Participants sought for 4th annual Heritage Festival

Photos by Tom Rivers: The 2017 Heritage Festival included commemorative buttons with the themes of the Erie Canal, the military, cobblestone & sandstone, and “Legends and Lore, Spirits and Supernatural.” There won’t be buttons this year, but organizers are hoping for more events and participation from the community.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 February 2019 at 2:55 pm

The Orleans County Heritage Festival will return on Sept. 6-15 with some changes.

The festival in its first three years was led by Genesee Community College. GCC won’t be leading the charge this time, but may be involved with an event.

It’s still early in the planning process. Organizers welcome participation from the community, including churches, businesses, civic organization and residents who would be willing to host a tour or historical display. A business or organization celebrating a milestone anniversary this year might want to showcase its facility, said Doug Farley, director of the Cobblestone Museum. He is one of the coordinators of the Heritage Festival along with Erin Anheier of the Clarendon Historical Society, Dawn Borchet and Lynne Menz of the Orleans County Tourism Department, and Matt Ballard of the Orleans County Municipal Historians Association.

“This is a chance for the entire to work together on a history-related project,” Farley said. “We see the value of the heritage Festival. It’s something we shouldn’t give up on.

GCC hosted a Civil War Encampment in Medina for three years before hosting some of the events for the Orleans County Heritage Festival. This photo shows re-enactors mounting a charge during a mock battle in April 2015 outside the Medina campus center. Some re-enactors returned for the Heritage Festival in 2016.

Farley said the county has many historic sites and heritage-minded residents and organizations, as well as other interesting sites.

He and the organizers want to feature an activity at least daily during the 10-day festival.

“We are hoping that the festival will be a way to highlight many individual events under one banner,” he said.

Businesses, organizations and churches could participate simply by creating a display in their foyer, offering a tour of their facilities, or hosting an organ or historic instrument demonstration. Historian are welcome to put together an exhibit in their town hall.

People and organizations interested in participating can send information to Farley at He would like a brief description of the event by March 1.

This year’s event won’t include printed brochures, commemorative buttons, and a big kickoff celebration.

“Our goal is to keep it simple and attract as many willing participants as we can from Orleans County,” Farley said. “Really, the possibility is endless.”

There is no fee to submit an event, and each organization is completely in charge of their own event.

“We ask that they work together with us to try to fill up the festival with different events throughout the period,” Farley said.

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