SALAMANCA - As the leaves change colors, festivals to honor and celebrate those colors, and the cultures that have lived amid them, take place. Saturday and Sunday will be one such celebration as the 36th annual Falling Leaves Festival graces Jefferson Street Park.
Started as a way to promote the culture of the Seneca Nation of Indians, as well as the relationship between the nation and the city of Salamanca, the celebration will have the cultural aspect with demonstrations of Seneca arts, food and entertainment.
The event kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m., when a cancer awareness walk will take place in Vets Park, on Broad Street. Registration for the walk will be at 9 a.m.. Jefferson Street Park will be filled with food vendors, selling their wares to festival-goers. Children will be able to take advantage of bounce houses and a petting zoo during the festival, as well. Much of the entertainment has been offered to visitors for free, at no charge to the taxpayers of the city, according to information from city officials.
On Sunday, the annual parade will take place, starting near the Historic Dudley Hotel, moving south, along Main Street. The route will take the parade units to the intersection of Main and Broad streets, turning west and proceeding to the Simon Bolivar Triangle Park, at High Street, where it will dissolve. Units are expected to line up around 2 p.m. with the parade to follow shortly thereafter.
This year's festival had started with a move to Allegany State Park, as offered by the Salamanca Chamber of Commerce. But, a presentation to the residents of the city, as well as the members of the Common Council, resulted in public outcry and city Mayor Carmen Vecchiarella, taking action. After what seemed to be unrelenting on the plan to move the festival, at least in part, to an area of the state park, Vecchiarella and his councilmembers took the festival into their own hands to keep it in the city of Salamanca.
"This is something that gives the city an identity," he said at the late-July meeting. "We have to keep it here for the benefit of the people of the city and for the merchants that rely in it every year."
The festival, at the Jefferson Street Park, starts at 11. a.m. Saturday closing for the day at 7 p.m. Sunday will have an opening of 11 a.m. and a closing of 5 p.m.
Throughout the weekend, Main Street will be lined with classic cars and other vehicles, as classic cars take over the historic downtown area of the City, from Atlantic to River Streets. Travelers may want to reroute, as Main Street will be closed for the festival.
IF YOU GO ...
Visitors to the festival can find the event by traveling:
From the west:
Follow I-86 to Exit 20. Turn left off the ramp, onto Broad Street. Follow Broad Street through the City. Jefferson Street Park is near the intersection of Main and Broad streets.
From the North:
Follow Route 219 south into the city. At the Junction of Broad Street/Route 417, turn right. Follow that road over the bridge. At the light, Jefferson Street Park will be on the left, just past the drug store.
From the east:
Follow I-86 to Exit 21. Turn right, off the ramp. Take a left at the intersection with Broad Street/Route 417. Jefferson Street Park will be on the left , just past the drug store at the light.