By Alicia Yeager,
ALCS Student Correspondent
It’s that time of year again, and with autumn comes the annual, much-anticipated Falling Leaves Festival, taking place at Salamanca’s Jefferson Street Park from Sept. 29-30. It’s the festival’s 35th anniversary, and with new events this year, it’s a great place to take the family and friends.
“Our fall festival is unique in that we have a hidden treasure in our community – our Seneca artists. This will be the second year we are highlighting Seneca Culture and Heritage. It is important to embrace our local artists and educate visitors on the rich culture. The chamber feels it is very important to promote our artists and it’s a great showcase at the festival,” says Jenny Ingrao, member services and events manager with the Seneca Salamanca Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber is highly involved in the activities, participating as the event organizer.
“We are the driving force for the festival,” Ingrao says, explaining that the chamber of commerce recruits vendors, promotes the festival and organizes the games, along with help from the area.
The festival features arts and crafts vendors, a farmers market, food concessions, a visiting bird rehab center, a car show on Main Street, doughnut eating and hula-hoop contests, a community circus, a performance by the Salamanca dance center and, of course, the much looked forward to Seneca Culture and Heritage Exhibit including artwork by Carson Waterman.
There will also be a 5K walk/run sponsored by ACHIEVE at 8 a.m. on Saturday, a frozen t-shirt contest, the Grand Parade from 1–3 p.m. on Sunday, and a tug of war contest.
On Saturday, the Falling Leaves Festival kicks off at 8 a.m. when the pancake breakfast begins, and runs until 9 p.m. topped by live music of the Blues Hounds. On Sunday, the festival will run from 11 a.m., when the Seneca Culture and Heritage Exhibit opens, until 5 p.m. and will again end with live music by Oliverio.
Both days will be filled with family-friendly activities fun for all ages. The kids can enjoy the petting zoo and carnival rides, while the adults may enjoy the beer tent by the VFW and the Native Roots Artists Guild demonstrations.
The 14th annual 3-on-3 Basketball Tourney may catch your eye, or take in the Seneca Cultural Short Film and Food Tasting by Terry Jones.
With all of these wonderful activities taking place surrounded by the beautiful fall foliage of late September, this festival, filled with food, competitions, Native American heritage events and the scenery of the Allegheny Mountains, is sure to bring a day of fun, photographs, smiles, and years of memories.
Residents and visitors alike look forward to the Falling Leaves Festival every year and it has always been a very successful event. This year, organizers expect over 8,000 visitors, and it is not surprising, since it has been a beloved event for 35 years now, actively supported by the town and community, and loved by all who attend. For more information, visit www.salamancachamber.org.