The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) presents the 37th annual “GO ART! Picnic in the Park” this Independence Day. The festivities run from noon until 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 4th, in historic Centennial Park on Richmond Avenue in Batavia. As is tradition, 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!
Introduced just last year to great response, the event will be preceded by a “Kiddie Parade” kicking off the day. 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 11 a.m. to decorate them for an old time “kiddie parade.” Decorations will be provided, and the parade will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Ellicott and Park avenues.
Live entertainment is presented on two separate stages, the Main Stage and “Stage II,” which has traditionally featured performances that engage kids and families. MAIN STAGE entertainment commences at noon with the “Picnic” staple 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 love to play. The Band's musical 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 in Centennial Park.
Directly following Batavia Concert Band’s performance, Vibrant Batavia’s Centennial Committee will do a short presentation honoring the City’s 100th Birthday which will include cupcakes to be distributed to all who attend.
A wide variety of bands featuring local and traditional music will follow on the Main Stage through the rest of the afternoon:
1:30-2:30 p.m. – Henrie Brothers: Old-time music has been a family matters since the early 1970s, when Bill, the oldest, tookd up the fiddle and helped his younger brothers John (mandolin), Bob (guitar), and Doug (bass) learn their instruments. Since then they have performed at leading music festivals and venues throughout the Northeast, performing bluegrass, old time, contradance, swing and jazz, all to consistent critical acclaim. At Picnic in the Park, the brothers will return to their roots in old time, early country and Irish music that gave them their start.
2:45-3:45 p.m. – The Niagara River Dancers combine students at the Tuscarora Indian Elementary School located at the center of the Tuscarora Nation, with members of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) tribes from throughout NYS. Many of the students stay after school for an extra hour to learn traditional dancing on a weekly basis. They not only learn the Haudenosaunee dances, but also dances from other Native communities around the country. The dancers wear beautifully beaded outfits, many in the Tuscarora raised-beadwork style, which are often made by their parents or other relatives. Traditional musicians accompany the dancers, who include explanations of the dance patterns, stories and history.
4-5 p.m. – Steel Alchemy Community Steel Band was formed in 2001 by Director Ted Canning as the Livingston County Community Steel Band, with assistance from the Decentralization grant program of the NYS Council on the Arts. Several members have been playing with the band since its inception, including the Palermo family from Mt. Morris. In 2007 the band released its self-titled CD recording, which prompted them to come up with their current name, Steel Alchemy. They perform a variety of music including Caribbean traditional and popular songs, American pop, and music written especially for steel bands. The band is open to people ages 13 and older, with no prior experience required. Anyone interested in learning more can contact Ted at [email protected].
12:30-1:30 p.m. -- Cut Off (A cappella Group) will perform their first performance of the day. The group was founded in the summer of 2010 by recent college graduates looking to continue performing in a contemporary a cappella setting. This co-ed group’s debut performance was in January 2011 at Lovin’ Cup in Rochester. The group participated in the first ever Boston Sings A cappella Festival (BOSS) in April 2012, where they took part in a workshop with Canadian-based group, Cadence. They were also proud to have performed at the Rochester Fringe Festival in September of 2013 at the TheatreROCS Stage at Xerox Auditorium. Cut Off just released their first CD, "Get Cut Off," in March of 2013 with Liquid 5th Productions (Raleigh, N.C.) and in 2014, the group was nominated for 2 Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) for Best Country Song (Good Girl) and Best CAL Song (LaserLight).
2-2:30 p.m. -- Thai Kwon Do Demonstration by Refuse 2 Lose Martial Arts
3-4 p.m. -- Cut Off (A cappella Group) -- Second Performance
THROUGHOUT THE DAY in Centennial Park, other activities include horse-drawn wagon rides by Hartland Carriages, pony rides and petting zoo by North Forty Pony Express and the Wildlife Educators Coalition returning with its wide assortment of animals. Geoffrey Clough offers his popular interactive program of children’s songs called “Cookie Songwriting,” and of course juggling and other roving entertainment in the park.
The GLOW Area YMCA will have its bounce house and inflatable obstacle course on site, and the Explore Art! Tent invites kids and families to do their own hands-on art activity, all materials provided, and free caricatures will be available near the tent. The Genesee County Park will be featuring a larger display this year with interactive activities and they will also have their resident turtle on hand to visit. The Park is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year!
Along the Richmond Avenue side of Centennial Park, artists and crafters representing an amazing diversity of arts and crafts are featured in an ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW AND SALE. Additional attractions consist of booths by community nonprofit organizations, including Genesee County ARC information & recycling education, Genesee County Historians Association, Batavia Assembly of God dunk tank and sand art, Batavia Players pizza & show info, GO ART!’s Picnic in the Park 50/50 Raffle and many others.
“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, 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 Level sponsors ($500 and up) include Batavia Rotary Club, Turnbull Heating & Air, Batavia Jaycees, Steve Hawley, CY Farms, The Batavian, and The Daily News.
Admission is free to the “Picnic in the Park.” Please call GO ART! at 585-343-9313, e-mail [email protected] or visitwww.goart.org for more information.