Celebrate Historical Orleans County at First Annual Heritage Festival

Priceless Historic Places, Organizations and Assets Appreciated September 9 – 11

Batavia, NY- With focus on four local themes: Agriculture, Transportation, Historic Gems and Historical Cemeteries, the first annual Orleans County Heritage Festival will celebrate some of the region’s priceless historic places, organizations and assets, Friday through Sunday, September 9 – 11, 2016. The county-wide celebration includes 29 locations of historical and cultural significance to deepen the appreciation of Orleans County today, tomorrow and in the years past.

“This event truly illustrates how much this area has to offer,” Derek Maxfield, GCC associate professor of history and a festival organizer said. “Each location ties into one of the four themes giving community residents of all ages a chance to appreciate our history while enjoying a fun, family-friendly, end of summer outing.”

Under the Agriculture theme, visitors are invited to explore six locations: Partyka Farms, LynOaken Farms & Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, Hurd Orchards, Watt Farms Country Market, Roberts Farm Market and Orleans Poverty Hill Farms. Visitors will be able to sample heritage recipes and tour some working farms.

The Historic Cemeteries theme includes Beechwood, Boxwood, Greenwood, Hillside and Mount Albion Cemeteries. There will be guided tours at Boxwood and Mount Albion and even a ghost walk at Hillside Cemetery.

Historic Gems includes tours of the Albion Historic District led by County Historian Matt Ballard, Clarendon Historical Society, the Cobblestone Historical Society & Museum, the Company F Memorial at the former Medina Armory, the Medina Historic District and Sandstone Hall of Fame, the Medina Historical Society and Robin Hill Nature Preserve.

The Transportation themed attractions include the East Avenue Lift Bridge (Holley), The Erie Canal Culvert, Medina Railroad Museum, Murray-Holley Historical Society Depot Museum, the Oak Orchard Lighthouse, Tillman’s Village Inn and the Vintage Aircraft Group’s “fly-in” breakfast at Pine Hill Airport.

The Erie Canal Culvert is the featured element on the Heritage Festival logo. 

From all the 29 potential stops, the following three represent unique educational opportunities: 

  1. The Hoag Library at 143 South Main Street in Albion kicks off the Heritage Festival on Friday, Sept. 9 from 7 to 8 p.m. with live music and a reception, and is the perfect place to pick up the Festival brochure which includes a county wide map with all 29 locations highlighted.

“Obtaining the Heritage Festival brochure is really the first step to make the most of this weekend-long opportunity,” said Lynne Menz, Orleans County Director of Tourism. “All locations will have brochures, and you can also pick them up at the Orleans County Tourism Office at 14016 Route 31 West in Albion and at any of the participating locations. Mapping out your weekend journey over time and place will be part of the family fun.”

  1. GCC’s Medina Campus Center located at 11470 Maple Ridge Road provides a timeline festival featuring reenactors, impressionists and artisans from all eras of American history. From President James and Dolley Madison to President Abraham Lincoln, as well as artisan demonstrations, antique automobiles and Civil War ammunition demos—the event has something for everyone. Entry is free, but donations to the College’s Student Veteran’s Scholarship fund are welcome.
  2. The Albion Campus Center located at 456 West Avenue introduces the public to the ways of death from the bygone era. “Death, Mourning and Justice in Orleans County” recreates a Victorian wake in the family parlor including a glass casket. In addition, Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone presents a lecture on “Famous Crimes & Murders” on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 11 a.m., followed by the “Victorian Memorials Using Human Hair” lecture by award-winning historian Bill Lattin at 12 p.m. The Orleans County Genealogical Society will also be on hand to help you research your ancestry. Entry is free, but donations to the College’s Student Veterans Scholarship fund are welcome.

From each of the 29 festival sites, six represent Agriculture, six Historical Cemeteries, seven Historical Gems, seven Transportation sites and three Education sites. All sites give each visitor a special Heritage Festival ribbon. Those participants who visit at least three sites during the Festival weekend will receive the limited edition, collectable button designed by local artist Kim Martillotta-Muscarella. The ribbons can be pinned onto the button, and all button recipients earn a chance to win great prizes donated by area businesses.

The Orleans County Heritage Festival continues the successful series of Civil War Initiatives including the Civil War Encampments that occurred at the Medina Campus Center in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The collaborative event is being coordinated by Genesee Community College and theOrleans County Tourism Office. For more information, including a complete listing of Festival locations and schedule, visit the Festival website at www.orleansnyheritage.com. Other Festival inquiries can be directed to the GCC Medina Campus Center at (585) 798-1688 or the GCC Albion Campus Center at (585) 589-4936.

For more information or supporting graphics, please contact Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: dsutherland@genesee.edu.


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Editor’s Note:


To view the Orleans County Heritage Festival logo, please go to: