Festivals dominate Dunkirk Saturday

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Jordan Roberto, Jackson Massar and their neighbor Linda Piglowski check out the pamphlets and birds at the Skyhunters exhibit at the Great Lakes Experience Saturday.

Festivals abound in the first truly summer day in the city of Dunkirk on Saturday. The weather didn’t disappoint anyone’s day as people clamored to get to The Great Lakes Experience, taking place at Memorial Park; the first Community Street Fair, hosted by Rural Ministry and NCCS and the Spring Fest, hosted by the city of Dunkirk.

At the Great Lakes Experience various exhibits and tables were set up explaining the importance of conservation and how to care for the health of our Great Lakes.

“We are a not-for-profit arm of the fish and wildlife service,” Juliana Janson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service President explained. “Our mission is to promote going outdoors and enjoying our Great Lakes, as well as preserving our lakes and learning about conservation.”

Janson said the turnout was steady throughout the morning of the event. Exhibits included fan favorite; Skyhunters, Birds of Prey, the Primate Sanctuary and the Fish and Wildlife Service just to name a few.

Carmen Presti, vice president of the Primate Sanctuary and Pete Lots, master falconer of Skyhunters talked about being wildlife educators.

“We’re a safe haven for primates in need of homes, a lot of people have monkeys as pets, and they’re not a pet,” Presti stated. “We take them in and rehab them so that they can live a better life with other primates.”

“We do flight demonstrations and help with wildlife rehabilitators at the ASPCA and the DEC,” Lots added.

Other educators shared their knowledge with guests and each other, making the Great Lakes experience a learning experience for everyone.

Over on the 300-block of Washington Avenue, NCCS (Northern Chautauqua Catholic School) and the Rural Ministry, teamed up to throw a Community Street Fair.

NCCS had a bounce house for children to enjoy, while beverages and popcorn were available for purchase to patrons while giving tours of the school.

“It’s important for us to have partnerships in the community,” NCCS Board Member Jessica Askar stated. “With Rural Ministry being so close to us, we’re able to work with them. We have a mission club here at the school where the kids go over and they help out.”

Rural Ministry served up a pork and chicken BBQ while hosting a bake sale, bands, raffles and a 50/50 chance. The money will be going towards the various programs that Rural Ministries has to offer.

Across the way at Point Gratiot, the Spring Festival was under way with the Home Run Derby leading the charge, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament played out and live bands entertained into the evening at Memorial Park.

It was a busy, but exciting day in the city of Dunkirk.