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Niagara County Peach Festival organizers hope for a sunny Sunday

Niagara County Peach Festival organizers hope for a sunny Sunday Adam Gow and his wife, Haley, of Kenmore, brave the rain Saturday for the 56th annual Niagara County Peach Festival in Lewiston. The festival attendance numbers took a hit from the weather. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

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LEWISTON – The nearly deserted midway, the easy parking and the bored-looking vendors told their own story on a rainy Saturday afternoon: the Niagara County Peach Festival took a hit from the weather.

But with today’s forecast much improved, Kiwanis Club organizers are hoping that the crowds return as they did Friday night, when the 56th annual festival opened successfully.

The event in Academy Park on Center Street continues from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and the turnout is more than a matter of pride.

“I believe there are 56 organizations looking for donations or cash,” said Gary Rose, co-chairman of the peach shortcake concession. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year.”

Most of those who did brave the wet weather were gathered under the peach shortcake tent, where the festival’s signature delicacy was dished out.

“When it starts to rain, everybody comes under the tent and gets shortcake,” said Paul Orsi, a past president of the Lewiston Kiwanis.

Rose said Singer Farms of Olcott, owned by Jim Bittner, had supplied 5½ to six tons of peaches, with another ton and a half on standby in his cold storage building.

The Kiwanians never skimp on the peaches, either. Each $5 serving of shortcake is thoroughly buried in peaches and then covered with a mountain of whipped cream.

Often the actual shortcake is invisible, but it’s there. The Kiwanis ordered 500 dozen from DiCamillo’s Bakery in Niagara Falls, Rose said.

“We’re very generous,” said Rose, who was pumping the whipped cream from a hose connected to a pressurized cylinder. “They insist. They want people to be happy and they want them to come back next year.”

Frank Fracassi, shortcake co-chairman, said the recipe contained in each 64-ounce cylinder is four quarts of heavy cream, five ounces of rock-candy syrup and a charge of nitrous oxide as propellent. Rose said they expect to use 500 quarts of cream during the weekend.

Farmers selling their fruit by the basket said this has been an excellent year for peaches. Mike Tuck of Sanger Farms in Youngstown said, “The quality was exceptional this year and the numbers are just phenomenal because of the rain, the wet spring.”

The weather caused preliminary events in the Peach Blossom, Peach Fuzz and Peach Queen contests to be moved to the Lewiston Fire Company hall, but assuming good weather, the crownings will occur on the main stage tonight.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

  • letsbehonest

    Mary Alice Demler might be the worst newscaster in the business. She not only states the obvious, most of her comments are just plain dumb. In fact, she is an anchor - really weighs down the Channel 2 newscasts. Unfortunately, she is not the only drag on that station.

  • MarcBolan

    Your comment about Maryalice calling the hostage outcome a "tragic end" contradicts the very newspaper you work for. This morning, the Buffalo News headline for the story contained similar wording. I believe it was "....ends tragically." I see that it has since been changed. I happen to agree with you on your main point. But you may want to report on your own publication's questionable decisions from time to time, as well.

  • BuffaloJimmy

    Mary Alice falls behind Jackie Walker, Keith Radford and her idiot co-anchor Scott Levin when it comes to worst anchor in the Buffalo Market


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