Event coordinated by GCC, volunteers returns Sept. 8-17
File photos by Tom Rivers: Last year’s debut Orleans County Heritage Festival including a timeline event at GCC’s Medina campus, which included re-enactors. impressionists and displays covering decades and centuries of American history. Ed Brodbeck, left, of Cheektowaga is Gen. Ulysses Grant. Jay Black, right, of Batavia portrays a provost marshal during the Civil War. Black brought along a collection of weapons that were used in the Civil War for people to look over.
The Orleans County Heritage Festival will return in September, and this time, instead of one activity-packed weekend, the festival will be spread out over 10 days, from Sept. 8-17.
“People felt overwhelmed with the choices available,” said Derek Maxfield, GCC associate professor of history and a festival organizer. “Instead of a couple days we’re going to have two weekends book-ending the whole festival.”
Last year’s county-wide celebration of historically and culturally significant locations involved 29 sites including special programming at GCC’s Albion and Medina campus centers. Maxfield said about 500 people attended, and they received a collectible button and ribbon.
GCC’s Albion campus will host events the first weekend, with the action shifting to the Medina campus the second weekend for a timeline festival. The timeline festival will include re-enactors, impressionists and artisans.
Local historic sites will be highlighted during the weekdays with an afternoon and evening event, Maxfield said.
“We’re going to be spotlighting one at a time,” he said. “We’re still in the early stages of planning.”
The debut festival highlighted historic cemeteries, farms, homes and other historic gems.
The new themes for this year include the following:
- Erie Canal – locations associated with the historic canal to celebrate the bicentennial of this extraordinary 19th century transportation system;
- Military – locations associated with the military history of Orleans County ranging from the French and Indian Wars through 20th Century Wars with special emphasis on the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I;
- Cobblestone & Sandstone – locations associated with the substantial use of cobblestone and/or sandstone in the historic architecture;
- Legends and Lore, Spirits and Supernatural – locations associated with a history of spirits, supernatural and/or ghost activities.
Lynne Menz, the Orleans County Tourism Marketing Manager, is excited about what the expansion of time will mean for visitors.
“In addition to being very pleased with the events and programs held in each location last year, almost all visitors wished they could have made it to more locations during the 3-day weekend,” Menz said. “This new 10-day format will allow people to experience a much wider range of events without having to force people to choose between events held at the same time but in different locations.”
Sam Maryjanowski of Medina, front, and Steven Burley of Barker are dressed as German soldiers from World War I during the Heritage Festival on Sept. 10, 2016.
Another first for this year is that the Heritage Festival is being organized by a board of directors.
“We had great cooperation from many community volunteers as well as GCC faculty, staff and students for the first heritage festival,” said Jim Simon, GCC associate dean. “But we realized that a more organized leadership structure would allow for the festival to provide even more to the community.”
The Board of Directors includes Derek Maxfield, Lynne Menz, Tracy Ford, Matt Ballard, Erin Anheier, Al Capurso, Cindy Robinson and Jim Simon.
Any locations or presenters interested in participating in the Second Annual Orleans County Heritage Festival should submit an application to Jim Simon, GCC Medina Campus Center, 11470 Maple Ridge Rd, Medina, NY 14103. Application forms can be found at the Heritage Festival website at www.orleansnyheritage.com. Applications are due by March 20, 2017.
For more information please contact Jim Simon, associate dean of GCC’s Orleans County Campus Centers at (585)798-1688, ext. 4191 email@example.com, or Donna Rae Sutherland, associate director of Marketing Communications at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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