Storm Puts Early End To Labor Day Fest

Build up for the iconic fireworks display at Bergman Park in Jamestown came crashing down in disappointment Sunday.

A fast-moving storm that brought heavy rain and thunderstorms forced the city to cancel the 34th annual Labor Day Festival after about six hours. The event was not scheduled to resume today, Mayor Sam Teresi said.

“Public safety was paramount in our consideration to end the festival,” Teresi said. “The park took in a lot of water, and after a brief delay we thought we should get people out as safely as possible and cancel the fireworks.

“I’m as devastated as everyone that we had to cancel, but the fact that everyone is OK is what matters the most.”

The day was not a total wash, however.

“Everything went very well,” said Teresi, who estimated a couple thousand residents turned out for the annual Labor Day event prior to the inclement weather.

One of those in attendance was Kollin LeRoy. On Sunday, the 6-year-old Jamestown resident took a seat inside one of the city’s fire trucks and couldn’t help but smile the entire time.

Asked what he enjoyed most of the festival, LeRoy said, “I like the fire trucks because I want to be a fireman.”

Also enjoying the day were Ariel Huntington and her 4-month-old son, Brayden.

“I love the food and the music. It pretty much has everything you would want,” Huntington said.

At a ceremony earlier in the day, the mayor thanked the organizers of the festival and its volunteers.

“I want to recognize everybody that has been involved over the past 34 years in making this wonderful day happen in our community,” Teresi said.

“Things like this (event) just do not happen on their own,” he continued. “They don’t happen once on their own, they don’t happen 34 times on their own. It happens at a place that is very unique and special, and our community is a special place.”

David Wilkinson of IBEW Local 106 was the recipient of the 2013 George Ritzer Memorial Award. He also received proclamations from the mayor and state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Chautauqua County.

“We work every day,” Wilkinson said. “Cash registers don’t ring, concrete doesn’t get poured, meals don’t get delivered without labor. We are the backbone of this community; we’ve always been the structure and foundation of our community.”