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Old favorites, new twists and lots of food and fun at 34th annual Oatka Festival

By Joanne Beck
oatak fest 2014
Ducks are to return to the water in Le Roy for this year's Oatka Festival as one of many new elements to the 34th annual event, organizers say.
2014 File Photo by Howard Owens

While some events come and go, others such as the Oatka Festival just keep on returning — and growing — year after year. Spoiler alert: The array of edible treats this year has been significant enough to compete for event Chair Kate Flint’s attention.

“I’m so excited about the food,” Flint said during an interview with The Batavian. “We have 12 food vendors; we only had seven last year.”

Waffles are making a comeback, and there will be hotdogs, hamburgers, taffy, lemonade, cotton candy, french fries, Italian sausage, salt potatoes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, beef on weck, pizza, bratwurst, funnel cakes, kettle corn, chicken barbecue, ice cream, bubble tea and baked goods.

This year's festival lands in Le Roy Saturday and Sunday.

See Also: Oatka Festival parade to include special banner to remember past chairman 'Sully'

Also new to accommodate this gastronomical bounty, organizers are carving out a food niche all its own so that all food vendors will be in one central area and not separated as in past years, she said. 

There are “a ton of arts and crafts vendors,” or more specifically, a respectable 79 vendors with everything from woodwork and jewelry to traditional crafts that make festival-shopping so much fun. 

The library will be running its annual book sale, and the local churches are collaborating for an ecumenical service at 9:30 a.m. Sunday under the big tent. That typically draws about 25 people, and Flint would “like to see it grow,” she said.

What’s her favorite part, aside from all of the flavorful treats?

“I just like watching it grow and the community come together and support it and it’s a fun weekend,” she said. “And all of the food vendors (mostly nonprofits) use it as a fundraiser, it’s usually their biggest fundraiser of the year.”

Last year was a learning curve for many first-time volunteers, she said, and now “everyone’s grown into their positions.” 

“I think it’s growing in the right direction. We’ve got a lot this year, and I think it can keep getting bigger each year,” she said. “I’m a transplant, from Pavilion, but I used to come to the festival as a kid, it has always been a great festival … I’d like to see it all the way up Main Street one day.”

Other festival activities include:

  • The parade is set for 11 a.m. Saturday (see related article), and the car cruise is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday on Wolcott Street.
  • Oatka Creek Children’s Fishing Derby is from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday for age groups from under 4, 4 to 6; 7 to 9; 10 to 12 and 13 to 15. Winners of each group and drawings will be announced at 1 p.m.
  • Our Space Yoga & Wellness will be offering a yoga class at 9 a.m. Sunday.
  • There will be a scavenger hunt — get a worksheet at the table next to the kids entertainment tent and find the nine images on your sheet around the kid’s areas on the festival grounds. Once you find a picture, write the password below the picture on the worksheet and return it to the table where you got it from. Winners will be drawn at 5 p.m. Saturday: two winners of age 8 and under and two 9 and above.

All of the bands are new, Flint said, and will be on the Main Stage and gazebo. 

The lineup for Saturday:

  • Noon to 2 p.m. is Remedy Three on the main stage and Lambert-Iten at the gazebo
  • 2 to 3 p.m. Funk Yard Brass Band on the Steps
  • 3 to 5 p.m. Matt Seidel Band on the main stage and The Pearlz Band at the gazebo

On Sunday:

  • 10 to 11 a.m. Knight n Gaels on the main stage and Swinging Knights at the gazebo
  • Noon to 2 p.m. Grove Street on the main stage and Mood Swing Duo at the gazebo
  • 2 to 3 p.m. Warren Paul on the steps
  • 3 to 5 p.m. Batavia Swing Band on the main stage and Side Project at the gazebo

The children’s Free Play area will feature water and sand tables; bubbles and chalk; coloring, boondoggle, and bracelet making; yard games.

Kid events will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days, including an inflatable obstacle course and bounce house, Mr. Scribbles, mini golf and the Free Play area. 

Face painting and hair tinsel will go from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and the scavenger hunt will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

As if that’s not enough, Mega Bubble Man is scheduled from 1 to 2 p.m., Emmalee’s Memories Princess Show from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. and the Prehistoric World Reptile Show from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. all on Saturday.

Sunday will serve up The Art of Many from 10 to 11 a.m. for ages 2 to 6 and 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. for ages 7 and up (pre-register for these); Cara Weinman is offering a dance/movement class from 1 to 1:30 p.m., Emmalee’s Memories superhero show from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. and a magic show from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The Duck Pluck will return to the water this year, and that’s set for 5 p.m. Sunday.

Good news for all of you walkers and runners, the free Oatka 5K is back. It’s set for 8 a.m. Saturday.

For more information about these events, go to

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