Genesee County is a unique patchwork of small towns and villages surrounded by farms and rural countryside. Le Roy is one of the thirteen towns that make up this patchwork and it’s where I have lived most of my life. While our towns and villages across Genesee have been in transition the past couple of decades due to globalization and the advent of retail strip malls and Wal-Mart’s our Main Streets have suffered immeasurably. However, this past Sunday with the help of some pretty smart planning by some innovative people, Main Street in Le Roy came alive with a sea of activity.
From 1:00 – 5:00 P.M. Main Street closed to the bustle of Rte 5 traffic and a good old fashion street party commenced. The event was called Stagecoach Days – named for the horse drawn Stagecoach rides that were provided by the Eagle Hotel, a historic landmark and local watering hole. This in itself was unique and appeared to be great fun. The planners of this event -- The Leader Group (a group made up of merchants and civic leaders) along with the great people from the Eagle, thought of some other wonderful attractions to delight the senses. A classic car show and a DJ provided just the right entertainment and attraction value to keep people on the street enjoying the festivities for hours. Local restaurants and gift shops got in on the action and set up on the sidewalk offering their wares and tasty treats.
With the soaring gas prices and lifestyle change that will follow, one silver lining may turn out to be a new sense of community similar to what I remember growing up with in the 60’s and early 70’s. Our Main Street in Le Roy was a flurry of activity back then. Any need or want could and was found on Main Street. What I remember most was the camaraderie and sense that we were all connected in the fabric called community. The shop owners knew and greeted all of us by name as we frequented their establishments. This was the true sense of a village and while we may never go back, maybe a new Main Street will emerge in the shadows of the end of cheap oil. This is what the first annual Stagecoach Days reminded me of. People will look for entertainment options closer to home and these community events give all of us an option to save gas money, get reacquainted with our friends and neighbors, and have a great time in our own backyards. It also spurs more success for our shop keepers on Main Street.
A friend of mine and I participated as vendors, displaying our artwork in the alley, and we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I commend the Le Roy Leader Group and the Eagle Hotel for organizing such a great event and look forward to the 2nd annual Stagecoach Days.