SALAMANCA — Just as the leaves begin to fall, preparations for the 42nd annual Salamanca Seneca Falling Leaves Festival are nearly finalized with many favorite attractions returning.
This year’s festival, hosted by the City of Salamanca and the Seneca Nation of Indians, features many activities, events, contests, entertainers and more for the whole family between Friday and Sunday, Oct. 4-6.
“I think it’s going to be better than last year,” said Jodi Scanlan, a festival organizer. “Every year its grown and done well and the community seems to support it, and it’s a fun thing to be a part of.”
The organizing committee of community volunteers has been planning for months trying to make this year’s Falling Leaves Festival bigger — and better — than ever.
“We’ve got so much going on,” said festival organizer Kathy Sarver. “We try to add a little more every year.”
The weekend kicks off Friday afternoon with the return of “I Got It,” which will open in the park at 4 p.m. Then at 5 o’clock, Championship Wrestling will entertain festival-goers with an exciting show, a big hit with the kids last year that’s sure to entertain them again.
Dozens of food and craft vendors will be on-site throughout the weekend, opening at noon on Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. A live DJ will also be in the park 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Once again, much of the festival is free of charge, especially for kids and their families. The carnival rides, children’s activities through the youth center such as face painting and a bounce house, as well as a caricature artist, photo booth and dunk tank are all free to the public.
“Everybody can enjoy the festival, and that’s what’s great about it,” Sarver said. “It’s for the whole community.”
Several games and contests will take place Saturday afternoon, including a pie-eating contest, a hot dog eating contest and kids games in the park.
In order to plan for unpredictable weather, an 80-foot by 40-foot tent will be set up in the center of Jefferson Street Park.
For Saturday’s musical entertainment, the WNY Fiddle Kids will take the stage at 1 p.m., followed by the Cold Spring Indian Dancers at 3 o’clock. Capping off entertain Saturday is the festival dance in the park at 4:30 with live music from Porcelain Busdrivers.
New this year, Sunday begins with a community church service at 10:30 with eight local churches coming together. All are invited to attend.
And just like clockwork, the grand parade will be the finale of the festival weekend at 1 p.m. Sunday followed by the concert featuring three marching bands in the park.
After the bands wrap up their setlists, Buffalo-area singer/songwriter Stephen Piotrowski will perform live in the park. The beer tent in the park will also be televising the Buffalo Bills game.
Finally, the climax of the weekend will be the Wind Tunnel Money Machine where 10 lucky ticket holders will have the opportunity to grab hundreds of dollars in cash.
“Giving back to our community is always important,” Scanlan said. “It’s a positive thing for the people, and being able to provide something free for families to come down to — free carnival rides and entertainment for the weekend — is a positive sign. And it helps bring our community together.”