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Nearly $4M of construction projects on the horizon, going to Legislature for vote

By Joanne Beck
GC airport
File photo of Genesee County airport, on tap for a new equipment storage building.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Bridge, airport and building projects of nearly $4 million are headed for Genesee County Legislature’s vote next week after county legislators from the Ways & Means Committee agreed Wednesday to design and construction costs for the work.

The committee approved design costs of $240,000 for the Richley Road over Murder Creek bridge in the Town of Darien. This bridge replacement has a balance of $1,508,000, with the largest amount to still be paid by taxpayers but spread out with 80 percent federal, 15 percent state and 5 percent local aid. 

For the Fisher Road over Oak Orchard Creek bridge in the Town of Oakfield, the committee approved an amount of $1,770,200, to be funded with 80 percent federal aid, 15 percent state aid and a 5 percent match from local 1 percent sales tax.

If approved by the Legislature, it will also direct the county treasurer to establish a capital project and $88,510 to come from 1 percent sales tax of the county, along with $1,416,160 of federal aid and $265,530 in state aid for the total expense.

Other projects on the horizon include construction of an airport equipment storage building, which was put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic due to sales tax concerns.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens had been unsuccessful in obtaining a state aviation grant for the capital project construction at the Saile Drive airport, he said. However, Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s office secured a state Department of Transportation grant for $150,000, Hens said.

He asked that the original design amount of $125,000 from 1 percent sales tax be increased by the additional $150,000 state grant for a total available budget of $275,000 for the project design. 

The committee agreed. It also approved a recommendation to award a bid not to exceed $248,350 to Kircher Construction, Inc. of Mount Morris for replacement of the roof and siding of the county’s Interpretive Center at Genesee County Park & Forest.

All of these measures will be passed on to the Legislature for final vote at 5:30 p.m. July 26 in the Old County Courthouse.

Youth Bureau accepting applications for GC Youth Lead program; deadline Sept. 1

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Youth Bureau is seeking applicants for the Genesee Youth Lead Program. Applicants should be a Genesee County high school student entering their freshman through senior year. 

The deadline to apply is Sept. 1.

The eight-month program is focused on developing leadership skills within an individual through each specific session and through hands on experience.  Each session will have a different focus on our community and leadership.

The Youth Lead Program will take place at GVEP BOCES beginning Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will be held once a month on the second Wednesdays of each month except for March due to a leadership event planned.

The program dates are: Oct. 11, Nov. 8, Dec. 13, Jan. 10, Feb. 7, March 19, April 10, and May 8.

Youth that complete the program are encouraged to use the skills and information gained through their experience to support the communities in which they live.

The selection process will be done through an application and interview process by the staff. The class size is limited.

The program will cost $75 for each student. If there is an economic hardship please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau.

Applications for the program can be found at

Please contact the Genesee County Youth Bureau with questions at (585)344-3960 or at

Photos: Justin Williams solo acoustic at Batavia's Original

By Howard B. Owens

Le Roy resident Justin Williams performs his solo acoustic set at Batavia's Original Pizza on Wednesday evening.

Batavia's Original hosts live music on its patio every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. during the summer.

Photos by Howard Owens.


Muckdogs stage dramatic comeback to stay in the hunt for division crown

By Howard B. Owens
Batavia's Ty Woods delivers a pitch to Jamestown's Zack Kent in the fourth inning, who was attempting to reach base with a bunt.
Photo by Howard Owens.

A four-run ninth inning brought the Batavia Muckdogs back from a 6-2 deficit against division rival the Jamestown Tarp Skunks before the home team won in dramatic fashion, 7-6 in the bottom of the 10th inning.

In the ninth, Trey Bacon opened with a walk, followed by a Sean Ladd single. 

After Justin Espinal lined into a double play, Josh Leadem walked. Lucas singled to load the bases. 

With the bases juiced, one of Batavia's hitting stars of 2023, Giuseppe Arcuri, doubled, driving in Bacon and Leadem.

Lopez and Arcuri scored on a single by the team's leading hitter, Adam Agresti, to tie the score.

In the 10th, the Muckdogs started with Christian Bernadini on second base. The Tarp Skunks gave Brice Mortillaro an intentional walk. Matt DeStefano drew a walk, and then Bernardini scored the winning run on a wild pitch.

Bacon pitched the 10th inning and was credited with the win, walking one and striking out two. Bacon's season ERA remains 0.00.

Julian Pichardo pitched the first third of an inning, giving up one walk and one run. Ty Woods came on in the third and tossed seven innings, giving up five hits and two runs while striking out six. Woods, from Alexander and a GCC student, has a 2.41 ERA on the season.

Lopez was 2-5 with a run scored. Agresti, now hitting .341, was 2-3 with two walks and two RBIs. Arcuri, now hitting .316, was 1-4 with a walk and two runs scored. DeStefano, hitting .283 on the season, was 204 with a walk.

The Muckdogs are now 22-12 with about a week left in the season, a half-game out of first place in the PGCBL Western Division. Elmira leads the division at 22-12. Jamestown is in third at 19-13, two games out of first, and a 3.5 games out of first is Niagara Power at 18-15.

The Muckdogs fell out of first place with a loss to Jamestown on Tuesday, 7-3.

Next up, Newark (9-22) at home on Friday at 6:35 p.m.

The Tarp Skunk's Kieran Gagnon attempts a bunt in the fourth inning.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Lucas Lopez singled in the third inning.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Giuseppe Arcuri avoids an inside pitch in the third inning.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Lucas Lopez fields a routine grounder in the fourth inning.
Photo by Howard Owens.
The Alexander Firemen's Band provided between-inning entertainment on Wednesday.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Alexander's Ty Woods on the mound in the fifth inning.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Photos: Batavia Concert Band Cadets return to live performance at Centennial Park

By Howard B. Owens
batavia concert band cadets 2023

After a couple of years' absence, the result of COVID-19 disruptions, the Batavia Concert Band's Cadets Band returned to a concert band's Centennial Park performance on Wednesday.

The cadets are elementary and middle school music students from Genesee and Orleans counties, directed by Lindsey Fix, a music teacher in Albion.

The cadets performed two numbers before intermission and then joined the concert band for a number later in the show.

"They're part of the concert band," said Jason Smith. "They rehearse. They practiced last night. They're a junior concert band, so to speak."

The cadets will join the Batavia Concert Band for a concert in the park again later this summer.

Through the summer months, the Batavia Concert Band performs each Wednesday evening, starting at 7 p.m. in Centennial Park.

Photos by Howard Owens.

batavia concert band cadets 2023
batavia concert band cadets 2023
batavia concert band cadets 2023
batavia concert band cadets 2023
batavia concert band cadets 2023
On the second piece of the evening, written for flugelhorn, Brandon Luce was the featured soloist, 
Photo by Howard Owens.

Assessing the high to low critical needs at HLOM part of $1.2M potential project

By Joanne Beck
HLOM front view
A building conditions study has been completed for Holland Land Office Museum on West Main Street, Batavia, and up to approximately $1.2 million of upgrades are being considered for the historic site.
File photo by Howard Owens.

A 41-page building conditions study for Holland Land Office Museum was released to The Batavian Wednesday after the county attorney gave it a thorough review, per county Manager Matt Landers' request.

Landers and the Public Service Committee discussed the study during Monday's meeting; however, Landers said he didn't feel comfortable releasing the document without passing it through proper channels to ensure it didn't contain anything of a confidential nature. 

Also titled an “opinion of probable construction cost,” the report pinpoints the various needs — from structural, electrical and mechanical to cosmetic, sanitary and customer service focused —of the historic site at 131 West Main St., Batavia.

"When you tally it up, you’re in the ballpark of $1.2 million. That’s our target,” County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said after Monday’s Public Service meeting. “The cost was $1.5 million for the stonework at the jail, and this isn’t as extensive, but once you start looking at a project … we will probably put out an RFP and come back with a recommendation by September.”

Just as with any kind of home improvement project, costs can add up really quickly, he said, which is why they’re trying to cap it at $1.2 million. There are items on the list that will never get done, such as a new sprinkler system, he said.

Tasks were categorized by necessity, with top priority going to the very critical: fire alarm system upgrades, a new addressable system, cleanup of existing wiring, updating the grounding system, and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance adjustments to the bathroom. 

The next level is critical, which would include exterior work on the museum’s columns, stone base, and wood canopy, replacing windows, exterior stone facade, patching and regrouting the full exterior of 2,500 square feet, lap siding with patch and paint at three to five locations, and paint the entire 3,000 square feet; repair the roof, including 530 square feet of flashing.

Considered “less critical,” at the bottom of the list are a number of incidentals, including the removal and replacement of concrete sidewalks and the asphalt parking lot, a stormwater treatment system, replacing a shed, clearing and grubbing the fence line, pest removal; and interior work of wood floor refinishing on the first and second floors; carpet replacement; piping work to allow replacement of sanitary and storm systems; insulation; mechanical cleanup; and an energy recovery unit.

While the first two categories fall within life safety, protection and building shell stabilization justifications, the less critical items are considered landscape upgrades, repairs, interior finishes and means for comfort. 

Tim Hens
Tim Hens

“Now you talk about rehabbing the columns on the front of the building or replacing the electrical system in the building or the fire alarm system, you start getting, you know, as you start working in old buildings, sometimes you crawl in and find things you didn't realize existed. So if we are going to move ahead on fixing this building and maintaining this building, we want to keep in mind the inflationary factor of municipal bidding and prevailing wage and all the things that come with it,” he said to the group of legislators. “So what we would like to do is basically find out what your pain tolerance is in terms of how much money you would like to spend on the building. I would say my recommendation to you is to try to nail the very critical things in an immediate sense. And then try to knock off as many of the critical items as you think you can afford. Again, the timing and placement of some of the critical items in terms of windows and painting and columns. 

“You know, some of that stuff, if you're going to choose to do one, I think you almost end up doing all because if you were going to paint the building, you wouldn't want to come in after the fact and replace the windows. If you were going to do the stone porch, you have to do the columns at the same time. So there's a lot of things that you kind of would have to progress at the same time,” Hens said. “I think you could easily spend — if you were to knock off the red and the orange the critical and the very critical — we could probably spend upwards of $1.2 to $1.3 million to try to knock all those items off. What we'd like to do from an approach is engage with a historically appropriate architect like we did with the stonework building, have them develop basically a concept, and then run that through a third-party cost estimator to get a really accurate number, which is what we did on the stonework project, I think that was very beneficial to us from a planning and budgeting standpoint. 

“So if that sounds acceptable, I'd like to come back to committee either August or September based on the timing with a proposal from a consultant, establish a capital project for at least for the design portion of it,” he said. “And then, based on what we get back from our construction estimator, figure out how much we want to chew off and potentially use capital funds to progress on a construction project in 2024.”

Legislator Gary Maha has held onto the same stance for these types of renovations, he said.

“My position has always been, this building is owned by the county, who should take care of it, just like you can take care of your home, you know, and unfortunately, the museum over the years hasn't been taken care of, there's money issues or whatever," he said. "But if you do need to move ahead and do something with our building, we're gonna keep it, we need to keep it up to par.” 

There are several funding opportunities identified in the report, such as environmental protection fund grants, State Council on the Arts funding, an Empire State Development Market program, and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Fund for Community Assets. 

Hens is cautious about historic preservation grants, which “are nice, but have so many strings attached,” he said. Sometimes, once contractors are aware that such a grant is involved, their proposals increase to match the prospective funding. And the red tape involved can delay a project, adding even more cost due to inflation.

“I would rather get a good contractor and get it done,” he said. 

Sponsored Post: The Batavian's Guitar-Giveaway Contest at the Genesee County Fair

By Lisa Ace
the Batavian guitar contest


  • All eagles must be drawn at The Batavian’s booth during the fair.
  • All entry forms must be complete and signed by a parent/guardian if under 17.
  • Those entering for the guitar must be able to return for the prize during The Eaglez concert at 7 p.m. July 27 for a presentation/photo opportunity.
  • All prizes will be presented along with a photo for promotional purposes.
  • Winning entries will be randomly selected from among staff favorites, except for People’s Choice, will be selected by fair attendees from among the Top 20 staff favorites.
  • No purchase necessary to win.

The 17 and under winner of the guitar will be contacted via phone by noon on Thursday, July 27. The winner does not have to be present to win during the actual drawing but MUST be able to come back for The Eaglez concert that evening on Thursday, July 27 at 7 p.m. to accept the guitar prize. There will be a photo opportunity on stage with The Eaglez, and the winning recipient for promotional (marketing and media) purposes for The Batavian.  You will receive a complimentary entry to return to the fair for that day. 

All entries must be drawn at The Batavian’s booth. All entries will be reviewed by The Batavian staff, and the winning drawing will be randomly selected from among the top favorites.  Criteria include quality and creativity.

The winner of People’s Choice harmonica will be notified via phone and/or email on Friday, July 28. All entries must be drawn at The Batavian’s booth by the end of the day on Wednesday, July 26. Top 20 staff favorites will be on display Thursday and Friday. The winner will be chosen by voting of fair attendees and announced on Friday, July 28, with prize presentation and a photo taken on Saturday, July 29 at the fair. 

The winner of 18 and older Red Osier gift certificate will be notified via phone and/or email on Thursday, July, 27. Criteria and selection are the same as the 17 and under prize. The winner will receive the gift certificate and have a photo taken by Saturday, July 29. To win, you must agree to come back to the fair to receive the gift certificate and have your photo taken for publication in The Batavian.

No purchase necessary to win. This contest has been made possible with special thanks to The Batavian for sponsoring the guitar and harmonica prizes and to The Red Osier Landmark Restaurant for the gift certificate.

Tenney cosponsors legislation to widen benefits for Medal of Honor families

By Press Release

Press Release:

File photo of
Claudia Tenney

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) recently cosponsored H.R. 841, the Sergeant Gary Beikarch Medal of Honor Act. This legislation, named after Rochester native Gary Beikarch, guarantees that the widows of Medal of Honor recipients are eligible for the complete benefits earned by their spouses.

This bill was introduced in the House by Congressman Joe Morelle (D-NY). Additional co-sponsors include Reps. Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Andre Carson (D-IN). 

Currently, spouses of Medal of Honor (MOH) recipients face a limitation where they can only receive either the MOH pension or the Dependent Indemnity Compensation (DIC), but not both. This provision not only deprives military families of their rightful benefits but also adds to their financial burdens, adding to the already challenging emotional circumstances they face. This legislation seeks to amend the current law, enabling surviving spouses of MOH recipients to receive all the benefits they qualify for without being forced to choose between the two options.

“America’s Medal of Honor Recipients, and their families, have put so much on the line to defend our great Nation and safeguard our freedoms,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. “It is only right that we ensure their surviving families receive the benefits they have earned and fully deserve. I am inspired by the Beikirch family's dedication to this issue and thank them for working to support surviving spouses nationwide. I am honored to join Congressman Morelle in this fight to get this legislation across the finish line and ensure our Medal of Honor spouses receive the benefits they deserve.”

“Medal of Honor recipients are among the most selfless, courageous, and heroic men and women who serve our armed forces,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “We have a duty to honor their profound service and sacrifice by ensuring their families receive the full benefits they deserve. I am deeply grateful to the Beikirch family for bringing this issue to my attention—it is my hope that this legislation will right a longstanding wrong and bring peace of mind to surviving spouses across the country. I look forward to working with Congresswoman Tenney and our colleagues to swiftly pass it into law.”

“Speaking personally from the perspective of my family we are so grateful for Congresswoman Claudia Tenney joining to work alongside Congressman Joe Morelle in making this a bipartisan effort in moving this bill along. This important piece of legislation needs to be passed not only because it is a benefit that my father more than earned but also because it will give us the peace of mind that my mother will be cared for in the way my father would have wanted. 

My mother's care was his top priority in his last days and the entire Beikirch family thanks Congressman Morelle and Congresswoman Tenney for advocating to right this wrong not only for us but all future Medal of Honor recipients' spouses to come. The families of our best and bravest should not have to choose between two benefits that were so courageously earned and my father would be honored to have his name on a piece of legislation that protects not only his but also other Medal of Honor recipient's families that are left behind,” said Stephanie Beikirch, daughter of Sgt. Gary Beikirch.

“I would like to thank Congressman Morelle and Congresswoman Tenney for their time and attention on this bill. The absolute last people in the country who should be struggling to keep their homes are the widows of our Medal of Honor Recipients. Gary Beikirch was a mentor and father figure to me and his only concern before he died, probably the only thing he ever asked for in his entire adult life was that his family be cared for after he’s gone. That’s a small price to thank someone who has given everything for this country. I hope this bill moves quickly so that relief can be provided to these deserving widows,” said Monroe County Veterans Services Director Nick Stefanovic. 

Read the full text of the bill here.

Habitat for Humanity accepts donation from SmartDESIGNarchitecture

By Press Release
Pictured from left to right: Edwin Smart, Martha Bailey, Jaylene Smith-Kilner, Arielle McVay

Press Release:

Edwin Smart, Owner and president of SmartDESIGN Architecture, and Martha Bailey, SDA Office Manager, present Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County with a check. This money was raised from their 3rd annual SDA Golf Outing in partnership with Habitat. Accepting the donation from Habitat are Jaylene Smith-Kilner, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, and Arielle McVay, Board President.

Michael Napoleone Summer/Fall 2023 grant opening

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Board of Directors of the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation is excited to announce the opening of its Community Youth Grant for the Summer/Fall 2023 Cycle. This grant will be awarded to charitable organizations whose primary mission is to facilitate youth activities for children up to age 18. 

It supports one of three mission priorities established by the foundation: "to assist youth organizations and youth athletics.” The Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Community Youth Grants will be awarded based on the schedule below.

Summer/Fall 2023 Funding Cycle:

Application form available on August 1 (ONLINE ONLY)

Applications are due: August 22

Award notices will be sent to applicants: September 25

On August 1, the online grant application will be available at: There are no geographic limitations for recipients, but preference may be given to the Western New York region. Requests for event or program advertising will be directed to the appropriate grant cycle. Organizations may receive one grant annually and there are two grant cycles per year (Winter and Summer/Fall). Typical grant awards range from $250 - $1,500, depending on the number of applicants and funds available for each cycle. 

For more information to support the foundation, please visit

A portion of Richmond Avenue to be closed Thursday and Friday in Batavia

By Press Release

Press Release:

All through traffic will be closed on Thursday along Richmond Avenue between Union Street and Vernon Avenue in the City of Batavia. This closure is to mill and resurface damaged pavement, and the closure will extend into the late afternoon of Friday.

All motorists that regularly use these streets are asked to seek alternative routes while the closures are in place.  Businesses and residents within the area of the closure should anticipate delays.

This work is weather dependent and subject to rescheduling if it rains.

Genesee County Fair keeps growing, expands to eight days July 22-29

By Joanne Beck
genesee county fair 2018
File photo from 2018 Genesee County Fair
Photo by Howard Owens.

No matter what you might think of fairs, Genesee County’s 183rd annual one this year has packed so many activities, there's an expanded eight-day schedule to keep kids and adults busy, entertained, well fed, and — if they come by the carload — financially intact by the end.

Of the many new offerings at the fair for 2023, one of the mainstays is Genesee County Ag Society treasurer Norm Pimm. He has been one of the steadfast volunteers for the event who knows the ins and outs of happenings, from musical groups and a welding competition to the talent show, stockyard classic and a power wheels race for kids. 

So where to begin? The stockyard classic show has grown to be enormously popular, with 500 entries, Pimm said. It began with an event in May and will continue July 21 through 23 with a sheep, goat, hog, and beef show. Participants up to 21 will compete for showmanship prizes for the top five categories of peewee, novice, junior, intermediate and senior. The top two will then advance to the next round of competition. 

“Any age contestant can show their animal, spectators are more than welcome to come and watch. We'll be running two different show rings all the time. So you'll have pigs in one, sheep in one or two, so they'll be moving around,” he said. “So there will be probably 150 to 200 exhibitors.”

As for music, fan favorites BB Bang will open things up from 7 to 10 p.m. July 22. A group of musicians 18 to 22, they’ve been playing for the last several years, Pimm said. “They are really good,” he said. “They do 75 to 100 shows a year. One kid is from Byron-Bergen school.”

Knight Patrol, a high-energy rock band from Macedon, will be playing tunes from the 80s from 7 to 10 p.m. July 23. 

The Eaglez, as its name implies, is a tribute band to American soft rock band The Eagles and will give its fair debut from 7 to 10 p.m. July 27. This band’s performance will include a special giveaway of a guitar sponsored by The Batavian. 

A “very big fan favorite” steps up from 7:30 to 11 p.m. on July 28, and that’s Audibull.

Country rock band The Barnstorm will cap off the county fair from 7 to 10 p.m. on July 29. It’s been a dozen years since they’ve been here, Pimm said, and they are coming back with toe-tapping favorites.

For more on the musical lineup, see also: The Eaglez highlights GC Fair's five nights of live music that spans genres and eras

Tucked into that musical line-up are other fair staples and add-ons in the entertainment tent: Faith at the Fair, with a couple of Christian rock bands, from noon to 4 p.m. July 22; the fair queen competition at 3 p.m. July 23, followed by the queen crowning from 6 to 8 p.m. July 24; a crowd-pleasing double night of karaoke from 7 to 10 p.m.  July 25 and 26.

Participants that sign up for the talent show by July 22 are guaranteed a goodie bag, and everyone will take to the stage on July 29. 

genesee county fair 2018
File photo of Genesee County Fair parade in 2018
Photo by Howard Owens.

What’s the fair without a parade? That will be happening at 6:30 p.m. on July 25 around the grounds.

Gates open at 6 p.m. July 28 for the demolition derby, with a 7 p.m. starting time. That has been the biggest draw of more than 2,000 people, Pimm said, and this year there will be the addition of a power wheels derby. At 6:15 p.m., kids with power wheels will compete, and whosever battery lasts the longest wins. Featuring motorized jeeps, gators and cars, it’s like a real demolition derby but with children’s versions of vehicles, he said. He watched one at an Adirondack fair.

“It was so much fun,” he said. “There have been 51,000 hits on the post that’s been up for a week so far. People are excited about that. The next biggest is 50,000 hits for an Enduro race.”

The entry form for the kids' power wheels demo derby is on the fair website. There are two age categories of 4 to 7 and 8 to 12. For more information, call 585-709-9859.

The Enduro race is a family-friendly race at 7 p.m. on July 29. Older stock cars with the doors chained shut race some 100 laps for a $2,000 pot. 

For anyone looking for some of your more traditional fair amusement, there’s 4-H, which begins July 24 with what’s predicted to be the most entries ever, Pimm said, of rabbits, chicken, sheep, goats, pigs, and the home goods, crafts, and clothing items. 

“The barns are going to be full of animals all week,”  he said, begging the question of how do they stay cool. “We have big fans that were installed two years ago in dairy, beef and swine bars, and we’re installing them in the sheep barns. They can keep air moving through the barns and shade them pretty good.”

Along with new fans, other updates have included a new sound system and LED lighting in the horse and livestock arenas. 

What would a fair be without Future Farmers of America Day? And this year, Miller Welding is sponsoring a welding competition for FFA members on July 26. There are to be 20 to 30 kids showing their welding skills as a way to promote the trades, Pimm said, with plans to build on that with future events for tractor driving and “anything to do with trades.”

An attraction that most fair-goers can’t resist is the Hammerl Amusements midway, expanded for 2023, which runs from 1 to 9 p.m. July 22, 23, 26 and 29, and 4 to 9 p.m. 24, 25, 27 and 28. A Kids All Day (1 to 5 p.m.) special for $15 will be offered on both Saturdays and Wednesdays of the fair and feature Mr. Scribbles and a pedal tractor pull.

Other activities include pig races, balloon demonstrations, a Taste of New York selfie contest, kids Color Wars, an ice eating contest, and an Ag Awareness tent. 

Don’t miss preview night that begins at 3 p.m. Friday with a special admission of $5 and the North American Six Horse Hitch Series at 5:30 p.m. at the horse arena, with a follow-up performance at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Regular admission is $10 per carload from Saturday through July 29 at the fairgrounds, 5056 E. Main Street Road, Batavia. The fair is hosting special deals for senior citizens, veterans, kids, and emergency responders on select days throughout the week. Fans can keep up with the deals and news HERE, where the fair will be holding four trivia contests to give away tickets to the demolition derby and coupons to the Ag Society’s food stand, the Chuckwagon.  

What’s not new? The need for volunteers. The fair survives on them, Pimm said.

“It’s 100 percent volunteer; none of us gets paid, not one person, and, like, 12 of us work all year round. And then there's others that come in. I mean, just over the week of the fair, we get over 100 volunteers, which is fantastic,” he said. “Yeah, we can allow them on for various parts of the fairgrounds, whether it's the food stand or parking or helping with livestock shows or cleaning barns or, you know, just everything. So, we're always looking for more volunteers and or, obviously, joining the Fair Board, but even without that, we're still looking for volunteers.”

That’s mostly how the operation that’s been going since 1839 has continued, drawing families from across the region to meet and greet with animals — promised to be more than 1,000 this year. Genesee County just keeps thriving and beating the odds each year, Pimm said.

“Really, unfortunately, some fairs aren't even around anymore but we’re around,” he said. "We continue to grow, which is great. I mean, last year, we had almost about 75,000 people.”

 For a complete list of events, visit  For more information, visit

genesee county fair 2018
File photo from the Genesee County Fair Demolition Derby in 2018.
Photo by Howard Owens.

The Eaglez highlights GC Fair's five-nights of live music that spans genres and eras

By Howard B. Owens
Eaglez Tribute Band
Photo Courtesy the Eaglez Tribute Band.

Musicians in a tribute band take on a special challenge. Fans are going to want to hear the hit songs just like they've heard them on the record, and they've listened to their favorite songs enough to know every nuance.

You can't flub your lines or miss a chord change, and you better get the harmonies right.

"That is the curse of the tribute band -- everybody knows those songs, and if you're not doing them right, they know it," said Bob Brummitt, leader and bass player with The Eaglez, an Eagles tribute band. "In a bar band, you can get away with it. You're a cover band, and everybody knows it and accepts it, but being in a tribute band forces us to be at the top of our game."

The Eaglez will perform at the Genesee County Fair on Thursday, July 27. Show time is 7 p.m.

The Eagles are a tough act to mimic, Brummitt acknowledged.  Many of the songs are deceptively simple, suitable for a campfire sing-along, but the arrangements can be more complex, especially with studio overdubs, something players can't easily recreate live.

"To tell the truth, we play these songs all the time and have been listening to them our whole lives, but sometimes we'll be like, 'what is that chord change?' even though we've heard it a million times, and so we're like, 'now we know why it sounds the way it does.'"

For more on the 2023 fair, see also: Genesee County Fair keeps growing, expands to eight days July 22-29

The Eaglez formed about 2 1/2 years ago, a child of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're all veteran players," Brummitt said. "We've all been doing the bar scene for about 40 years. We decided that for some of us, before fading off into the sunset, this is always something we wanted to do but none of us had the time.  COVID did us a huge favor. During the lockdown, nobody was booking any bands, so all we could do was go to the practice facility and grind it out. Then when things opened up, we were ready to fly." (No pun intended)

The current lineup is:

  • Randy Barnard, Lead Guitar/Keyboard
  • Dennis Makowski,  Guitar/Vocals
  • Bob Brummitt, Bass Guitar/Vocals
  • John White, Rhythm Guitar/Vocals
  • Mike Nierenberg,  Vocals/Percussion
  • Micky Judware / Rich Keigley, Drums
  • Paul Vanacore, Sax/Keyboard

"Most of us were straight ahead barroom rockers," Brummitt said. "There's where the business has been the past few years. We played Bad Company, the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Skynyrd -- you name it, we've done it. We've just about played it all."

Not every musician Brummitt approached about joining an Eagles tribute band wanted to take on the challenge. He heard things like, "I can't take the time to learn it," "It takes too much commitment," and "It's too tough for me."

The players who did take on the challenge are attracted to the Eagles, Brummitt said, because "it's America's music."  

"Everybody loves the Eagles," Brummitt said. "Even bar bands play one or two Eagles songs."

Drawing on influences such as the Beach Boys (those high harmonies), Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, the Byrds, and Graham Parsons, the Eagles took that nascent country rock sound of California and infused it with hooks and themes listeners could grasp.

"We all grew up with it, but even at our shows, there are people in their late 20s, early 30s, who weren't even born yet (when the Eagles topped the charts), and we're surprised," Brummitt said. "But they say, 'That's what my parents played when I was a child.' It's almost timeless."

The Eaglez have caught on in WNY -- band members live throughout the region -- and they play 20 to 25 shows each summer, mostly in outdoor venues, which they prefer.  In winter, they mostly avoid bars, except as a favor to outdoor venue owners who also have an indoor venue, and to stay in practice.

The Eaglez is the only full-time Eagles tribute band in WNY, as far as Brummitt knows, which has helped fuel their popularity.

"(Tribute bands) seems to be where the market is," Brummitt said. "It's a narrower market. It's an upscale market. And you don't have to bring a crowd. When you try to book into a bar (as a cover band), bar owners want to know how many people can you bring? That's not the case with a tribute band." 

A typical set from the Eaglez is 25 songs, and they pretty much play all the fan favorites.

The Eagles Greatest Hits (1971–1975) is certified platinum 38 times. It is the biggest-selling album of all time.

"We kind of pride ourselves on playing every single song on that album," Brummitt said.

The set usually includes a couple of songs from the solo careers of Eagles members Don Henley, Joe Walsh and the late Glenn Frey.  Some of those songs sound so much like the Eagles, he said, that some fans don't even know they're not Eagles songs.

This will be the first appearance for The Eaglez in Genesee County, and Brummitt said he's hoping they're a smash so they get invited back.  The band is looking to get more exposure in rural Western New York because the Eagles music, country rock, seems a natural fit. 

"It's an inviting venue because we're all really familiar with county fairs," Brummitt said. "It's a real festival environment, there's usually some liquid refreshment flowing, and it's our kind of crowd."  

The Eaglez concert will include The Batavian announcing the winner of its guitar-giveaway contest.

There is a total of five nights of live music at the Genesee County Fair.  Here is the rest of the 2023 lineup:

Saturday, July 22
BB Dang, 7 to 10 p.m.

BB Dang
Photo courtesy BB Dang.

You could say BB Dang is a group of graduates from ROC Star Academy in Rochester, where band members all first started playing together. They've successfully transitioned from a class project to a gigging band. Manager Tony Barbagallo described the band's sound as high-energy rock, including current hits and classic rock with a bit of country thrown into the mix. "I think that's been part of their success," Barbagallo said. "They span current pop music, current pop artists, all the way back to classic rock and classic country." The band members are Isabella Barbagallo, vocals, Reid Burton, vocals and guitar, Matt Edwards, bass, Alex Sherwood, guitar, Mike Valle, drums, and Abby Johnson, keyboards and vocals. For the fair, original member Cameron Carlson will be on bass in one of his last gigs with the band before starting college. Carlson is from Bergen.

Sunday, July 23
Knight Patrol, 7 to 10 p.m.

knight patrol
Photo courtesy Knight Patrol.

Knight Patrol plays 80s monster rock hits, said manager Angelo Affronti.  The band includes his son A.J. on lead guitar, lead singer Tim Burnett, Eddie Krysinski on keyboards, Zach Biern on bass and the drummer is Jon Bishop (with a sub on the GC Fair show).  "We play all of the biggest hits of the 80s -- Bon Jovi, Journey, Motley Crue, Electric Light Orchestra, Bryan Adams -- all the greatest hits.  All stuff that people know."  A.J. Affronti said the band loves 80s music because they can relate to it better than today's music. "I think it's a bit of a different character, and it's more into how we feel. When you hear an 80s song, you know it's an 80s song. It just has an energy to it."  He said his favorite guitarists include Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest, along with Neal Schon of Journey.

Friday, July 28
Audibull, 7:30 to 11 p.m.

Photo by Carla Coots

Audibull is a Genesee County band through-and-through, based in Pavilion, playing local gigs for a dozen years, and rooted in the local music scene. Members are Tim Pitcher on guitar, Bill Christiano on bass, Chris Iannone on drums, and Todd Tracy on lead vocals.  It's a solid four-piece playing modern hard rock -- System of a Down, Korn, Drowning Pool, Disturbed, and Godsmack, for example. "We like the energy of the crowd," Tracy said. "I've always lived with the idea that there's a new crop of 21-year-olds every year who want to hear what they grew up with, but the older we get, the crowd gets younger."

Saturday, July 29
BarnStorm, 7 to 11 p.m.

Photo courtesy BarnStorm.

The Genesee County Fair will close out its live music showcase with a night of current and classic country from BarnStorm. Their set highlights such acts as Reba McIntire, Maren Morris, LeAnn Rimes, Tanya Tucker, Randy Travis, Phil Vassar and Kenny Chesney.  The lineup is Rick Polinsky on keyboards, Rich Ulinski on lead vocals, Leslie Trippi, lead vocals, Dave Dunkowski, bass, and Pete Militello, drums. The band has been together about 15 years and the current lineup are all dyed-in-the-wool country fans. "We're all veteran musicians," Polinsky said. "We all like country. That's the toughest thing, trying to get five people on the same page as far as the kind of music you're doing.  We had people who did rock and roll and had no clue about country music these guys have been playing it for years and know it like the back of their hands."

We the Kingdom, one of the fastest rising acts in Christian music performing at Darien Lake

By Howard B. Owens
Photo courtesy of We The Kingdom

By Alan Sculley

Martin Cash of We The Kingdom admits it might seem odd that the Christian group chose to make their second album a self-titled effort. That’s usually a title bands reserve for their debut albums.

“I think it’s ironic that it ended up being self-titled because to be honest, in the beginning that option was thrown out because we couldn’t agree on any other name. Someone at some point was like ‘Hey, why don’t we just call it ‘We The Kingdom’ and call it like a day,”

Cash said during a recent phone interview. “At first we were like ‘Ah that feels like a cop out. That feels like throwing in the towel.’ But the irony is that I really think this album highlights the individual members of We The Kingdom because throughout the album there were particular people that started certain songs and we all kind of jumped in to finish them.”

“(It says) Hey, we are a team. We are all in this together,” he said. “As you look down the list, it’s almost like Ah, I remember, that’s kind of Franni’s song that she started and we came around and finished it. That was a really cool and different, unique thing that happened with the album, where it was still collaborative, but there were just individuals who started songs and brought them to the rest of the band that we then all finished.”

It makes sense that the five members of We The Kingdom would grow more collaborative. After all, this is essentially a family band that’s very accustomed to being around each other. The band includes Ed Cash, his brother, Scott Cash, Ed’s son and daughter, Martin Cash and Franni Rae Cash-Cain, and long-time friend Andrew Bergthold, We The Kingdom became a group after writing several songs while the five musicians were serving as worship leaders during a stint at a Young Life camp in 2008.

The band got signed by Capitol Records’ Christian Music Group, and debuted in 2019 with a six-song concert EP, “Live at the Wheelhouse.” That release contained a version of the song “Holy Water,” which topped the Christian Airplay singles chart. The studio version of that song became the title track for the “Holy Water” studio album, and in April 2020 the song landed atop three different Christian music charts. Two more top-5 singles, “God So Loved” and “Child of Love,” followed, as We The Kingdom became one of the fastest-rising acts in Christian music.

So far, the self-titled album has generated a top 15 single in “Miracle Power,” a top 30 single in “Jesus Does” and more singles could still be released. In making the “We The Kingdom” album, the five band members grew more collaborative as songwriters, drew on some different influences (Martin mentioned Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles and the Smash Mouth hit “All Star” as prime examples) and experimented with new tones and sonics. In the end, the band emerged with an album full of strong songs that are a bit more energetic overall than the “Holy Water” album.

Cash said doing a second album presented We The Kingdom with plenty of questions about the next musical step the band should make. “With our first album, you’re starting from zero. You have no reference for what people like from you, the sound,” he explained. 

“If say, they gravitate toward ‘Holy Water,’ you struggle with should we write more records like ‘Holy Water,’ that same sound? But then the creative in you is going ‘No, we’ve already done that. How do we continue reinventing ourselves and pushing the envelope, but still offering the same sound people fell in love with?’ So that was a struggle with the self-titled album. I’m personally super pleased with how it turned out.”

We The Kingdom is back out playing headlining shows after starting the year co-headlining the multi-band Winter Jam, one of the year’s biggest Christian music tours. That outing initially caused the band some concerns, because when We The Kingdom took the stage, it was later in the evening and they were seeing a significant number of people who were either leaving during their set or before We The Kingdom took the stage. 

After a number of discussions, Cash said, they came to feel people were leaving for logistical reasons – such as needing to get home to meet up with babysitters or the younger fans had curfews. Cash feels that experience will only help the band, even with headlining shows.

“There was talk of like are we playing the right songs? Should we play more songs that are hooky, kind of cheap tricks you can get into to get people to stay?” Cash revealed. “But at the end of the day, the point is not to force them to stay. It’s to play to the ones that are there. It’s a lesson, but it’s a good one.”

We the Kingdom will be playing at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Tuesday.

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