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Fourth of July Picnic in the Park will feature a Kiddie Parade, bounce house, live music and more

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council’s 35th annual family event “Picnic in the Park” will take place on the Fourth of July from Noon until 5 p.m. in Batavia's historic Centennial Park on Richmond Avenue.

As always, this year’s “Picnic in the Park” is a free, family friendly event that will once again include all-day live musical entertainment, an arts and crafts show, folk arts programs, food vendors, children’s activities, and much more!

New this year is a Kiddie Parade, which will be held preceding the event. Harkening back to earlier times, families with children ages 12 and under are invited to bring their bikes, scooters or strollers to the northwest corner of Centennial Park – between the Main Stage and Richmond Avenue -- at 11a.m. to decorate them for an old-time “kiddie parade." Decorations will be provided, compliments of Kmart, and the parade will take place at 11:30 starting at Ellicott and Park avenues.

As is tradition, Main Stage entertainment commences at Noon with the Batavia Concert Band playing its traditional mix of Sousa-style marches and Big Band numbers. Founded in 1924, the Band has brought musical pleasure to the region every year except during World War II. The Concert Band itself consists of 40 to 50 brass, woodwind and percussion players ranging from advanced high school musicians to 50-year veterans. Many have professional performance experience; the rest are advanced amateurs.

All members of the concert band love to play. Their repertoire is wide-ranging in origin, style and period, and includes marches, Broadway show tunes, favorites from hit musicals and movies, pop, jazz and even rock numbers arranged for band. Join the band for weekly concerts during the summer on Wednesday evenings beginning at 7 in Centennial Park.

At 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 4,  “The Town Pants” take the stage with their own unique brand of rollicking Celtic roots music. With Genesee County native Mike Mastin on drums, this Vancouver, Canada-based band combines aspects of Irish traditional, folk rock and roots Americana, fusing their signature dual lead vocals to create their own unique brand of high energy "West Coast Celtic" that remains in the heart and head long after the music stops.

There are lots of Celtic folk rock bands out there, but rarely does a band have this combination of passion, energy, animation and spirit that makes for some of the most imaginative songwriting you’ll find in the genre.

Then at 2:30 p.m., Trio Los Arpegios takes the stage. They have been performing Latin American music for the past 24 years, specializing in the typical trio style of close vocal harmonies with guitar accompaniment. Led by Marcos Santiago, the members include Jesus Gracia Montes and Pedro Santiago, all on vocals and guitar. They will be joined for our Picnic performance by Latin percussionists Fermin Sanchez and Juan Collazo.

They perform traditional music from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Central and South America. The Trio performs frequently in the Rochester and Monroe County area, and has traveled from Buffalo to Albany, from Watertown to Binghamton and even to New York City.

At 4, The BossTones round out the afternoon with a wide variety of music ranging from traditional fiddle tunes, Irish, bluegrass, and Southern Appalachian to jazz and swing. The BossTones are a fiddle music trio comprised of Jessica Boss Collins (fiddle), Darcy Collins (guitar), and Jack Metzger (bass).

Jessica was first exposed to fiddle music through her grandfather, Roland Huehn, a musician himself. When she was growing up Roland took her to a local fiddle club, The Fiddlers of the Genesee, where she met another musical mentor, Jack Metzger. Starting in the mid 1990s, Jessica, her sister Meghan and Jack formed a smaller ensemble, The BossTones, and began performing throughout New York State. Darcy Collins, the newest addition of the trio, was immersed in many musical activities starting at a young age, and has been playing the guitar for 18 years. Jack Metzger, a veteran musician, has performed with various bluegrass and other acoustic music bands throughout New York State. In addition to playing bass, Jack is also an accomplished guitar player.

STAGE II, the “family stage,” features two rotating acts this year -- at 12:30 and 2 p.m. The Traveling Dressup Theatre entertains with their family friendly dressup storytelling; and at 1:30 and 3 p.m. The Stringmen perform their delightful mix of folk and participatory music for kids of all ages.

Throughout the day in Centennial Park, other activities include horse-drawn wagon rides and petting zoo by Hartland Carriages, and the Wildlife Educators Coalition returns with its wide assortment of animals. Geoffrey Clough presents his popular interactive program of children’s songs called “Cookie Songwriting,” and don’t miss juggling by Picnic fave Brian Kozody and new this year, Owen Gould. The GLOW Area YMCA will have its bounce house and inflatable obstacle course on site, and recycling is generously provided by Genesee County ARC. Also new this year is My Cowboy Miniature Golf with a nine-hole course, putters, balls, scorecards and pencils.

In the Explore Art! Tent families are invited to decorate paper flower pots and create paper flowers to be delivered to area nursing homes and hospitals. Also, kids can try their hand at decorating white paper bags to be used in delivery of Meals on Wheels to senior citizens. All materials are provided. AmeriCorps volunteer Beth Ely will help kids and adults explore art! Free face painting will also be available at the Explore Art! Tent.

Along the Richmond Avenue side of Centennial Park, artists and crafters are again featured in an Arts & Crafts Show & Sale. An amazing variety of arts and crafts are represented, such as hand-beaded jewelry, photography, seasonal indoor/outdoor woodcrafts, homemade soap, hand-woven textiles, tie-dyed apparel, ceramics, and much more.

Additional attractions consist of booths by community nonprofit organizations, including Genesee County ARC information and recycling education, Genesee County Historians Association, Batavia Assembly of God dunk tank and sand art, Volunteers for Animals with dogs and cats for adoption, St. James Church garden tour tickets and plant raffle, Habitat for Humanity, GO ART!’s Picnic in the Park prize giveaway and many others.

The Picnic always offers up tantalizing food by a variety of vendors, such as Abbott’s cones, sundaes, milkshakes and root beer floats, Lonsberry fresh-squeezed lemonade and soft pretzels, Kernel Cravin’ Kettle Corn, and, of course, the Batavia Jaycees famous "dog and burger stand" in its traditional location.

The event is funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts Folk Arts Program with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Picnic Sponsors include the County of Genesee and Rotary Club of Batavia.

Table Sponsors include: Batavia Area Jaycees; The Batavian; CY Farms/Batavia Turf; The Daily News & The Drummer Pennysaver; Stephen M. Hawley & Assoc., LLC.

Contributors include: Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C.; and

Flag Sponsors include: Bouchard Financial Services; Genesee ARC; Bob and Linda Knipe; McGinnis Excavation & Plumbing; SJF Construction, Inc.; and Tonawanda Valley FCU.

Friends include: DelPlato/Casey Law Office; Max & Jane Mason; Paula R. Schumann; Roger & JoAnn Triftshauser; and Wortzman Furtniture, Inc.

Additional support provided by City of Batavia DPW, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and the Porter Family.

Please call GO ART! at 585-343-9313, or e-mail, or visit <> for more information.

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