Gowanda Fall Fest, Alumni Weekend gets underway today

GOWANDA – While the Gowanda Fall Festival normally occurs during the last weekend of September, this year it’s being joined by a different Gowanda event. Today and this weekend, the Gowanda Fall Festival will work in unison with Gowanda’s Alumni Weekend, being held by the Gowanda Boosters Club. Bill Peglowski, the Coordinator of the Fall Festival, is excited to see all the people come to town.

“Alumni weekend should bring a lot more people into town than normal,” Peglowski said. “Fall Festival is a minimal event normally, but with more people in town because of the Alumni Weekend, there should be more activity than there might normally be during the average Fall Fest.”

The big draw of the Fall Festival is the Scarecrow Contest, which Peglowski himself is a judge in. There will also be a Gowanda Hall of Fame Induction taking place at the Hollywood Theater on Friday night, as well as a car show and train rides as part of the festivities.

“The stuff the chamber is doing like the car show and the train rides, they’ve been doing that for the Fall Fest for several years now,” Peglowski said. “They ended up getting shifted over to the alumni schedule. They’re doing Hall of Fame inductions at the Hollywood Theatre on Friday, then there’s a dance.”

While the Gowanda Chamber of Commerce used to hold the Fall Festival, they stopped running the event several years ago. Peglowski originally picked up the mantle of the Scarecrow contest before taking on coordinating the Festival as a whole. Though the Fall Festival is typically small, coinciding with this year’s Alumni Weekend is an opportunity to draw some attention to it.

“There’s been a lot of publicity around the alumni weekend,” Peglowski said. “But I wanted to draw some attention to the Fall Fest.”

The Festival/Alumni Weekend is truly a community event, with several entities coming together to make it work. In addition to the Car Show, Scarecrow contest, Hall of Fame Inductions, and train rides, there will be tours of Zoar Valley throughout the day that leave from the Gowanda School parking lot. The Gowanda Mural Project will also be giving tours of the various murals they have been working on throughout the Village. All these entities coming together is something Gowanda Mayor Dave Smith is happy to see.

“This year more than ever, multiple entities are working together to make great things happen for our Village,” Smith said. “New this year are the train rides through the beautiful fall foliage, and the annual traditions like the Scarecrow contest continue. There are multiple happenings at the Gowanda Free Library and the Hollywood Theater, and the Alumni Weekend will bring alumni to town who may haven’t been here in a great deal of time. It’s a great opportunity for people to come out.”

Normally, Gowanda High School’s Homecoming would also fall on this weekend, but instead will take place in October. So, while the Fall Festival shares the weekend with the Alumni Weekend, it is losing the Parade that would normally be happening for Homecoming. This also caused the Scarecrow to be pushed to tonight, instead of Thursday.

Though Gowanda’s Alumni Weekend typically takes place during the summer, this year’s fall placement will give the entire weekend a strong sense of community feel. And though Alumni Weekend may move back to its normal summer home next year, bringing it all together for one weekend should be hugely beneficial to the entire Village of Gowanda.

The schedule for Friday events are as follows:

Friday, September 24:

9 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Mum Sale & Bake Sale by Friends of the Library at Gowanda Free Library

NOON: Scarecrow Contest voting begins

6pm – 6:45 p.m.: Gowanda Mural Project Tour by Heather Rydzik; Meet at mural by theater

7pm – 8:30 p.m.: Gowanda Hall of Fame Induction at Hollywood

9pm – 11 p.m.: Rachel Galati & Iron Lace at Gowanda Moose Club; $15 presale; Cash bar. Tickets at Designer Pools, Gowanda Moose Club and Valley Pharmacy


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