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picnic in the park

Sometimes event planning is no picnic (in the park)

By Joanne Beck


As grateful as GO ART! staff was to have gotten additional funding this year to resume the annual Picnic in the Park, it will only be possible with the assistance of other community organizations to help out, Executive Director Gregory Hallock says.

City Council agreed this year to boost the regular amount of $2,500 to $6,500 to bring back the Fourth of July event at the urging of Councilwoman Patti Pacino. Since the city wanted to approve a transfer of funds from the defunct centennial celebration committee for a resurrected Wing Ding, Pacino said she would only vote for that as long as her fellow council members also approved extra funding for Picnic in the Park. And so they did. 

After seeking various ways to make it happen, Hallock feels it’s just not feasible, he said.

“With funding drying up for both the Ramble and Picnic in the Park, GO ART! and the Ramble Team joined forces last year to put on the Ramble Explore ART! and Music Festival in hopes of keeping an event alive within this amazing community we are part of,” he said to The Batavian Monday. “GO ART! made the commitment again for this year prior to hearing about a possible funding opportunity from the City of Batavia. It was a welcoming surprise when we heard the City of Batavia was willing to help fund Picnic in the Park this year; however, there is no guarantee this funding will continue beyond this year. With the Ramble just three days before July 4th, GO ART! just does not have the capacity and resources to put on Picnic as well.

“We have reached out to numerous groups asking for help, but we have been unable to secure any. We are willing to assist any organization by providing all the files and information needed to put on the event if anyone is willing and able to step up,” he said. “It is estimated that the event in today's dollars costs $20,000 to put on.”

City Council is expected to vote on a final 2023-24 budget during its business meeting on March 13. That includes GO ART! funding of $2,500 to support the arts and $4,000 for the picnic. The group and City Manager Rachael Tabelski were informed that GO ART! was committed to the Ramble and had “declined Picnic in the Park late last week,” Tabelski said.

So what happens to that funding?

“As far as the proposed budget, the line item is still in the budget, council has the option, and may dedicate or reallocate the funding through a budget amendment to general events account or not expend the funds altogether,” she said.

The picnic is not the only event not to make an appearance this year. Assistant City Manager Erik Fix recently announced that the Wing Ding Committee has put a halt on plans for this year’s event, initially scheduled for Labor Day weekend to correlate with a Wings Over Batavia Air Show. There didn’t seem to be enough time to properly map out the event, and members wanted to reconsider a date for the event.

Not all is lost for summertime fun. The Italian Fest will make a second annual return in July, The Ramble Explore Art! and Music Festival will also be happening in July, plus Friday night Jackson Square concerts throughout the summer and other concerts and special events at various downtown and across town venues to check out at The Batavian’s calendar. The air show will be making a comeback Labor Day weekend at Genesee County Airport.

File photo of the virtual 2020 Picnic in the Park during COVID, by Howard Owens.

GO Art! slated for a resurgence of city funding with a picnic in mind

By Joanne Beck


City Councilwoman Patti Pacino was true to her word from a meeting last September.

During that Sept. 27 discussion about shifting more than $9,000 of leftover Centennial Celebration money toward a future Wing Ding event, Pacino spoke up on behalf of another beloved city favorite.

“While I think the Wing Ding is fabulous and it is an event open to everyone, we used to fund the Picnic in the Park, which is also for everyone,” she said at the time. “GO Art! had to cancel the picnic.”

The city used to contribute money — about $2,500 — to the annual Picnic in the Park, but began to cut back over the last few years, and did not fund it in 2019, 2021 or 2022. The Original Red Osier Landmark restaurant presented the event in 2019, and a virtual picnic -- sponsored by several entities, including the city --  was shown on YouTube in 2020. The picnic was canceled in 2021 due to COVID protocols and lack of sponsorship and canceled again in 2022 due to lack of sponsorships.

During that September meeting, Pacino said she would vote for the Wing Ding and transfer of money, but expected support when a request for Picnic in the Park funding came around again.

As part of early budget talks this year, Pacino requested that the council add another $4,000 in funding to GO Art!, for a total of $6,500.

During Monday’s budget workshop, Councilman Bob Bialkowski asked about that line item, and City Manager Rachael Tabelski explained what happened.

“Patti asked for funding of $4,000 to be put back in the budget,” she said. “No one disagreed at the time. So I included it for discussion.”

No one raised objections about the total. In the overall category of recreation, another $12,932 is slated for community celebrations, $78,846 for the Youth Bureau summer rec program, $15,340 for the ice rink, and $15,750 for Dwyer Stadium.

Also present Monday were council members Tammy Schmidt, Eugene Jankowski Jr., Paul Viele, Kathy Briggs, and Al McGinnis. John Deleo and Pacino were absent.

2022 File Photo of City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., and Council members Paul Viele and Patti Pacino during a meeting in September 2022. Photo by Joanne Beck.

Wing Ding is no Picnic in the Park

By Joanne Beck


Sometimes remarks have to be said even though they might upset people.

City Councilwoman Patti Pacino gave that warning during Monday’s conference session as the council discussed using leftover event money for a proposed Wing Ding. What she was going to say would probably anger her colleagues, Pacino said.

“While I think the Wing Ding is fabulous and it is an event open to everyone, we used to fund the Picnic in the Park, which is also for everyone,” she said in the Council Board Room of City Hall. “GO Art! had to cancel the picnic.”

Proposed by Assistant Manager Erik Fix, the amount of $9,188 remaining from the city’s Centennial Celebration in 2015 could be transferred into a Wing Ding account if council approved the move. Former Centennial Committee members Krysia Mager and Chairman Paul Battaglia had agreed to the use of funds in addition to others Fix had spoken to, he said, and some members of the resurrected air show had said they would help with the city’s event.

The city used to contribute money — about $2,500 — to the annual Picnic in the Park, but began to cut back over the last few years, and did not fund it in 2019, 2021 or 2022. The Original Red Osier Landmark restaurant presented the event in 2019, and a virtual picnic -- sponsored by several entities including the city --  was shown on YouTube in 2020. The picnic was canceled in 2021 due to COVID protocols and lack of sponsorship, and canceled again in 2022 due to lack of sponsorships.

Pacino said she would vote for the Wing Ding and transfer of money, but expected support when a request for Picnic in the Park funding came around again.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski explained that “we realized that if we were ever to use those funds, it had to be run by the city,” she said.

The $9,000 and change came from corporate donations for the Centennial shindig on Dec. 31, 2014. Although some council members suggested getting the Business Improvement District involved, those unexpended funds need to be spent by the city during an event under the city’s authorization, Tabelski said.

Why not do it? said Councilman John Canale. He saw no reason not to move forward with a Wing Ding to coincide with the air show next fall.

“People loved it,” Canale said.

Councilman Bob Bialkowski questioned the input from a couple of former committee members as being a major reason for moving forward. Canale rebutted that it’s “only common courtesy” to include them since they worked on the former event. Both Battaglia and Mager gave their blessings to the Wing Ding receiving $9,188.

Council members discussed how future Wing Dings would be paid for, and agreed with Tabelski’s assessment that this would be a “one-time” transfer and that nearly $10,000 for the Wing Ding wasn’t going to be a yearly budget item.

After reiterating her stance that she is looking for future support on the Fourth of July picnic, Pacino summarized how important it is to her.

“I’ve been waiting four years to say that,” she said.

Council members agreed to move the matter to a vote during a future business meeting.


Top Photo: City Councilwoman Patti Pacino expresses concerns Monday evening about the city not funding Picnic in the Park while considering an infusion of $9,188 of leftover centennial event money into a future Wing Ding event. Above, Council President Eugene Jankowski, Paul Viele and Patti Pacino discuss the issue with remaining council members not pictured during a conference session at City Hall. Photos by Joanne Beck.

Picnic in the Park will continue virtually this year while flag hangs as usual in Centennial Park

By Howard B. Owens


Press release:

On July 4th, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., GO ART! will be holding their 42nd annual Picnic in the Park, virtually, via YouTube Live.

During this event, they will have bands, dance performances, culinary demonstrations, cow plop bingo, muralists in action, and Explore ART! lessons. 

Please subscribe to their YouTube channel at

Music performances on July 4th will be given by the Batavia Concert Band, No Blarney, Strummerz, Kelly’s Old Timers, Cannon Steel Band, The Old Hippies and Frank Reino (accordion).

Culinary Demonstrations will be performed by Chef Tracy of the Genesee Valley Education Program and Leonel Rosario of Mariachi De Oro. A menu and supply list are on their website at

David Burke will be painting a new mural on one of GO ART!’s interior walls.

Troupe Nisaa Bellydance, The Rosario Family and Shanda Spink will be gracing us with their choreography.

GO ART! staff will be giving art lessons and Uncle Sam will be leading a cow around 500 squares for GO ART!’s first Cow Plop Bingo! More information on the Cow Plop Bingo and a schedule of the days events can be found on GO ART!'s website at

GO ART!’s 42nd Annual Picnic in the Park is brought to you by The Batavian, Lamb Farms, City of Batavia, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Friends of Stephen M. Hawley, Stephen M. Hawley & Assoc. LLC -- a division of Great Lakes Insurance Services Group LLC, New York State Council on the Arts, United Way of Genesee County, United Way of Orleans County, Orleans County Youth Bureau, Rotary Club of Batavia, Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning, Freed Maxick, CY Farms, Batavia Turf, Lori Goergen, Bob & Linda Knipe, Arc of Genesee Orleans, Paul Figlow, Carrotman Productions, and Albion NY ROCKS.

Photos: American flag that is traditionally hung in Centennial Park for Picnic in the park, which was hung in the park and lit yesterday by Gregory Hallock, executive director of GO ART!


Video: Picnic in the Park 2019

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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Some sights and sounds from GO ART's annual Picnic in the Park today in Centennial Park.

GO ART's 41st Annual Picnic in the Park on Fourth of July is just around the corner

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Original Red Osier Restaurant presents GO ART!'s 41st Annual Picnic in the Park on July 4th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Centennial Park in Batavia.

Event kicks off with a Kiddie Parade. Decorating of bikes begins at 10:30. The parade takes off down Ellicott Avenue hill at 11 o'clock.

Food vendors include Red Osier, Abbott's Ice Cream, Kernel Cravin’ Kettle Corn, Lonsberry Concessions, and Over the Border!

Musical performances by Batavia Concert Band, Byrne Brothers Irish Band, and Grizzwoode.

Don't miss old-time family activities between acts, such as onion eating, sack races, tug o' war and a kids’ hula hoop contest.

Explore Arts Tent with kids’ art activities, face painting and short plays are presented in Artisan Alley. Escape Room holding a scavenger hunt.

More than 20 arts and crafts vendors on North Street and nonprofits in the lower park!

Uncle Sam wants you! at GO ART’s 41st Annual Picnic in the Park.

Centennial Park is located at 151 State St. in the city.

Photos: GO ART!'S 40th annual Picnic in the Park 2018

By Steve Ognibene


The Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford presented GO ART!'s 40th annual Picnic in the Park today in Centennial Park. There were many local nonprofit sponsored booths along with food, arts and crafts vendors.  

A variety of bands were showcased on the main stage and Buffalo Aerial Dance performed next to the stage. A kiddie parade kicked things off and children's activities continued throughout the day.




Kelly's Old Timers band





Younger sister continuing selling rubber band bracelets for Alzheimer's Research at Picnic in the Park

By Maria Pericozzi


(Submitted photo.)

Carmelina Pellegrino, an 8-year-old who lives in Batavia, has dedicated her time this summer making colorful rubber band bracelets to sell at Picnic at the Park this year, with all the proceeds being donated to Alzheimer’s Research.

A booth will be set up outside of their house at 150 State St., across from Centennial Park during Picnic at the Park on July 4th, with purple balloons and tablecloths, which is the color of Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness.

“Hopefully she can get some donations,” Angelina said.

Carmelina is going into fourth grade at John Kennedy Intermediate School in Batavia. Her older sister, Mikalina, 13, started making the bracelets a few years ago for the annual walk to end Alzheimer’s, sold the bracelets to family members, and the proceeds were donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Angelina said the family participates in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s every year in memory of family members who passed away from the disease.

“Mikalina got busy with school and Carmelina started making the bracelets not too long ago,” Angelina said.

Carmelina said she likes making the bracelets and it’s a nice idea for a good cause.

“She suggested that the day of Picnic in the Park, to set up a booth and sell the bracelets,” Angelina said.

As of Tuesday, Carmelina has made 108 bracelets, and hopes to make even more by next Wednesday.

“She is still going,” Angelina said.

Carmelina has made many types of bracelets, including bangle bracelets, and threaded bracelets with charms.

Angelina has been helping Carmelina with the bracelets.

“It’s something fun we can do together,” Angelina said. “We pop on some music or put on the TV and listen as were making them.”

Angelina is hoping people will learn about the bracelets and donate to the cause.

“It’s just an awful disease and we’re hoping one day that there will be a cure,” Angelina said. “That’s why we try to raise awareness. When you talk about cancer and heart disease, Alzheimer’s gets put on the back burner.”

GO ART!'s 40th annual Picnic in the Park is July 4 in Centennial Park

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford presents GO ART!'s 40th annual Picnic in the Park on Wednesday July 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Centennial Park. It is located at 151 State St. in the City of Batavia. 

It kicks off with a Kiddie Parade. At 10:30 a.m., kids can decorate their bikes, scooters, strollers in red, white and blue (decorations provided). At 11 a.m. the Kiddie Parade will travel down Ellicott Avenue led by Uncle Sam and Betsy Ross, and Rosie the Riveter.


11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  -- Batavia Concert Band

12:45 to 1:15 p.m.  --  Batavia High A Cappella Group

1:30 to 3 p.m.  --  Bill McDonald’s Old Hippies

3:15 to 4:45 p.m.  --  Kelly’s Old Timer’s

12:30 to 12:45 p.m.  --  Buffalo Aerial Dance

1:15 to 1:30  --  Buffalo Aerial Dance

3 to 3:15 p.m.  --  Buffalo Aerial Dance

Throughout the day there will be children's activities.

  • M. Geoffrey Clough -- Cookie Song writing
  • Explore Art Tent: Making Recycled Instruments and Music


Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant Food Truck

Abbott’s Ice Cream

Lonsberry Concessions Lemonade Stand

Kernel Cravin’ Kettle Corn

Lori’s Cookies

GO ART!  Oliver’s Candy Bars, New York Chips, Beverages, GO ART! Tee shirts


More than 30 arts & crafts vendors

Demonstrations by Local Artisans

Chris Mc Gee: Mixed Media Painting

Lydia Zwierzynski: Caricatures

Chris Hummel: Cartooning

Rick Platt & Family: Chainsaw Artist, Mixed Media Painting, Wood Working, Fabric Arts


Batavia 1st UMC
Batavia Healthcare Center
Genesee County CASA for Children
Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern
Arc of Genesee Orleans
Oakfield Betterment Committee
Knights of Columbus
City of Batavia Democratic Committee
Acorns (County Park)
GLOW Region Solid Waste Management Committee
MHA of Genesee and Orleans Counties
Out Alliance
Friends of Batavia Peace Garden


GO ART! seeks artists, crafters, vendors, nonprofits to participate in 40th annual Picnic in the Park

By Billie Owens

GO ART! is seeking artists, crafters and vendors to participate in the 40th annual Picnic in the Park on Wednesday, July 4, at Centennial Park in the City of Batavia. Nonprofit organizations are welcome, too.

The event will start at 11 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Setup begins at 8 a.m. and must be completed by 10 a.m.

Vendors are encouraged to sell artworks and handcrafted items.

"Buy and sell" iteme should be limited. GO ART! retains the right to refuse applications as they deem necessary. Approval will be given via email or phone.

Entries received after June 30 will not be accepted.

For arts and crafts vendors, there is a non-refundable entry fee per space of $50 for nonmembers and $40 for members if paid by June 1. After June 1, the fees are $20 more -- $70 and $60, respectively.

There is no fee for nonprofit organizations. Solicitations are not permitted in the park, but may be conducted at the nonprofit's display.

Vendors provide their own equipment including tables, chairs, signs, canopies, etc. No electricity is available. Spaces are 10' by 10' and marked, but not assigned -- first come, first served. Each vendor is responsible for collecting/reporting all applicable state and local sales tax (Genesee County sales tax is 8 percent).

To get additional details and applications to print out and mail in, click here. There is a link for arts and crafts vendors, and another one for nonprofit organizations.

For more information, please visit, call 585-343-9313 or email

GO ART! extends 'enormous thank you to all who attended' Picnic in the Park

By Billie Owens

Press release:

GO ART! would like to extend an enormous thank you to all who attended our 39th Annual Picnic in the Park presented by the Red Osier. Mother Nature blessed us with amazing weather allowing us the liberties to gather and enjoy the festivities from morning until early evening.

We cannot emphasize enough how much we enjoy having the kids participate in the parade nor how much we enjoy seeing family and friends visiting and laughing as they relaxed in their lawn chairs.

Michelle Cryer and team worked tirelessly to schedule and commit the artisans, vendors, non-profits, stage delivery, trash cans and everything your eyes and ears took in on Tuesday. A big job well done by all.

And how about those bands?! The feedback on the bands has been fantastic. We didn’t expect the headliner Britishmania to take as long as they did to set up, but the wait was worth it. Everyone loved them and they played longer than scheduled to make up for the extra time they took getting into their Beatles mindset.  It was the biggest crowd after 4 pm in over a decade.

Once again… thank you everyone for spending your morning, afternoon and evening with us.

And a big thank you to all our sponsors: The Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union, City of Batavia, Rotary Club of Batavia, Pinnacle Manufacturing Company, Inc., Quality Inn, Stephen M. Hawley & Assoc. LLC, Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning, Julia Garver & Joseph Ruh, Freed Maxick, Batavia Kiwanis Club, Arc of Genesee Orleans, Bob & Linda Knipe, Carrotman Productions, City of Batavia DPW, CY Farms / Batavia Turf, Diane & Hirman Kasten, DRH Construction, Max Pies Furniture, The Porter Family, Valle Jewelers, WBTA, Bouchard Financial Services LLC, McGinnis Excavating & Plumbing Inc.

Photos: GO ART! Picnic in the Park 2017

By Maria Pericozzi


The 39th annual GO ART! Picnic in the Park was Tuesday, starting at 11 a.m., featuring music, food, arts and crafts, and family fun at Centennial Park in Batavia. 

Britishmania, a Beatles Tribute Band, was the headlining act on the stage, promoting the "Summer of Love" theme. 










Council sponsorship brings some 'vibrancy' to city's summer event schedule

By Mike Pettinella

Batavia City Council members on Monday night decided to make the city a bit more "vibrant" this summer by passing a resolution to allocate $4,000 to the Picnic in the Park event at Centennial Park on the Fourth of July weekend.

The funds will be transferred from the committed fund balance -- money from the now-defunct Vibrant Batavia initiative -- to the general fund. As of March 31, the committed fund balance was $52,611.

Council's vote was 8-1 with Rose Mary Christian dissenting.

"I stated before that this would get a precedent started -- and I think that is what is going to happen," she said.

City officials and event organizers have said that the Picnic in the Park was in danger of not continuing beyond this year due to budget constraints.

With the contribution, the city will be named as a sponsor of the 2017 event, which reportedly will include a Beatles tribute band.

Picnic in the Park organizers ask City Council to provide more funding to help hold event this year

By Howard B. Owens

With only one dissenting vote, the Batavia City Council last night agreed to take up the issue at its next meeting of providing $4,000 to GO ART! to help fund the July 4 Picnic in the Park.

The GO ART! Board almost didn't approve hosting the annual event in Centennial Park because of financial concerns. 

There was a time when the city provided GO ART! with $5,000 in annual funding. That assistance has been cut back to $2,500. This year, the county cut its funding to the arts council by 10 percent. Local donations continue to be hard to generate.

"We have a small number of businesses that support everything in our community and we tap them a lot," GO ART! Director Jennifer Gray told the council last night during a short presentation about the need for the assistance.

GO ART! was all set to drop the event when Michelle Crier came forward and offered to chair the event committee in an effort to keep it going at least one more year.

Gray said Picnic in the Park has never been a moneymaker, but it's at least broken even some years.

It costs $12,000 to host.

Council members had some questions about where the money was going to come from, with Al McGinnis raising a question about funds being transferred from the former Vibrant Batavia account. He said he thought that account was rolled back into the general fund. 

City Manager Jason Molino said that money remained earmarked, with approval of the council, for neighborhood projects and Picnic in the Park fit that criteria.

Gray, Crier and council members all mentioned how the community has lost some significant events in recent years, such as Summer in the City, the St. Joe's Lawn Fete, the Elba Onion Festival, and the Stafford Carnival.

Councilman John Canale noted that without Summer in the City and the Lawn Fete to support, the city was saving some money on those events.

"If we can look at some savings where events have been canceled, we can also apply some of those dollars towards the arts council," Canale said.

The council will vote on a resolution to approve the funding at its next business meeting, April 10. Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian voted no on the motion to consider the resolution at the business meeting.

Canale said he was a supporter of the arts -- he's a musician himself -- but in looking out for his constituents, he had to ask why the arts council was running into difficulty funding Picnic in the Park this year.

Gray said it's always been a struggle. The event was saved last year by a donation from the Red Osier restaurant in Stafford. 

Councilwoman Patti Pacino said another way of looking at it is that Gray is bringing more fiscal discipline to the arts council.

"A lot of the difference is we now have Jennifer Gray running this and she’s a businesswoman and she’s saying, ‘wait a minute, we can’t go in the drain every single year over Picnic in the Park,' " Pacino said.

Crier said she stepped up and volunteered to chair the picnic committee because she thinks it's an important community event, especially in light of other traditional events coming to an end.

"My husband and I moved here in 2000 from Buffalo," she said. "We raised our child in this community and I can’t image raising them anywhere else. Being in Batavia with the activities and the sense of community, you don't find that anywhere, especially on the west side of Buffalo. It’s a safe and beautiful community and it’s because of these events, because that’s where we see our neighbors, see our community."

Also at Monday's meeting:

  • Council considered an application from a group planning a rally at 8:15 a.m., April 8, on East Main Street, on the north side of the street near Clinton Street. The rally will protest Congressman Chris Collins. Councilman Bob Bialkowski raised concerns about whether the group would be trespassing on private property -- the Aldi's parking lot -- and City Manager Jason Molino said that was between the property owner and the rally organizers. He also said that technically, the organizers didn't need to apply for a permit. So long as the sidewalk or traffic isn't blocked, it's a permissible activity.  
  • Three people spoke against a proposed 80-unit apartment complex proposed for East Main Street that DePaul Community Services would like to build. The apartments would target veterans and their families as residents. A zoning change would be required and the property would become nonprofit owned. Councilman Al McGinnis shared the speakers' concerns about the project and objected to his conception that DePaul was looking to profit off of veterans, and that as a veteran he believed veterans wanted to live in houses and be part of the community. Apartments, he said, change the nature of the community. "This is a city of families," McGinnis told WBTA after the meeting. "Families are close-knit. Families live in houses. They become neighborhoods. I honestly think that too many apartments make for too many transients."
  • The City Council agreed to vote on a resolution at its business meeting to declare four submachine guns in the Police Department as surplus so they can be traded for rifles that Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said better meet the department's strategic needs.
  • The council also agreed to vote on a resolution at its next meeting to authorize spending $5,000 on a property appraisal on the former Wiard Plow Factory site on Swan Street. A city-appointed committee had recommended the site last fall as the best location for a new police headquarters, but property owner Tom Mancuso initially said he had other plans for the property. Just before the end of the year, he agreed to discuss a sale of the property to the city. The first step is getting an appraisal to determine fair market value, Molino said. If the owner was willing to sell at that price, the city would then need to complete an environmental review and title search before entering into a cost-analysis phase. With those details completed, the council then could consider whether to move foward with the project and complete the land purchase.

Photos: Picnic in the Park 2015

By Howard B. Owens


Doug Fancher, of Basom, and his 3-year-old grandson Callum, of Batavia, play shadow baseball under the giant flag at GO ART!'s annual Picnic in the Park in Centennial Park on Saturday.

Fancher said Callum is obsessed with baseball. At the Muckdogs' game the other night, he peppered his grandpa with questions about the game. He loves the Yankees and also thinks the Pirates are pretty cool.

Here are more pictures from Saturday...











GO Art! announces schedule for Batavia's annual Picnic in the Park

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

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


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 or for more information.

Photos: A bit of Picnic in the Park 2014

By Howard B. Owens

I was driving to Centennial Park on July 4th afternoon when we got the call for the fire in Bethany, so I didn't make Picnic in the Park until things were winding down.

I did get to meet Hiawatha and her owner Brian, which was fun, and I enjoyed some great Celtic music by Gan Ainm.


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