ELLINGTON- Families and residents of Ellington came together Friday for the 102nd annual Ellington Town Picnic.
"It really brings the town together," Esther Horton said. "You see a lot of people you haven't seen in a long time."
Matt Pickup, the 2014 president of the Ellington Town Picnic Association, said people who grew up in Ellington but moved away plan family vacations around the town picnic. He spoke of a family from Utah who comes back to New York every year to attend the picnic.
Pictured, from top to bottom, are Rainbow the Clown posing with Falicia and IrisRose Donnell; Parker Simmons, winner of the stroller contest with his kiss booth; and Amy and Fred Fisher preparing pizzas on Friday.
Photos by Mallory Diefenbach
"It's tradition," Jerry Howe said. "I grew up in town, and I come up here from New York City."
The Ellington Town Picnic Association begins planning for the event in January. Three major fundraisers go on throughout the year to help support the festival. A Christmas Avenue in December, bingo in January and a breakfast in April all help support the festival.
"We appreciate all the community's help of running this from year to year," said Pickup. "Without help, we have nothing."
New to the town picnic this year was a photo contest. Judged by Jim Roach of Roach Photography, there were five categories contestants could enter into. The winning photos hang in the Fire Hall and can be viewed from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. today. For animals and scenery for 18 years and under, first place went to Adon Swanson for "Mushroom Falls," second went to Alex Shipherd for "Spotted" and third went to Jon Little for "Rocky Road." Alex Shipherd won first place in machinery 18 years and under for "A Day's Work" and Holly Gisith won machinery 18 years and older for "Children/Tractor." For animals for over 18 years, Kathleen Cronk came in first for "Against the Clouds," second went to Laurel Austin Smith for "Moth," third went to Phil Cronk in "Trail Time" and Debbie Rhinehart earned an honorable mention for "Bird." Kyla Piscitelli won everything for scenery over 18 with "Rain's Magic" coming in first, "The Running Man" in second, "Simplicity" in third and "A Pure Bliss" earning a honorable mention.
The Ellington Town Picnic also moved its decorated bicycle, tricycle and stroller contest from Saturday to Friday in hopes to attract more children, who tend to come on the first day of the festival. Parker Simmons won the stroller contest, Lyla Gagnon won the tricycle contest and Dylan Walters won the bicycle contest.
However, not everything was new; Fowler's Taffy returned once again to the Ellington Town Picnic. The family-owned business started in 1910 and has been selling taffy since the beginning of the festival.
"We've been here since the beginning," said Jean Fowler, a third-generation owner of Fowler's Taffy who largely serves Western New York and parts of Western Pennsylvania. "We enjoy it. The park is beautiful."
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
The Ellington Town Picnic will continue today from 9:30 a.m. and go until 10 p.m. Starting at 9:30 a.m., registration for the baby show at the fire hall will begin, with the show beginning at 10 a.m. The wood-cutting contest in the park will start at 11 a.m. and the registration for the pet show in the park will begin at 11:15 a.m. and the pet contest will start at 11:30 a.m. Additionally, at 11:30 a.m. a chicken BBQ by the Ellington Volunteer Fire Department will take place.
At noon rides open and at 1 p.m. the cake and cupcake contest registration in the park and bingo begins in the Fire Hall. At 2 p.m. the horseshoe pitching contest starts behind the library and at 2:15 p.m. the cake and cupcake contest winners will be announced and an auction to benefit the town picnic will begin.
At 3 p.m. there will be fun and games for children and teenagers and at 3:15 p.m. the Touch of the Old Wild West Show will begin. At 4 p.m. Backwoods Bluegrass will begin to play music and at 4:30 p.m. will be smorgasbord at the fire hall.
The parade line lineup at the town ball field will begin at 5 p.m. and the parade will start at 6 p.m. At 8 p.m. the winners of the parade will be announced.
Starting at 7:15 p.m. Paul Zittle and Pure Country will play their music and the fireworks display by Gibson Fireworks will finish the evening at 10 p.m.
On Sunday at 10 a.m. the non-denominational church service will be held in the park. If it rains, it will be held at the Ellington Community Church. At 1 p.m. the Southern Tier mini Tractor Pullers will be at the town ballfield.