Vendors Line Lakewood Streets

LAKEWOOD – Local residents looking for mid-afternoon Fourth of July festivities were just beginning to mill around the village of Lakewood on Friday afternoon as vendors set up along Chautauqua Avenue.

Sweet smells of cotton candy and taffy wafted through the village, as Fowler’s Taffy, one of the most recognizable vendors at local events, began to draw its first customers of the day.

Locally owned and operated since 1917, Fowler’s Taffy is based out of Cassadaga.

“I started in the business when I was 13 years old,” said Fred Fowler, whose grandfather George Fowler founded the company.

Fowler’s now carries more than 13 assorted flavors such as cinnamon, spearmint and watermelon.

Candy apples are another specialty of Fowler’s and are sold in cinnamon and cherry flavors.

Another vendor, Paul Walker, was busy setting up a display of hundreds of handcrafted silver spoon rings.

Walker has been perfecting his hobby of spoon and fork artistry since the 1970s.

“It’s kind of fun,” he said. “I used to work in a steel plant, and a guy I worked with sold them on Fridays. He taught me how to make them and I got into cutting coins and all kinds of stuff.”

A Lakewood resident, he began selling them at the village’s Fourth of July festival three years ago.

“I bounce around,” he said. “I don’t travel a circuit like a lot of people. It’s a hobby of mine.”

For more information about Walker’s spoon rings and where he’ll be next, email him at deebizz@windstream.net.

The Lakewood Family YMCA’s annual Firecracker Run started at 9 a.m. and featured a men’s and women’s 10K, 2-mile run and 2-mile walk.

There were also children’s races, which started at 9:30 a.m., followed by a money hunt at 11 a.m.

Other events included live music by Ruckus at Yesterday’s and a chicken barbecue.

The band Smokehouse guided Lakewood’s Independence Day activities into the evening, which ended with a fireworks display at 10 p.m. by Zambelli Fireworks.