Several new elements have been added to the return of Oakfield’s Labor Daze three-day event this weekend. A new location for an old favorite promises to be spectacular, Oakfield Betterment Committee President Jamie Lindsley says.
“It will be a high velocity, rapid-fire, dazzling fireworks display,” she said while setting up the venue Thursday evening. “Because of the ongoing capital improvement project at the school, the fireworks will be in the Town Park on Drake Street. It’s a more intimate setting.” (Rain date is Monday.)
Although fireworks usually cap off an event, this one on Sunday is tucked in between a jam-packed schedule that begins with the Oakfield 5K at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and ends with basket and cash raffle drawings at 8:30 p.m. Monday.
New elements include the 5K course, which will begin and end at Triangle Park to keep it “central to this location,” Lindsley said. Participants — walkers and runners alike — can still register at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Proceeds from the event will go to Genesee Cancer Assistance in honor of longtime Oakfield resident Ralph Esten Jr., who lost his battle with cancer at 40 in June of this year. Fee is $30, and medals will be awarded to top winners.
There will be plenty of parking Lindsley said, in municipal lots on Main and Drake streets and on side streets.
Kids shouldn’t be bored with a bustling line-up of activities for children and teenagers from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The Kiddie Fun Daze will feature Just Clowning Around Magic Show at 12:15 p.m. and “lots of prizes for kids’ games,” Lindsley said.
Other new components are some tasty additions to the regular festival fare of hamburgers, hotdogs and kielbasa. Sweet corn on the cob and walking tacos will also be on the menu. Never had a walking taco? Open a bag of crunchy Doritos tortilla chips and top it with ground beef, various taco seasonings, sauce, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream. Then add a fork and go. Anywhere. Hence, the walking part of the taco has become a hit at parties and other special events. A few food trucks will round out the smorgasbord of appetite quenchers.
A parade boasting marching bands and newcomer Buffalo Ghostbusters will line up at the fire hall and begin at Seneca and Main streets. Spectators should plan to be there about 30 minutes early before road closures prevent them from getting a good spot on the parade route between Seneca and Drake streets/Route 262.
Buffalo Ghostbusters, with their signature logo of a red circle and slash mark over a ghost holding a chicken wing, features what the name implies: a fun group of aptly dressed ghostbusters with related gear and vehicles. The parade is at 10 a.m. Monday as a craft show of 35 vendors begins an eight-hour selling fest from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Musical entertainment will fill the air all three days, with everything from country and classic rock to honky-tonk and a tribute to the Beatles. That kicks off with the Hastings Duo at 1 p.m. Saturday and Hit N’ Run to close the event from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday.
All of this has been pulled off by a strong core of eight board members, a dozen regular committee members, and “hundreds of volunteers,” Lindsley said. A late decision to move forward with the event meant little lead time (they began about three months ago), and more chores outside of their regular day jobs.
“It typically takes 12 months to plan an event,” Lindsley said. “It’s only possible with a really incredible and talented team. Every one of our members is busy during their workday, and they put in many hours here.”
Committee Vice President Ritchie Kirkum added that a slate of generous donors also made Labor Daze feasible. The event was missed during its pandemic-related hiatus in 2020.
“We’re excited to bring it back after a year. We want to see everyone back and together at Triangle Park,” Kirkum said while helping to build food stands. “We’re really grateful for the sponsors.”
Yet another new offering this year is the big cash raffle. The grand prize is $10,000. Tickets are $25 and only 1,000 are being sold, he said. Proceeds from the cash raffle will help to offset the expenses of the event and go toward future community improvement projects and other committee goals. Kirkum and Lindsley noted the in-kind services donated by the village and town, such as assisting with necessary permits, road closures, and signage for the event.
Given the event’s epicenter is Triangle Park, it is only fitting that a small celebration is to honor the longtime staple of this community. Triangle Park was gifted to the community in 1921. Oakfield Historical Society members will pay tribute to the park’s 100th birthday with a centennial dedication and a little local history at 11 a.m. Sunday.
The only other item on their list now is good weather. A recent forecast shows moderate temperatures in the 70s and cloudy sunshine.
“We’re really happy it’s not going to be in the 90s, and it will be cooler weather,” Lindsley said, acknowledging perhaps the only activity that’s truly climate dependent. “There’s also a car cruise. We’ve had up to 80 cars in the past. We’re hoping for great weather ... I wouldn’t be surprised if we have quite a few.”
The 2021 schedule for Labor Daze at Triangle Park is below:
Saturday, September 4:
- 9 a.m.: Oakfield 5K Run or Walk
- 11 a.m.-6 p.m.: Kiddie Fun Daze
- 12:15-2:00 p.m: Balloon Artis
- 1:00-4:00 p.m: The Hastings Duo
- 4:00-7:00 p.m: The Old Hippies
- 7:00-10:00: Mr. Mustard
Sunday, September 5:
- 9:00-10:00 a.m.: Home Grown Gospel
- 10:00-6:00 p.m: Craft Show
- 10:00-11:00 a.m.: Church Services
- 11:00-1:00 p.m: Craig Wilkins
- 1:00-4:00 p.m: Car Cruise
- 1:00-3:00 p.m: Genesee Ted
- 3:30-6:30 p.m: Rebel's Posse
- 6:30-9:30 p.m: Ninety West
Monday, September 6:
- 10:00 a.m.: Parade
- 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m: Craft Show
- 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m: Alexander Firemen's Band
- 12:00-3:00 p.m: Blonde Over Blue
- 3:00-6:00 p.m: Skycats
- 6:00-9:00 p.m: Hit n' Run
- Basket and cash raffles to follow
Photo: File photo by Howard Owens