Skip to main content

Oakfield Labor Days

Boxcar derbies match speed of workforce development, coach says

By Press Release
Photo from 2023 Inaugural Oakfield Labor Daze Box Car Derby by Howard Owens.

By Chris Suozzi

Accelerating as they hit the final stretch to cross the finish line, pairs of boxcar derby racers dipped their heads. It was one of many lessons I was pleased to share with youth aged 7 -13 gained through a Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation-sponsored program.

70 racers and their families took up the challenge of building, designing, and perfecting their cars for a pair of fast-paced events – the August 26 BID Boxcar Derby in Batavia and the September 2 Labor Daze Boxcar Derby in Oakfield.

These events, and partners like the Batavia Business Improvement District and Oakfield Betterment Committee, create lifelong memories and demonstrate that through innovative workforce development programs, youth in Genesee County and surrounding communities develop through skill-building activities, career engagement, and training.

From Boxcar to Bootcamp

The pace of a boxcar derby matches the speed of our workforce development. We offer diverse tracks for our students, advancing them from pee-wee to pro levels, just like team sports. See below how our racers can progress with programs reaching every age and multiple ability levels.

  • Ages 7 to 13 – Boxcar Derby
  • Ages 8 to 11 – STEAM Jam, a GCC Tech Wars program for 3 rd to 5 th grade students
  • Ages 12 to 15 – Camp Hard Hat, a weeklong building construction trades program.
  • Ages 13 to 18 – GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing and GLOW With Your Hands : Healthcare, mass career exploration festivals with hands-on demonstrations; GCC Tech Wars, an extended STEM challenge program
  • Ages 17 to 18 – Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeships, employer-matched job shadowing and co-ops; GV BOCES training in mechatronics, welding, precision machining, and building trades; Cornell in High School food processing training program, a three-day accelerated food & beverage training program
  • Ages 18 to 24 – Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program, a six-week accelerated mechatronics training program

Committed to Workforce Solutions

As I recently told the Buffalo News, my sense of urgency is like no other. That’s why we’ve been in overdrive to solve the workforce demands of the future ahead of time.

The GCEDC works with our training providers, school engagement organizations, and educators to expand the capacity of training programs. We’ve seen real results – there’s been a 30% increase in BOCES training participation since 2019, events and programs in our community had over 3,000 participants last year, and we're on pace to welcome 1,000 students to GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing later this month. 

We need to continue to overcome national challenges that start at home and school. It is crucial to empower parents, older siblings, friends and teachers to encourage pathways with no college debt. The outcomes for our recent pre-apprenticeship graduates, with immediate careers paying over $27/hour highlight the importance of these opportunities.

It’s a challenge that renews every school year. With over 700 high-quality careers coming with Plug Power and Edwards semiconductor at STAMP, and over 1,000 more at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, the capacity for great local jobs is being met. 

These are careers within reach.

Let’s all think and act like our boxcar racers. 

We just have to stretch, to pull together, and I know we’ll win.

Coach Swazz

Labor Daze to feature inaugural box car derby

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Oakfield Betterment Committee will be holding its first Box Car Derby on Saturday, September 2 as part of its annual Labor Daze Festival. We are looking for boys and girls from all of the GLOW region between the ages of 7 to 13 to participate. Register your child at For more information call Scott at 716-218-6000.

There will be a Junior Division of 7-10 year-olds and a Senior Division of 11-13 year-olds. We will have 16 openings in each division and spots will be filled on a first come first serve basis. Sign up now as openings are filling fast. The deadline to register is Monday, August 7 and the registration fee is $20 per child.

Family discounts may apply. Registration fees can be paid by cash, check, or Venmo. Checks should be made out to Oakfield Betterment Committee. Official Cars will be provided by Greater Rochester Soap Box Derby Association. Cars will be available 2-3 weeks before the event for participants to customize.

The Greater Rochester Soap Box Derby Association will conduct a clinic for children and adults to ensure a safe race and give the children some basic car-building skills. Participants will be required to install the outer shell and wheels on the chassis. Practice session will be held on Friday, September 1 to ensure a safe event. 

Cars are required to be turned in after the event as they are being leased by the Oakfield Betterment Committee. Trophies will be provided for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, and all participants will receive a prize. This should be a good old-fashioned, fun event to be enjoyed by participants and fans alike. A special thanks to the GDEDC and the Rochester & Genesee Valley Workforce Development Institute (WDI) for partnering with us to make this event happen.


Submitted photos

Oakfield Labor Days just around the corner

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

No one wants to think that summer is almost over, however, the Oakfield Betterment Committee has been busy planning the Annual Oakfield Labor Days in the Park Celebration scheduled for Sunday, September 1st and Monday, September 2nd at Elroy D. Parking Park on Drake Street.

Many things have stayed the same, such as Great Food, Entertainment, Craft Show, Car Cruise, Labor Day Parade & Fireworks.  We’ve also added some new features, such as a 5K Run, Kids Games and Minute to Win It Challenges, Cow-Chip Bingo and our Raffle this is for a chance to win a John Deere XUV 550 Gator Utility Vehicle.

In years past, the Betterment Committee would mail raffle tickets to all local residence, however, this year, only 2500 tickets are being sold for the Gator Utility Vehicle, so tickets were not mailed.  Tickets are $10 each.  There are 4 chances to win $500 and a chance to win the Gator.  Anyone that is interested in purchasing tickets, please go to or stop by several local businesses: Millennium Computers, The Bed Room Store, Amy Nichols Salon, West Main Wine & Spirits, Oakfield Town Hall, Scopano’s Oakfield Hotel, Caryville Inn, Ken’s Shooting Supply,Oakfield Family Pharmacy and Alli’s Cones & Dogs, or contact any Betterment Member.  Tickets are still available.  The Raffle will be drawn on Monday, September 2nd at 6pm.

The Betterment Committee is also looking for Crafters/Vendors for the Craft Show and Entrants for the Labor Day Parade.  The cost for a booth is $50 for both days.  If interested, please contact Kim Staniszewski  at

The Oakfield Labor Day Parade is scheduled for Monday, September 2nd beginning at 10 am.  The Parade theme this year is “Musical Memories”.

The Genesee Valley Judging Association will be judging:

  • Veteran’s Color Guard (1st Prize:  $50, 2nd Prize: $25)

  • Best Appearing Fire Department (1st Prize: 150, 2nd Prize: $75, 3rd Prize: $25)

  • Trophies for Best Appearing Aerial, Best Appearing Pumper, Best Appearing Tanker, Best Appearing Utility & Rescue Best Appearing Antique Hand Drawn Fire Apparatus and Best Appearing Antique Motorized Fire Equipment

  • Best Appearing Marching Band (1st Prize:  $50, 2nd Prize: $75, 3rd Prize: $25)

Oakfield’s local Triplet’s, Erik, Dylan & Trevor Maier, Makena, Brooke & Josie Reding, and Brady, Eli & Cara Williams will be judging the Best Novelty Band, Act or Float (1st Prize: $150, 2nd Prize: $75, 3rd Prize: $25).  There is a $500 Grand Prize for the Best Overall Entrant.  Registration is required to be eligible for a prize category.  If interested in entering your Marching Band, Boy/Girl Scout Troop, Cheering Group, Performance Group, Float, Fire Department, Trucks, Equipment, Automobiles, Organization, or Your Own Creative Group, contact Michelle Johnson at or 585.409.9299.

The Oakfield Betterment Committee invites everyone to come out to a Fun, Family-Friendly end of summer celebration….Oakfield Labor Days in the Park.

For more information, go to

Authentically Local