help us out.
“A lot of times, people who volunteer have an idea of something they’d like to see there or do for the festival,” Friedman continued. “That adds extra pizzazz to a festival. It’s people who come in to volunteer that bring fresh ideas, fresh energy and that’s a great thing.”
The festival brings in not only brings in the locals but also outsiders to town, something that’s good for Springville, Friedman said. He said it gives people a chance to see what’s going on in Springville and to check out some of the local businesses.
“The more the community gets involved in the dairy festival, the more they show themselves off,” he said. “The vendors and the little shops in town will have a great variety of things to offer, so it’s also an opportunity for them.
“We wish to thank our sponsors listed on our website because this event is completely funded by them,” he added. “Without our sponsors, we wouldn’t have a Dairy Festival.”
Festival hours will be Friday evening from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The parade starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
For updated information on featured attractions and events, check online at wnydairyagfest.com.