Bicentennial bash for Town of Yates starts in July

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 June 2022 at 5:59 pm

YATES – A group of volunteers and town officials have been busy for nearly a year planning a bicentennial celebration for the Town of Yates.

The festivities will begin in July, with other events planned for August and September.

Prior to 1812, Orleans County was part of Genesee County. After it was subdivided, a parcel of land known as Northton was set off on April 17, 1822. The name was changed to Yates in 1823 to honor Governor Joseph C. Yates.

The first permanent settler in the town was George Houseman, who came from Jefferson County in 1809 and settled three miles east of what would become Lyndonville.

Anyone who would like to read the entire history of Yates will find several publications at the Yates Community Library.

Jim Simon

The bicentennial committee’s goal for the activities is to celebrate and honor the rich history of the town, to instill community pride in Yates and to inspire future generations, according to the 200th anniversary celebration website.

Town Supervisor Jim Simon is chair of the anniversary celebration committee, which includes Susan Hrovat as deputy chair; Dawn Metty, historian; and Brad Bentley, Kelly Cousins, Cindy Grabowski, Ginny Hughes, Russ Martino, Cal Stinson, Georgette Stockman, Joanne Suhr, Valerie Wells, Tom Wenhold and Katie Whipple.

Celebrations will include a display of historical artifacts in the town hall on July 3, with docents, a guest speaker, food and music. There will be an ice cream social from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., children’s games from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., singing popular songs at area churches from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., a barbershop quartet from 2 to 3 p.m. and a school children’s chorale from 3:30 to 4 p.m.

On the Fourth of July, the town will have a float in Lyndonville’s big parade.

Continuing into August, a Street Fair will take place Aug. 19. The town is seeking to close Main Street between Maple and Eagle streets. If not, they will use library grounds, the parking lot behind the town hall and town parking lots. In celebration of the local farmers and their harvests, there will be food trucks, a Civil War encampment at Patterson Park, music, cemetery tours at 6 and 7 p.m., craft vendors and tours of the town hall and the historical artifacts.

A grand finale Lake Fair is being planned for Sept. 24. This will include a 200th anniversary ceremony at the newly upgraded Town Park on the lake on Morrison Road. There will be a ribbon cutting and formal ceremony from 1 to 2 p.m. with keynote speakers, the school band, food trucks, a birthday cake, live music at 3 p.m. and other fun activities for young and old.

Simon hopes to have most of the work at the Town Park completed by the end of August. A $2.53 million grant from the state Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI) is funding erosion control, road and parking improvements, an enclosed pavilion with kitchenette and restrooms, trail improvements, bank stabilization protection, a kayak boat launch and handicap accessible playground.

The town has already coordinated with the Yates Baptist Church for its 200th anniversary celebration. All of the historical markers in the town have been repainted, as well as the town hall.

“The Town of Yates represents so much that is good about America – faith and family in a rural and peaceful setting,” Simon said. “Our 200-year heritage is not only preserved, but it is respected and cherished. We are blessed with good and hard-working people, and we are grateful that our ancestors protected our wonderful natural resources, from our fertile farm land to our great lake. Please help us celebrate our bicentennial on July 3, Aug. 19 and Sept. 24. Details are on the town website and in the town hall.”