Lewiston Officials Concerned About 2020 Peach Festival

Village board to vote on Academy Park venue

August 19, 2019 - 2:29 pm
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LEWISTON (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - The annual Niagara County Peach Festival is set to kick off in just over two weeks, but it's next year's festival that have some Lewiston officials concerned.

Essentially, Lewiston Mayor Anne Welch has informed the Kiwanis Club that she'd like to see the 2020 festival moved out of Academy Park and possibly to the plateau location above Artpark.

"The mayor wants to make some upgrades to Academy Park, and she believes that the upgrades to Academy Park are going to make it so the Peach Festival can't be held there," said Kiwanis Club President Marty Pauly. "She's also concerned that we have a lot of heavy equipment on the ground there, and especially if it rains, the grass and the ground gets broken and has to be repaired."

In addition, Pauly notes that there are several concerns with the location that Welch proposed. The Peach Festival was held at the plateau above Artpark about 20 years ago.

"When they had it up there one of the times, it rained," said Pauly. "There's a fear that the ground might now be as solid to absorb the rain with heavy equipment on it as Academy Park is."

There's also a concern about basic infrastructure at that venue as well, as it may lack proper electrical and water capabilities.

Pauly says Kiwanis has applied to use Academy Park for the 2020 festival, and he hopes the answer to that comes Monday night as the village board holds a meeting to discuss it.

"We would like to work with the village board of trustees to make upgrades to the park that they want to but still make it so that we can have the Peach Festival there; at the moment, we're not in communication about that regard," he said. "As for the potential that might occur with the large equipment, Kiwanis works with the Town of Lewiston, as they have the bigger equipment to fix up the field. They will always come in and repair what needs repairing, which is pretty much just flattening out the grass again and putting more grass seed down."

When asked if there's a chance the Peach Festival won't happen at all next year:

"I guess there's always a chance - I'm not going to say that there's a great chance," he said. "I do believe our club is strong, and I do believe we'll find a way to make it work. I do think the Peach Festival will happen in 2020, but I think there's a greater chance that it could not happen in Lewiston in 2020."

Listen to the full conversation with Pauly below:

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