Parade rounds out ‘exceptional’ Festival of Grapes year
SILVER CREEK – One of the area’s most prominent annual parades put downtown Silver Creek in the spotlight on Sunday.
The 51st annual Festival of Grapes parade saw over 40 organizations and groups march down Main Street for over an hour. Thousands of spectators lined the street to cheer on the marchers, which included fire departments, bands, veterans groups and community clubs, among others.
Rich and Dail Mizerski of Hanford Bay pointed out they always enjoy watching the parade every year. Dail was actually part of the first-ever Festival of Grapes pageant 51 years ago in 1968.
“It seems to move along with the times, with a lot more dance groups than in the past,” she said. “The festival is a great way to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while, too. So many people come down to visit. It shows kids the importance of joining a group and getting involved.”
Best of Show in the parade float contest went to the Hanover Girl Scouts, who dressed up as their favorite empowering female figures, sending the message that any girl can do what she sets her mind to. Second place went to Cub Scouts Pack 252 for their monster-sized pinewood derby model cars and third place went to First Baptist Church of Silver Creek for their gingerbread house filled with aspiring young chefs. Honorable mention was given to new Silver Creek liquidation retailer OverStocked for its miniature wagon float.
Many of the floats in the parade sported balloons and banners with the iconic purple color associated with the Concord grape — a fitting tribute to the area’s popular crop.
Festival of Grapes Board President Deanna Borrello noted this was “an exceptional year” for the Silver Creek staple.
“We received a lot of positive input, much of it coming from happy parents commenting on the coloring contest and the bubble gum blowing contest returning to the festival,” she added. “We’re very thankful with the school helping out with the coloring contest. Because of them, that was a huge success.”
Board member Lisa Romano echoed Borrello’s sentiments and added this past weekend had some of the best weather she has seen for all the activities, thus making it two years in a row now that Mother Nature has lifted the rainy Festival of Grapes curse.
“The volunteers worked hard and did a wonderful job as always,” Romano said. “Everyone seemed happy to be here. We had a steady stream of people come in to our headquarters building (on Park Place), as well.”
In addition to Borrello and Romano, this year’s festival board included Vice President Bob Graves, Secretary Carol Kuchera, Treasurer Diana Carpus, Greg Cole, Karen Kilburn, Lisa Romano, Betty Bates, Barb Moranski and Michele Grisanti.
With 2018’s event in the books, Romano mentioned the board is already thinking ahead to the 52nd installment in 2019, which takes place Sept. 20-22, the third weekend of September. The festival will thus continue its reign as the United States’ longest-running festival of its kind.
If you are interested in volunteering to help for next year, contact Borrello by calling 934-2410.