GCC, volunteers working on Heritage Festival Sept. 9-11 in Orleans County

Staff Reports Posted 30 June 2016 at 12:00 am

File photos by Tom Rivers – David Kreutz, an Abraham Lincoln presenter from Depew, shows over-sized pennies to people at the Civil War encampment in Medina in April 2013. GCC is no longer hosting the Civil War encampment, but is taking the lead in organizing the first Orleans County Heritage Festival.

MEDINA – Plans for a county-wide celebration of Orleans County history and heritage are progressing for the first annual Orleans County Heritage Festival September 9-11.

Over the course of the weekend participants will be invited to grab the free “heritage passport” at any participating organization and visit a minimum of six historic sites. The passport can then be redeemed for an attractive collectable pin and their names will be entered in a drawing for prizes.

Meant to shine a spotlight on the fantastic historic assets of Orleans County, visitors to the heritage festival will have many choices available to them. Encompassing four main themes: Agriculture, Transportation, Historic Cemeteries and Historic gems, visitors might visit a family farm, walk along the Eric Canal, go on a ghost walk or visit the historic district of Medina or Albion.

In addition, Genesee Community College is participating in the Heritage Festival with its own contributions located at GCC’s two Orleans County campuses. The Medina Campus Center invites visitors to “Epochs in Orleans” – a timeline festival on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., featuring re-enactors and impressionists from all eras of history, from the French and Indian War to World War II and beyond.

Folks might encounter President James and Dolly Madison, Abraham Lincoln and other historic personalities. There will be artisan demonstrations, antique autos, Civil War firing demonstrations and much more. Organizers believe that visitors will feel like they are walking through time.

GCC hosted a Civil War Encampment in Medina for three years. This photo shows re-enactors mounting a charge during a mock battle in April 2015. Some re-enactors may be back for a heritage Festival this September.

Meanwhile, GCC’s Albion Campus Center will focus on “Death, Mourning and Justice in Orleans County History” also on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring a recreated Victorian wake in the family parlor.

The exhibit will be accompanied by two public lectures. The first of these will focus on famous crimes and murders with Orleans County District Attorney Joseph Cardone at 10 a.m. Retired Orleans County historian Bill Lattin will give a talk on Victorian hair jewelry at 12 p.m.

The overall event is free and open to the public, however contributions to GCC’s Veteran’s Scholarship Fund will be encouraged. To keep tabs on the newest developments for the heritage festival, click here, or check the festival’s Facebook page by clicking here.

You can also contact Derek Maxfield, GCC associate professor of history at ddmaxfield@genesee.edu or Jim Simon, GCC associate dean of the Orleans County Campus Centers, at jsimon@genesee.edu.