Albion town agrees to give $3K towards Strawberry Festival

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Town also approves resolutions for AIM funding, repeal of SAFE Act

File photo by Tom Rivers – A member of the White Sabers Drum and Bugle Corps from Dansville performs in the Albion Strawberry Festival in June 2013. About 10 marching bands usually perform in the festival parade.

ALBION – The Albion Town Board agreed to provide town funds for the first time to help put on the Strawberry Festival, a two-day bash that is the Albion community’s biggest celebration each year on the second Friday and Saturday in June.

The Town Board would like the funds to go towards the costs in bringing in the many marching bands for the event, and perhaps the cost of a fishing pond that may be part of this year’s event, Town Supervisor Matt Passarell said.

This year’s Strawberry Festival will include a fishing theme and organizers are working on some fishing-related activities.

The parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday during the festival is one of the big highlights of the two-day fest. The marching bands don’t perform for free. Altogether they cost about $5,000.

Some of the bands have increased their appearance fees, and other festival costs have also been rising. The contribution from the town will help the festival committee continue to offer an array of entertainment, the Town Board was told.

The Rotary Club is the sponsor of the festival, which costs about $18,000 to $22,000 to put on over two days. Karen Sawicz, a Rotarian, attended Monday’s Town Board meeting and made the pitch for funding.

Passarell said the money would come out of the town’s B Fund for outside-village residents. That way village residents aren’t paying twice towards the festival, Passarell said. The village provides manpower with the DPW, police and other staff for the event.

In other action, the Town Board approved two resolutions about state issues. The board stated its support for a fairer system for distributing Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM), a formula that currently directs 90 percent of a $715 million pot to upstate cities.

The Town Board also stated its support for repealing the SAFE Act, a gun control measure passed by the State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January 2013.