Concord aboard

Festival of Grapes concludes landmark year

OBSERVER Photo by Greg Fox The Festival of Grapes board and past pageant winners travel down the parade route Sunday with a big balloon “50” for the festival’s silver anniversary in Silver Creek.

SILVER CREEK — With the weekend over, the longest consecutive and volunteer-run festival in New York state can trumpet a successful 50th year.

The Festival of Grapes concluded Sunday in Silver Creek with a grand parade, which lasted over an hour and a half. Fire departments, politicians, dance groups and bands from across the region traveled down Main Street to the cheers and applause of thousands lined up along the sidewalks.

Lisa Romano, publicity, sponsorship and festival center chair, lauded this year’s installment of the annual celebration of grapes as the best she has experienced in her 12 years on the board of directors.

“The weather was very nice, the crowds were very nice, the vendors and the food and the rides were busy all three days,” she told the OBSERVER. “It was wonderful. I think everything went off without a hitch really. We all worked together and we all made this happen, the community involved. No one person ever does this; it is a group effort and there are many people behind the scenes besides the board members.”

As part of this year’s golden celebration, the festival board of directors invited all former pageant winners, pentathlon winners and board members to ride in a float in the parade to recognize them. A banquet was also held on Saturday for past board members so everybody could celebrate together.

OBSERVER Photo by Greg Fox The Silver Creek Fire Department made its way down Main Street in Silver Creek for the 50 annual Festival of Grapes Parade. A young parade viewer covers his ears to the trucks’ sirens. More photos on A10.

Romano noted the 50th celebration of the Festival of Grapes was two years in the making – one more than usual. The 51st is already in the wings, she added.

“We’re just so happy,” she remarked. “We’re happy that we made it to this milestone. I’m so happy and so proud to be part of this board. It’s near and dear to my heart, and as long as I am up and moving and everyone else is on the board and wants to participate, this festival will never go away. We will always be here to give this back to the community.”

Of course, Romano would be lying if she said she didn’t want to put her feet up for a little bit and take a well-deserved rest from the tireless work.

In addition to Romano, this year’s board of directors included Deanna Borrello (president), Robert Graves (vice president), Carol Kuchera (secretary), Diana Carpus (treasurer), Anthony Borrello, Michele Grisanti, Gary Hubert, Marcie Martin, Barbara Moranski and Stan Phelka. Board members who passed away over the last year included Lyle Franklin, Estelle Crino, Michael Moranski and Michael Boedo.

New active board members are always welcome.

Twitter: @gfoxnews