OC Heritage Fest expands to 2 weekends in September
ALBION – A team of volunteers has been busy working on the second annual Orleans County Heritage Festival.
The event debuted over a weekend last September, and will be expanded to two weekends this time, running from Sept. 8-17.
“There are so many historic assets in Orleans County that it is hard to see them all in one weekend,” Derek Maxfield, a GCC history professor and festival organizer, told county legislators on Wednesday.
The Heritage Festival starts on Sept. 8 with an opening celebration at Forrestel Farms in Medina. The historic farmstead includes the carriage step for John Ryan, who opened the first Medina Sandstone quarry in 1837, helping to establish a dominant industry in the county for a century.
The event at Forrestel at 4536 Soth Gravel Rd. includes a performance by City Fiddle, refreshments and a tour of farm.
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.
Another collectible button will be included in this year’s festival.
GCC’s Albion campus will host events the first weekend on “Ancestors, Legends & Lore” with will include presentations on Victorian Spiritualism.
The action shifts 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.
Last year 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.
Mayfield provided an update on the festival to county legislators on Wednesday. He was joined by Lynne Menz, the Orleans County Tourism coordinator.
“Hopefully we can continue it for years to come and build on it,” she said.
Other events during the festival include:
• WWII Victory Garden on Sept. 9 at Cornell Cooperative Ext./4H Fairgrounds. Join Master Gardeners for WWII Victory Garden tour and display.
• Cobblestone Museum, open both weekends with guided tours, scavenger hunts, hands-on arts & crafts, kids free.
• Medina Historical Society, open both Saturdays with unique local heritage items, WWI display.
• Daughters of the American Revolution, open both Saturdays in Albion for guided tours of Patriots House, displays of historic memorabilia.
• Hoag Library, open on Sept. 10 for display and lecture on WWI veterans who served from Orleans County.
• Hart House Hotel in Medina, open on Sept. 12 for guided Ghost Tours of Hart House Hotel and the former Newell Shirt Factory.
• Maplewood Cemetery in Clarendon, guided tours on Sept. 13.
• Hurd Orchards Luncheon & Tour on Sept. 14 – Experience Canal Boat kitchen cuisine and tour an historic canal siphon.
• Heartland Passage Tour on Sept. 14 – Erie Canal Basin in Medina for songs and stories with The Dady Brothers, Dave Ruch, and the Erie Canal Film, “Boom and Bust”.
• WWI Era Music Concert on Sept. 15 at Lyndonville school district. Concert of WWI era music by 5th & 6th grade students of Orleans County.
• Genealogy Workshops on Sept. 9 at GCC in Albion and Sept. 16 at GCC in Medina – Search your ancestry with Orleans County Genealogical Society experts.
• Sandstone Society Hall of Fame, open on Sept. 16 at Medina City Hall. Guided tours of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame and visit inductees in Orleans County (self guided).