Planting the seed

Group quietly began a Fredonia tradition

OBSERVER file photo One of the highlights of the Farm Festival is the parade that takes place this year on Aug. 25.

Special to the OBSERVER

The Fredonia Farm Festival was first conceived in 1966 by the Fredonia Booster Association.

This event took place in the back room of Dickenson’s Restaurant, now Domus Fare. The group was made up of Fredonia business people which consisted of Len Aldrich, Aldrich Dairy; Vince Fioretta, Dawley’s Cleaners; Helen Hagland, Clothing Store; Wes McEntarfer, Bremer Pharmacy; Paul Kurgan, Shearer’s Men’s and Boys’ Clothing and Tom Webb, Fredonia Pennysaver.

The idea was fourfold: 1. Invite local farmers to sell their produce downtown; 2. Increase shopping traffic; 3. Showcase the variety of stores in Fredonia and 4. Highlight the east-west parking area behind the Main Street shopping area, which was facilitated by Jim Sommers and Charlie Collesano, attorneys and donations of $500 each from the merchants.

One of the first hurdles to be jumped was getting clearance to use the parks. The big question at the time was the use of the park was permissible.

Originally, the farm festival was to be strictly farm produce. It has certainly grown from the first concept.