Month: December 2020

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Posted 10 June 2021 at 7:00 am

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Governor signs legislation designating baseball as official sport of NY

Posted 30 July 2021 at 12:44 pm

File photo: Liam Leader of the St. Mary’s youth baseball team holds up a baseball he retrieved on June 27, 2019 from the weeds in the outfield at Sandstone Park in Albion. One of his teammates, Mason Giattino (who is behind Liam), hit a long home run earlier in the game. Liam gave it to Mason as a souvenir.

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.5363/A.5156) designating baseball as the official sport of the state of New York. This bill was proposed by a Cooperstown Elementary School 4th grade class. Cooperstown is the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame and is believed to be the birthplace of the sport.

“Growing up a Queens boy, a love of baseball was instilled at an early age. From the ’69 and ’86 Amazin’ Mets to 27 world championships by the Yankees and even having been the home of the Dodgers with Jackie Robinson and the Giants, New York is steeped in an expansive and diverse past with our great national past time,” Governor Cuomo said. “The fervor of the sport is as reflective of our great state as a sport can be, bringing together diverse crowds for the love of the game. New York is the birthplace of baseball and I’m proud to finally make it our official state sport.”

Not only is New York home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown where Abner Doubleday is said to have created the sport, it has been home to four of the most popular franchises in the sport – the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, as well as the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers which moved to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, in 1957.

Despite the loss of the Giants and Dodgers, no other state has been home to more World Series titles than New York, with the Yankees winning 27 (1923, ’27, ’28, ’32, ’36, ’37, ’38, ’39, ’41, ’43, ’47, ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ’56, ’58, ’61, ’62, ’77, ’78, ’96, ’98, ’99, 2000, ’09), and the Mets winning two (1969, ’86),  along with the Giants winning five (1905, ’21, ’22, ’33, ’54) and the Dodgers winning one (1955) prior to their moves to the west coast. The Yankees were also ranked by Forbes in 2021 as being the world’s second-most valuable professional sports franchise, with an estimated value of $5.25 billion.

These teams also have a large presence in the Hall of Fame itself – 59 of the 333 Hall of Famers all primarily played for New York teams. Additionally, while they did not necessarily play for New York-based teams, 33 of the 333 inductees were born in the Empire State.

As the state sport, baseball joins a list of New York State symbols which includes milk as the state beverage, apple as the state fruit, the snapping turtle as the state reptile and yogurt as the state snack.

Senator Peter Oberacker said, “Baseball is known as our national past time, but the game has deep roots and a rich history here in New York State. Fans from around the globe flock to Cooperstown, in my senate district, to celebrate the game at the storied National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and we have teams of all levels – the Mets and Yankees, countless college, high school, and Little League teams – proving that New York State’s connection to baseball is undeniable. My special thanks to Anne Reis and her students at Cooperstown Elementary who researched the impact of baseball on our state and developed the idea for this legislation. As a former high school and college player, I learned great life lessons on the baseball diamond and those same messages of teamwork, tradition, and dedication are still being taught today. Formally recognizing baseball as New York’s official state sport is a homerun.”

Assembly Member Michael Benedetto said, “Baseball is the perfect sport to represent New York. It emphasizes teamwork and sacrifice, two principle concepts that are important during a child’s development. Everyone pulling together for the team, in essence, is a metaphor for real life – everyone working together as one, for the betterment of the community.”

Karaoke singers provide lots of entertainment during fair

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kaleigh Barsell, 16, of Churchville (left) sings “Never Enough” during the karaoke finals on Thursday at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. She came in second and won $250. Riley Seielstad of Albion sings “Walking on Sunshine.” She finished third in the competition, and won $125. There were 15 singers who qualified for the finals on Thursday.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 July 2021 at 11:15 am

KNOWLESVILLE – The karaoke finals again proved a big crowd magnet at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. There were about 300 to 400 people who watched the event, plus many more who stayed for portions of the competition.

The top five singers from qualifying rounds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday advanced to Thursday’s finale.

Tyler Thomas, 28, of Medina won first prize and $500 for his performance of “Blue Suede Shoes.” Thomas, a professional deejay, entertained the crowd with his dancing, singing and exuberance to the famous song by Elvis Presley. Thomas even performed a back flip during his routine.

Thomas said he grew up an Elvis fan, listening to the music with his grandfather. On Monday, Thomas sang karaoke for the first time in public.

“I just wanted to make people smile,” he said. “At this time in my life, the point is not to judge a book by its cover. We should live, laugh and love.”

Samuel Robinson, left, of Albion was a crowd favorite with his performance of “Rock The Dance Floor.” He was fifth and won $50. William Grimble of Albion was fourth overall and won $75 for his performance of “The Downeaster ‘Alexa’” which was made famous by Billy Joel.

Susan Kehal of Batavia sings “Me And Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin. Kehal works as a nurse during her professional career. She also enjoys singing. She has been performing since she was 13.

“Anywhere there is music, I want to be there,” she said. “Music it heals just like with nursing.”

She liked the vibe among the performers and the crowd at the karaoke competition. She said it was very supportive and encouraging.

“I love to see people up on stage,” Kehal said. “They’re so brave to get up there.”

Melissa Shiels (left), a Hilton native who now lives in Ireland, performs “Satisfied” from the Hamilton musical. Layna Viloria, 19, of Medina sings “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac.

Viloria has been performing karaoke at the fair since she was 9. “It brings everybody together,” she said about the event.

Rich Nolan, who has twice won the karaoke competition in the past, provided a warmup for the crowd, singing Luke Bryan’s “Country Girl (Shake It For Me).”

Tiffany Poynter (left), 21, of Medina sings “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman. Brilyn Rebisz, 16, of Bergen sings “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. Brilyn also is a 4-Her showing animals in the livestock events.

Lyndonville Lions Club thanks community for fireworks donations

Posted 30 July 2021 at 10:52 am


The Lyndonville Lions Club held its 46th Annual Independence Day Celebration on Sunday, July 4th. The fireworks display, which culminated the festivities, has become one of the largest shows in all of Western New York.

This display each year is by far the greatest expense for the Lions Club on this day.  It is only due to the response and support of area businesses, organizations and the general public that a show of this magnitude is possible.

I would like to extend a sincere thank you to each of the over 40 businesses and organizations that made donations toward this year’s show. In addition, thanks to all those people who gave donations, who placed money in our Independence Day Firecracker Cans and who dropped money in the firecracker barrels on the school grounds.

After having to cancel last year’s celebration, this year’s celebration/display was a huge step in returning to “normal.”

Again, without the tremendous community-minded support of each and every one of you, a display such as this would not be possible. With your continued support, I hope that displays like this may continue for many years to come.

Wes Bradley

Lyndonville Lions Club

4th of July Fireworks Fundraising Chairman

Deadline nears for Erie Canal photo contest

Provided photo: This photo by Suzanne Grosz shows a boat and guard gate on Erie Canal near Clay.

Posted 30 July 2021 at 10:14 am

Press Release, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

WATERFORD – Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is calling for entries for its 15th annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest.

Images should convey the unique character of New York’s canals and canal communities. Entries must be postmarked by August 27, 2021. Winning photos will be featured in the 2022 Erie Canalway calendar.

Images will be judged in four contest categories: On the Water, Along the Trail, Canal Communities, and Classic Canal. Judges will select first, second, and third place winning images in each category, as well as 12 honorable mentions. Images must be landscape (horizontal) format.

Submitted images must be taken within the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, which spans 524 miles across the full expanse of upstate New York. It encompasses the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego, and Champlain canals and their historic alignments, as well as more than 230 canal communities.

Download official contest rules and an entry form by clicking here.

Jacobs: people traveling can expect some delays with processing passports

Posted 30 July 2021 at 10:07 am

Press Release, Congressman Chris Jacobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is sharing important passport information for individuals seeking to schedule emergency appointments.

“With many Americans eager to travel again and applying to renew their passports, the State Department is experiencing large delays in processing and approving applications,” Jacobs said. “Firstly, if you are planning on traveling in the next eight months you should take care of the appropriate paperwork now.”

New updates have been made to the way individuals can schedule emergency appointments. Now, the only way individuals can make these appointments is by calling the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) at 1-877-487-2778 (TDD/TTY) 1-888-874-7793 from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM EST, Monday through Friday.

Appointments cannot be transferred, and applicants may only schedule one if they are traveling within two weeks, or within four weeks if a foreign visa is needed. Appointments will only be scheduled within three business days of travel, or 10 days if a visa is required – proof of travel within the time will be required when arriving at the appointment.

“If you are experiencing passport delays, this can be a valuable resource to ensure your passport is squared away before you travel,” Jacobs said. “In addition, my office is available to help with any additional questions concerning passports or other federal agencies.”

In addition, in response to these reported delays, Rep. Jacobs has also asked the State Department to take additional steps to address the processing backlog. You can view the text of that letter here. For additional questions concerning passports or federal agencies, Jacobs’ Geneseo District Office can be reached at 585-519-4002.

Albion Raptors post shutout over Livonia

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 30 July 2021 at 8:51 am

A big first half scoring surge powered the Albion Raptors to a 5-0 victory over host Livonia Thursday in a Rochester District Youth Soccer League girls U19 Division game.

The Raptors took control early by erupting for four goals in the decisive first half.

Abby Scanlan opened the scoring with a goal off an assist from Halee Passarell who then also assisted on a goal by Nikki Creasey.

Scanlan completed her three goal hat-trick before the half was over as she scored first off an assist from Alezya Brown and then from Aly Knaak.

Olivia Krenning scored in the second half for the Raptors off an assist from Creasey.

Sydney Mulka earned the shutout in goal.

Improving to 7-1, the Raptors will finish out the season by hosting Livonia on Tuesday and front-running Penfield (7-0-1) on Wednesday.

Today’s Fair Schedule (Friday, July 30, 2021)

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 July 2021 at 8:36 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Everett Bruning, 6, of Barre competes in the small-fry tractor pull on Thursday.

Daily Feature: United States National Guard and US Air Force interactive exhibits.

Party Animals Exotic Animal Petting Zoo – All Day

8 a.m. – Western and Ranch Horse Show at Carlos Marcello Arena

8 a.m. – Senior Council Stand Opens

10 a.m. – Dog Show Agility and fun classes at Knights Building

Ryan Klatt of the Brick Band gave a high-energy performance on Thursday at the Orleans Hub Stage at the fairgrounds.

10 a.m. – All Buildings Open

10 a.m. – Grand Master Showman Workshop at starting in Show Arena

12 p.m. – Paid admission begins and free public parking opens at the Wood Road and Taylor Hill Road lots. (Admission is $3 for people 12 and older and $1 for 11 and under.) Buildings open to the public.

12 p.m. to 10 p.m. – Synchronistic Psychic Services with free Rune Readings at Lartz Building

12 p.m. to 6 p.m. – WNY PRISM, invasive species experts, at Lartz Building

12 p.m. to 8 p.m. – United States Border Patrol with children’s interactive activities

The giant inflatable doughboy is a silhouette on Thursday as the sun sets.

1 p.m. – Goat Education Competitions (goat bowl, judging, obstacles) at Goat Barn/Show arena

1 p.m. – 4-H Cake decorating contest (for rules contact office) at Orleans Hub Stage

3 to 10 p.m. – Main Event Amusements, $20 Unlimited Ride Wristband, at Midway

4 p.m. – Royalty Questionnaires dueat Fair Office

4 p.m. – Cow Plop Bingo at Knights Building

4:30 p.m. – Chainsaw Carving at Log Cabin Lawn

Leo Mathes, 8, and his sister Shania, 13, of Barre show sheep during Thursday’s Sheep Show. Shania won the master showman title during the event.

5 p.m. – Indian River Olde Time Lumberjack Show at Curtis Pavilion Lawn

5:30 p.m. – Classic Car Cruise-In at Education Center Lot

6 p.m. – Registration ends for Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull at Fair Office

6 p.m. – Large Animal Grand Master Showman at Livestock Areas

6 to 7 p.m. – Ag stories with Orleans County Libraries (Yates Community Library) at Cattle Barn

6:30 p.m. – Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull at JCH of Buffalo Tent

This group of volunteers for the Cooperative Extension took a break from serving chicken barbecue dinners and did the “Electric Slide” dance during the Brick Band concert. The Extension served 1,000 dinners on Thursday.

7 to 10 p.m. – Live Music: Jonsie and the Cruisers Classic Rock at Orleans Hub Stage

6:30 p.m. – Chainsaw Carving at Log Cabin Lawn

7 p.m. – Indian River Olde Time Lumberjack Show at Curtis Pavilion Lawn

8:30 p.m. – Chainsaw Carving at Log Cabin Lawn

This sheep was led in the show ring on Thursday by Adele Mathes, 10, of Barre.

9 p.m. – Indian River Olde Time Lumberjack Show at Curtis Pavilion Lawn

10 p.m. – Buildings Close

10 p.m. – Fireworks Show (Rain Date Saturday at 10 p.m.)

10:30 p.m. – Hay Bale Rolling Contest, Teams of 1-2 ages 16 and up. Register at the fair office by 9:50 p.m. Adjacent the Carlos Marcello Horse Arena

Mckenna Richardson, 6, of Barre has fun competing in the small-fry tractor pull on Thursday.

Recalling the 1981 Mini All-Star contest

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 29 July 2021 at 3:41 pm

Contributed Photos – AMERICAN ALL-STARS – All-Star games have long been a highlight of local youth baseball league seasons. Shown here from just 40 years ago are the American and National Division teams from the 1981 Medina Mini League All-Star game which was won by the American squad 11-3. The American All-Stars lineup included, in front, Cliff Carpenter, Jeff Webster, Scott Edwards, Shannon Parker, Jeff Stockwell, Dan O’Brien, Vernon Wingfield, Jeff Boring, Joe Fuller and R.J. Morgan. In the middle row are Mike Maak, Jim Ambrose, Jason Bensley, Tobert Studi, Richie Beyer, Chris Carpenter, Jimmy Viza, Mike Farman and Ted Wade. In back are coaches Don Bensley, Dave Webster, Dave Green and Marvin Wingfield.

NATIONAL ALL-STARS – In front are Brett Decker, Chuck Scharping, Mike Higgins, Jerry Solazzo, Todd Hughes, Scott Bieliski, Paul Valley, Ken Dunn, Brian Fry, Steve Maier and George Martinez. In back are Coach Fats Piedmont, Scott Lembke, Coach Tom Valley, Ken Snyder, Jim Snyder, Bill Mengel, Mike Carey, Scott Dennis, Chris Creasey, Pete Igoe, Mark Prawel and Coach Larry Decker.

Orleans to add 137 acres to agricultural district

Photos by Tom Rivers: Some crows rest on bales of straw in a field on Culvert Road near Route 31 in Ridgeway. This phot was taking while it was raining on July 17.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 July 2021 at 3:22 pm

ALBION – Orleans County is looking to increase the size of its agricultural district by 137 acres. There is currently about 117,000 acres in the ag district, which represents 47 percent of the county’s land mass.

Each year, property owners have an opportunity to add land to the district. Once every eight years, property owners have a chance to remove land from the district. The next change to take out acreage will be in 2024.

The County Legislature on Wednesday held a public hearing on additions to the ag district. The following parcels have been recommended for inclusion in the district by the Orleans County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board:

  • 36 acres of vacant residential land at 4552 Bennetts Corners Rd., Clarendon
  • 25.88 acres of vacant agricultural land on Main Street in the Town of Murray
  • 20.13 acres of residential and vacant land at Eagle Harbor-West Barre Road in Albion
  • 9.98 acres of field crops at 1614 Petersmith Rd. in Kendall
  • 24.66 acres of a rural residence and acreage at 1614 Petersmith Rd. in Kendall
  • 20.65 acres of residential vacant land at 1051 Wilson Rd. in Carlton

The expanded ag district needs a final vote of approval from the County Legislature, as well as the state Department of Agricultural and Markets.

The bales of straw are spread out in the field by Route 31 in Ridgeway near Culvert Road.

Medina man charged in Cambria accident that took down power lines, setting field on fire

Photos from Niagara County Sheriff’s Office: A farm field was partially on fire from downed power lines on Wednesday in the Town of Cambria.

Staff Reports Posted 29 July 2021 at 2:15 pm

This vehicle driven by David M. Acito came to rest on its roof.

CAMBRIA – A Medina man was charged after an accident in Niagara County where the driver struck and severed a utility pole, causing the damaged power lines to come down and start a fire in a farm field, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office reported.

David M. Acito, 32, wasn’t injured in the accident. Niagara County Sheriff’s Office were called at 6 p.m. on Wednesday for report of a motor vehicle accident near the intersection of Saunders

Settlement and Comstock roads. Initial reports stated that the vehicle had overturned and that live electrical transmission lines were beginning a ground fire.

Deputies responded to the scene and found a 2014 Ford resting on its roof in the farmer’s field southeast of the intersection. A ground fire had also started the adjacent farm field on fire.

Investigation at the scene revealed that the Ford was east bound on Saunders Settlement Road when it exited the roadway off the south edge. The vehicle traveled into and through the ditch before striking a utility pole just west of the intersection, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

The vehicle severed the pole off at the ground level causing the damaged power lines to come down and start the fire. The vehicle continued east bound, crossed over Comstock Road and came to rest in the field on its roof.

The fire was brought under control and was extinguished by members of the Cambria Volunteer Fire Company and the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station Fire Department.

Acito failed subsequent field sobriety tests and was charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle and several other violations of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. Acito was remanded to the Niagara County Jail where he will be arraigned today on the charges in Central Processing Court, the Sheriff’s Office stated in a press release.

NY launches $35 million return-to-work tax credit program for restaurants

Posted 29 July 2021 at 1:42 pm

State will provide financial relief to restaurants that rapidly hire workers

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of New York State’s $35 million Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit program, designed to help expand employment opportunities for workers and provide relief to Covid-impacted restaurants.

Created as part of the New York State FY 2022 Budget, the program offers a tax credit for the rapid hiring of restaurant workers to reduce the restaurant industry’s pandemic-induced economic difficulties. Qualifying restaurants could receive a $5,000 tax credit per net new hire, totaling up to $50,000 in tax credits per business.

“New York’s restaurants are not only the best in the world, they are vital to the state’s economy, employing thousands of people and showcasing cuisines that reflect our great diversity,” Cuomo said. “Restaurants also serve as an entrepreneurial outlet and are often families’ gateways to the American Dream.”

The Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit is available to small, independently-owned restaurants in New York City, or in areas that were designated as an Orange Zone or Red Zone for at least 30 consecutive days by the New York State Department of Health during the state of emergency related to COVID-19. Eligible restaurants will need to demonstrate COVID-related losses and show proof of hiring at least one full-time worker at the restaurant.

Recognizing the need for restaurants to receive this assistance quickly in the economic wake of COVID-19, a “Fast Track” option will allow restaurants to claim the tax credit as an advance payment ahead of filing their 2021 tax returns. Under this option, restaurants will be evaluated based on their net new job growth during a truncated period, from April 1 to August 31, 2021.

More information on the program, including the application and details about the Fast Track option, is available by clicking here.

Empire State Development Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis said, “New York’s restaurants were among the most affected industries during the Covid-19 pandemic, and this program will provide relief to businesses in the hardest hit parts of the state. Through the Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit, the state can help get restaurant workers back into jobs while supporting the small businesses so integral to the fabric of communities across New York State.”

“The restaurant industry was among the hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, as public health and safety concerns restricted many of its service operations,” Cuomo said. “With the state’s Covid-19 restrictions lifted, restaurants opening to full capacity, and tables filling up, this will support the much-needed hiring of workers by these establishments to meet their increased demand.”

The Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit Program is part of a comprehensive package of economic recovery initiatives announced in April as part of the FY2022 Budget to help restart the State’s economy and support the recovery of New York’s businesses. The $1 billion package includes assistance and relief for arts and cultural organizations, the tourism industry, restaurants, and the state’s small businesses, which represent 98% of all New York State businesses.

Empire State Development launched, a dedicated website featuring an interactive tool that can guide businesses through the state’s various pandemic recovery programs. The site also highlights additional resources available to support businesses seeking pandemic relief. It will be continuously updated by Empire State Development as more details and funding information become available.

Historian’s column: Grassbed fishing was short-lived phenomenon on Lake Ontario

Photo by Tom Rivers: A boat is on Lake Ontario during sunset on Aug. 4, 2019 near Barker.

Posted 29 July 2021 at 11:47 am

“Illuminating Orleans” – Vol. 1, No. 18

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Summer bonfire conversations by the lake are apt to spark memories and stories.

On a recent occasion, a senior family member referenced, “Mom and my aunts going out fishing on the grassbeds,” a statement which generated much discussion since the concept of “grassbeds” on Lake Ontario was new to this generation.

It appears that, in terms of lake history, this was a short-lived phenomenon and occurred between the 1900s and 1940s. Grassbeds were patches of aquatic vegetation which looked like underwater meadows with some plants that appeared to be floating on the surface. They were found near or directly offshore of some creeks, and were sometimes tricky to locate. On calm, clear days, people would row out to these areas and fish for perch, which, when pan-fried, provided a tasty supper.

Lysbeth Hoffman, the late Town of Carlton historian, referenced this topic in the Orleans County Historical Association Chronicle, 1987. She mentioned that in 1985, the Biology/Sea Grant Department of SUNY Brockport researched the demise of the grassbeds and concluded that the decline of these aquatic meadows was caused by powerful lake storms, or changes in phosphate levels, or the construction of sewage treatment facilities.

The results of changes in the lake’s ecology are often evident onshore. People recall the thousands of dead whitefish or “shiners” washed up on the beach during the 1980s. Even the weather can cause shoreline woes: layers of green algae commonly form following the combination of a warm winter, an early spring and then a scorching drought. Of course, the water levels, whether lower or higher cause dramatic shoreline changes.

We can but hope that future generations gathered at lakeside bonfires will recall the washed-up fish, the smelly crusty algae, the high waters, rocks being piled up on the shoreline as these memories, similar to the now almost forgotten grassbeds, become part of lake folklore and enrich our local history.

Hay bale rolling contest proves a challenge

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 July 2021 at 10:37 am

Event caps busy day at fair, but crowd misses grease pole

Photos by Tom Rivers: Nadine Valentine of Albion, left, and Alwyn Cayea of Medina made up the team “Respect.” They were the first team to complete the hay bale rolling challenge and did it in 4 minutes, 21.79 seconds. Jeremy Neal, event chairman, is at right.

KNOWLESVILLE – It’s no grease pole, but a hay bale rolling competition proved a difficult challenge to cap a full day’s schedule at the Orleans County 4-H Fair.

The grease pole was a popular event at the fair from 1971 until 2019. There wasn’t a fair last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The insurance provider for the fair this year decided it wouldn’t continue covering the grease pole event, deeming it too dangerous to have people climb a utility pole slathered in grease.

A gravestone was set at the base of the grease pole. Jeremy Neal had the marker made to pay tribute to the event’s popularity and also to show that it is over and the fair will be starting a new tradition with the hay bale rolling.

Jeremy Neal, the event chairman, still wanted a somewhat silly event open to community members to cap off the schedule. He devised an oval-shaped course around the grease pole, making ditches, and putting down thick poles. Teams of two would have to push a 700-pound hay bale through the course, rolling it on the longer lanes  and have to flip it end over end in two segments of the course. If teams pushed the hay bale outside the lane boundaries, they would be assessed a 10-second violation.

The crowd for the opening night of the hay bale rolling contest was much smaller than for the grease pole and they didn’t scream in passionate support for the teams. It was also harder to see the action for the crowd, because the competition was on the ground and not up high.

Neal deemed the contest a success. It still drew a lot of people and provided some one-of-a-kind entertainment.

“It’s not as good as the grease pole but we’ll deal with it,” Neal said.

He asked why he thought the grease pole was so popular: “Grease,” he responded.

Jeremy Neal, event chairman, and announcer Riley Seielstad observe a moment of silence for the grease pole, which was a big attraction to cap off each night at the fair until the insurance company deemed it too dangerous.

Aeddon Cayea, right, and Conner Miller of Medina got the 700-pound hay bale through the course in 2 minutes, 1.14 seconds, plus a 20-second violation. Here they are near the finish, with the last stretch requiring the bale to be pushed end over end, instead of rolling it. They were one of five teams in the competition on Wednesday night. It continues today and Friday night, with the winners from each day making it to the finals on Saturday night.

Alden Cayea and Christian Hahn of Medina formed the Rollie Boyz and pushed the hay bale through the course in 1:24.81, plus a 10-second violation.

Jeremy Moyer and David Armer of Albion, members of DP Dubs, won the opening night of the challenge, getting the hay bale through the course in a time of 1 minute, 20.48 seconds with no violations. They advance to the finals on Saturday night.

Joe Ambs (right) and Zach Chapman, The Ride Guys, both work for the midway provider at the fair, Main Event Amusements. They completed the challenge in 2 minutes, 14.94 seconds, plus a 10-second violation.

Ambs was on a team that attempted to climb the grease pole. He admitted the grease pole can’t be replaced. But he said the hay bale rolling was a more demanding challenge physically.

“I’m a physical fitness trainer and this put me into the ground,” he said.

He said the task takes leg, core and arm strength – “all your body,” he said.

He appreciates that the Orleans County 4-H Fair has contests open to the community, including the midway workers.

“This is the best fun I’ve had in the past five months,” he said.

Before the competition, Arian Cayea and Ben Griffin of Medina did a demonstration, showing the crowd and other participants how the event would like, with the hay bale needing to go through a winding path, ditches and poles. The bale is roll on the two lanes, and needed to be flipped end over end in two spots.

Arian, 17, said the key is to keep the momentum going with the hay bale. He and Ben, 16, have been working at the fair this week, collecting the admission fees, which are $2 for kids and $3 for adults with no parking fee. A week-long pass is available for $5.

Today’s Fair Schedule (Thursday, July 29, 2021)

Photos by Tom Rivers: The midway was a popular place on Wednesday night at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. Fair officials said it was the busiest Wednesday they could recall at the fair, with some cars needing to park along Wood Road because the parking lots were full.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 July 2021 at 8:39 am

Party Animals Exotic Animal Petting Zoo – All Day

8 a.m. – Western Dressage Horse Show at Carlos Marcello Arena

9 a.m. – Senior Council Stand Opens

9 a.m. – Llama and Alpaca Show at Show Arena

10 a.m. – Wildlife I.D. Contest at Log Cabin

Heather Johnston of Albion sings “Lose Yourself” by Eminem during Wednesday’s karaoke at the fair. She was one of 24 singers performing on Wednesday. Each night five qualify for the finals which are tonight. Judges picked five from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, making it 15 for the finals today.

12 p.m. – Paid admission begins and free public parking opens at Wood and Taylor Hill Road Parking Lots, Buildings open to the public

12 p.m. – Leader’s Pie Stand Opens

12 p.m. to 10 p.m. – Synchronistic Psychic Services with free Rune Readings at Lartz Building

12 to 6 p.m. – WNY PRISM, invasive species expertsat Lartz Building

2 to 4 p.m. – Family and Consumer Science Knowledge Bowl at Trolley Building

This vendor serves funnel cakes and fried dough at the fair.

3 to 10 p.m. – Midway Rides by Main Event Amusements $20 Unlimited Ride Wristband at Midway

4:30 p.m. – Chainsaw Carving at Log Cabin Lawn

4:30 p.m. – Chicken BBQ Sponsored by Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension at Curtis Pavilion

5 p.m. – Indian River Olde Time Lumberjack Show at Curtis Pavilion Lawn

5 to 7:30 p.m. – Live Music: The Brick Band at Orleans Hub Stage

5:30 to 7 p.m. – Heritage Windblade STEM Challenge at Lartz STEM Area

6 p.m. – Sheep Show at Show Arena

Brooke Kiefer, 22, of Lyndonville made her karaoke debut on Wednesday and sang “Fast Cars and Freedom” by Rascall Flatts. Kiefer was a long-time 4-H participant at the fair when she was a kid.

6 p.m. – Registration for Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull Ends at Fair Office

6 to 7 p.m. – Ag stories with Orleans County Libraries (Community Free Library) at Cattle Barn

6:30 p.m. – Small Fry Pedal Tractor Pull at JCH of Buffalo Tent

6:30 p.m. – Chainsaw Carving at Log Cabin Lawn

7 p.m. – Indian River Olde Time Lumberjack Show at Curtis Pavilion Lawn

8 p.m. – Orleans County 4-H Fair $1,000 Karaoke Challenge Finals (No Qualifying Round) at Orleans Hub Stage

8 p.m. – Small Animal Grand Master Information Session at Wachob Pavilion

These thrill seekers ride the Avengers in the midway.

8:30 p.m. – Chainsaw Carving at Log Cabin Lawn

8:30 p.m. – Orleans County 4-H Fair $1,000 Karaoke Challenge at Orleans Hub Stage

9 p.m.  Indian River Olde Time Lumberjack Show at Curtis Pavilion Lawn

10 p.m. – Buildings Close

10 p.m. – Hay Bale Rolling Contest – Teams of 1-2 ages 16 and up. Register at the fair office by 9:50 p.m. – Adjacent to the Carlos Marcello Horse Arena

Olivia Kroening, 13, of Medina sings “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” by Luke Bryan during karaoke on Wednesday night.