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Plans for Town of Great Valley Bicentennial Taking Shape

By Deb Everts

Plans are coming together well for the Town of Great Valley Bicentennial that begins April 15. Committee members met Tuesday evening at the town hall to review and finalize some of the events scheduled for the celebration.

Genealogist Dawn Westfall said there’s a lot going on and different people have taken on different projects, but it’s coming along nicely. She said, as the saying goes, “Many hands make light work,” so if anyone wants to step up and try to help out wherever they can, the committee can still use some extra hands.

Westfall commented on the status of a few of the bicentennial events. She said people planning to attend the Great Gatsby Costume Party should call Gail Archer at (716) 258-0099 to make their reservations now.

“So far, we have 20 confirmed reservations, but we can only accept a maximum of 40 people,” she said.

The Vintage Airplane Fly-in, scheduled for June 29-30 and July 1, will include a veterans’ display. Westfall said Town Historian Marilyn Eddy Siperek has been working on the lists and, so far, she has completed the lists of Great Valley’s veterans from the Civil War and World War II, and is currently working on World War I.

“We are looking for volunteers to help prepare the display boards,” she said. “The committee would like to do a ceremony to honor Great Valley’s veterans, if somebody would be willing to take that project on. We want to recognize our men and women who are serving, or have served in the armed forces.”

Westfall said they have finished the sales of the calendars and plan to issue raffle tickets at the Pioneer Tea to have a drawing for the remaining calendars.

Confirmed events for the bicentennial schedule include:

• Sunday, April 15: Pioneer Certificates presented at the Pioneer Tea, an invitation only event, to be held at the Evergreen Tea Room from 1-2:30 p.m. Afterward, the Town Birthday Party, open to the public, will kick off at the Evergreen Tea Room from 3-5 p.m. The birthday cake will be provided by Katy Arena. A tour of the Evergreen Tea Room at the former Plank Road House will be offered. Call for an appointment or tours will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

• Saturday, May 19, evening (time to be determined): The Great Gatsby Costume Party at the town hall. Live three-piece band. If desired, attendees may bring their own alcoholic beverage. Punch and light snacks will be provided courtesy of sponsor and hostess Gail Archer. Help is available with costuming. Reservations are required. The event is expected to fill up quickly, so call Archer at (716) 258-0099 to reserve a spot.

• Saturday, June 2: Heritage Day (Kill Buck) will coordinate with Heritage Day at Seneca

Iroquois National Museum.

• June 29-30 and July 1: Vintage Airplane fly-in. Planes will begin arriving Friday and will continue to fly in Saturday. They will be on display for the public to view. Rain day Sunday. More details are expected to be available in early April. Call organizer Paul Carmichael at (716) 307-5832 for more information.

• Saturday July 21: Old Home Days Community Celebration Day. Bounce houses, dunk tank, fireworks, parade, street dance, food vendors. Sponsored by the Great Valley Volunteer Fire Department. Old-fashioned contests sponsored by Great Valley Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary. There will be a charge for the chicken barbecue, but everything else is free.

• Sunday July 22: Old Home Days continues with “Farming in Great Valley: Then and Now,” in the Willoughby area. Event will take place at Snow Brook Farms, 5346 Snow Brook Road. Hosted by Dan and Marcy Brown, and Jim Brennan family. Display of old and antique farm equipment, implements and tools. Tour of a robotic milking operation.

The next planning meeting will be held April 10 at the Evergreen Team, located at 5997 Route 98, in Great Valley, from 7 to 8 p.m.

For more information and new additions to the schedule, visit “Town of Great Valley, NY History” on Facebook. Watch for updates in the local newspapers. Join the email list by contacting Town Historian, Marilyn Eddy Siperek at msiperek@aol.com.

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