By GIB SNYDER
OBSERVER City Editor
It doesn't look very festival-friendly outside just yet, but the group of people charged with running the city of Dunkirk's warm-weather events has begun its work.
It won't be long before summer events bring out city residents and visitors to the city pier.
A festivals committee under the auspices of the Dunkirk Local Development Corporation met recently to begin the task of planning the events that have been successful - and to look into adding some new events.
Already scheduled are Wreck & Roll for June 7 and 8 and Beach Bash for Aug. 3. The Fourth of July is on a Thursday this year, leaving Music on the Pier looking for a site for that evening's performance as the pier will be used for the fireworks display. Music on the Pier is set to run Thursdays from June 6 through Aug. 29 with the July 4 band likely located somewhere in Memorial Park - adding to the day's festivities.
In addition, the committee has talked about adding some new festivals and events this year.
A Picnic at the Point on Sunday, May 26 would be one along with a Dunkirk Heritage Festival running Sept. 7-8. The Latin Festival will be taken over by the committee and rolled into the Dunkirk Heritage Festival. They are also interested in exploring the possibility of other events such as: shop local Saturday, Christmas lights contest, craft show, and/or business trick or treating.
Mayor Anthony J. Dolce was picked by other committee members to serve as chairman.
"In our first meeting of the committee we went through some role possibilities and put people in certain spots and the committee felt I would serve that role best I guess," Dolce explained of his additional duties.
He said some things are in early planning stages, including a picnic at the Point.
"Its something we threw out there as more of a kids friendly activity; more of a games-type atmosphere, vendors, that sort of thing," he added. "Our target, or goal if you will, is to run activities from Memorial Day to Labor Day. We're putting more on our plate in hopes that the committee as a whole can handle the additional responsibility instead of it just falling on a handful of people."
One of last year's successful events that was not run under city auspices was the Latin Fest held labor Day weekend. Dolce said it will be added to the DLDC festivals committee lineup.
"The Latin Fest we had last Labor Day was very successful so we're looking to run that in conjunction with all ethnic groups," he explained. "We have a lot of ethnic diversity in the city that we should celebrate."
Dolce said a possible site for such an event could be Central Avenue, but stressed it was in the "early stages."
"We know we're solid on our weekly Music on the Pier, our Wreck and Roll, our Beach Bash; those are concrete. We know what we do for those, but these other ones we're proposing are in the very early stages of talk and discussion," he explained. "We may find out that we don't have the bodies or funds to pull it off, but this is our objective."
While no contracts have been signed yet, the committee is looking to bring back some past favorites, including the Bon Jovi Tribute Band, Recess; Hot Rocks, the Rolling Stones tribute; La Krema; Strictly Hip; 25 or 64, the Chicago tribute; Jackson Rohm; Jersey; Revolver; and Elevation, a U2 tribute.
In addition, the Dunkirk Falcon Club is celebrating its 100th anniversary and is looking to sponsor a top-notch polka band for July 18's Music on the Pier in conjunction with the Polish National Alliance's golf tournament being held at Shorewood Country Club.
The committee also reviewed a proposal for updating the Visit Dunkirk website and marketing a business directory which will be forward to the full DLDC board.
In addition to the chairman's position, the committee also selected Jonelle Anderson as secretary; Tim Gornikiewicz as treasurer and Nicole Waite as outreach coordinator with other positions to be filled. Other committee members include: Stacy Szukala, Andy Gonzalez, Jonelle Anderson, Steve Neratko, Joe Becerra, Judy Lockett and Jason Dilworth.
The next Festival Committee meeting is set for Jan. 31 at 4 p.m. at the Development Department in the Stearns Building. The full DLDC is set to meet in City Hall on Jan. 30 at 11 a.m.
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