Labor Of Love

At the start of each September, many area residents gather in Bergman Park to celebrate a year’s worth of hard work during Jamestown’s annual Labor Day Festival.

The 34th annual Labor Day Festival of Jamestown is set for Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The event will feature a wide variety of activities for people of all ages. Local vendors will serve food, and raise money for community-based organizations and area musicians will perform on two stages. It will also include, arts and crafts, kids’ activities, a 5k run, a labor award ceremony and a fireworks display by Zambelli.

“One thing that we’re thrilled about is that since its inception it seems to be getting bigger and better every year, and this year is certainly no exception to that rule,” Mayor Sam Teresi said. “There’s always something new at the festival … but the major tenets always seem to stay in place: it’s about food, fun, music, family, community and fireworks.”

According to Julia Ciesla-Hanley, City of Jamestown Parks Department recreation coordinator, in addition to continuing the tradition of success that the festival has had in the past, some new events have been added to improve the quality of the experience for area residents.

“One of those is a Zumba fitness party held at the Danielson softball field, which will benefit Jamestown Public Schools, and is being organized by Rudy Andolora and Vincent Liuzzo,” Ciesla-Hanley said. “If you haven’t done Zumba before, it’s a Latin-inspired dance that originated in South America and made its way here to America.”

Registration for the Zumba fitness party begins at 4 p.m., with the actual benefit occurring from 5-6:30 p.m. The fee to participate is $10, but those who bring a donation of a backpack with school supplies will receive a discount.

Also new to the festival this year is the Shire of Heronter Medieval Demonstrations event held at the Cal Ripken Field from 3-7 p.m. The event is organized by the Society for Creative Anachronism.

“They will be doing demonstrations, which include arts and sciences kind of crafting,” Ciesla-Hanley said. “They will explain some of the history behind Medieval crafting, as well as some arms demonstrations in the field.”

The vendors at the event represent non-profit community organizations, and the festival acts as a fundraiser for the groups. New as vendors to the event this year are Sons of Amvets 726, who will host a chicken barbecue, and the Reg Lenna Center For the Arts will be the hotdog vendor.

“The money they make stays in the community and benefits the community,” Ciesla-Hanley said.

“This is a major fundraising opportunity for community-based organizations to then take all of the profit that they realize from the Labor Day Festival and plow it back into the community for the services they provide throughout the rest of the year,” Teresi added. “It’s not just a great day out for everybody to celebrate the workforce and to have a good day of family-fun, but it goes back into building the community thereafter.”

Live entertainment will be provided by area musicians such as: Teachers, Preachers and Trent, 12:30-2 p.m., main stage; The Bogarts, 2:30-4 p.m., main stage; Total Chaos, 5-6:30 p.m., main stage; Two For Flinching, 7-8:30 p.m., main stage; Jamestown Harmony Express, noon-1 p.m., second stage; Razzer’s Jazzers, 1:30-2:30 p.m., second stage; and SYMBA, 3-4 p.m., second stage.

The festival also continues annual traditions such as: the Chautauqua Striders Dan Feather 5k Run, registration begins at 8 a.m.; the George Ritzer Labor Award dedication ceremony, which is presented by the Jamestown Area Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, begins at 4 p.m.; and the annual fireworks extravaganza, provided by Zambelli International, will begin at 8:30 p.m.

“It’s undoubtedly one of the best (fireworks) shows, not just in this area, but probably Western New York,” Ciesla-Hanley said. “Zambelli does fantastic work, and we’re very lucky to be able to get them.”

“We’ve become known for basically the best pyrotechnics display that you’re going to see in this part of the state – maybe the whole state,” Teresi added. “The fireworks display has become the signature event of the festival, and we’re trying to encourage people that if you really want not just to see, but to experience the fireworks – your best viewing areas are in the park. So, come early to pick your spot.”

Now in its 34th year, the annual Labor Day Festival celebration continues the tradition of honoring Jamestown’s labor force by giving the community the means to host an event for the betterment of the community, Teresi said.

“As a college intern I was involved with the planning session for the first festival in 1980,” Teresi said. “The rationale back then is still the rationale today: we want to recognize and celebrate the workforce of the Greater Jamestown region as what we think is the very finest one will find anywhere; and to do something special on Labor Day Weekend for the people of the community on the last weekend of summertime. Let’s have the summer go out with a bang – figuratively, but also literally with the fireworks display.”

Admission is free, but parking is $5. However, the parking fee also includes entry into a prize drawing for a Kindle Fire HD, which is sponsored by Willow Bay Computer Solutions, or a $100 Visa gift card sponsored by Ahlstrom Schaeffer. Interested parties must bring their parking pass to the information booth. The drawing will occur at 8:15 p.m., and the winner does not have to be present.

For more information, including a schedule of events, visit jamestownny.net.