JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – Jamestown’s 42nd Annual Labor Day Festival was widely attended by hundreds of the city’s residents in Bergman Park this past Sunday.
Festival goers enjoyed great food from local establishments, hand-crafted goods from vendors, and wonderful musical performances from several different artists including the Jamestown Municipal Band.
“The Labor Day festival is to celebrate our labor force in Jamestown and the end of summer, it’s a staple in the city, it literally is. This is as big as the Christmas parade,anything the city does this is right up there with it,” said Collaborative Children’s Solution’s Patrick Smeraldo.
During the festival, Pearl City’s own labor force made an appearance.
“Our own labor force is here, the parks department, police and fire are here, helping, moving tables and assisting. We expect, come firework time, probably 6 to 8,000 people, so that’s at 8:30 p.m,” said Smeraldo.
The event included many activities for the whole family.
“Literally, it’s a hodgepodge of kid’s entertainment, bounce houses, games, two stages of music, 11 food vendors, some non-for-profits, Babe Ruth World Series is here, Jamestown Bowling Company, from meals to snacks, enjoying this gorgeous summer day and it’s literally to celebrate the labor force and the end of summer in Jamestown,” Smeraldo said.
The festival’s turnout was very positive, especially around firework time.
“People come and go, about 5 p.m you’ll see it kind of turn and blankets will start getting set up for fireworks and music will start playing, people keep hitting the booze and stuff and the games will shut down and everybody will meander towards that way for a great, great, great, great firework show at 8:30 p.m,” said Smeraldo.
The COVID-19 Pandemic put a halt on the festivities once, but this year they’re back and in full swing.
“This is the 42nd annual festival, obviously we took a year off with COVID but it’s a collaboration. Obviously, C.C.S is a minute part of this, the City of Jamestown puts this on, the I.B.W local electricians are up here rewiring the park, donating, doing the parking for us, Austin Shaffer is a huge sponsor of ours, Pepsi, just a huge collaboration with everybody coming together for the benefit of the city and the residents,” explained Smeraldo.
Smeraldo is very passionate about giving back to the community and touts the importance of new and old traditions.
“If you look at this, this is totally funded by the City of Jamestown, but you have to have this, you have to have a festival. When you talk to people, we were just talking to someone in their mid-forties, talking about when they would come up here as kids and play games and do things, but as we said, new traditions of things which are good, comedy festivals and things like that, we also have old traditions like the Babe Ruth World Series, they expect that every couple of years. A Labor Day festival, Memorial Day parade, you have to have these things for the city to remain the city we are and pull out of the pandemic and keep moving forward. It’s just an honor to be involved with stuff like this,” said Smeraldo.
The Pandemic really showcased the resilience of the residents of Jamestown.
“We didn’t have it, when you shut down and people try to identify new things to do, we’ve done that with some of the things that we’ve done, we’ve brought back the Gus Macker from years past, this is a traditional thing with the double sound stage, the kid’s games, all of the food vendors that are here year after year volunteering, it’s a lot of traditional stuff so it kind of kicked COVID in the face a little bit and said it’s over, we’re back up here, we’re doing this with the residents and kids of kids are coming now,” Smeraldo said.
The festival is very nostalgic for many but wouldn’t be possible without collaboration from many different organizations.
“When you look here, you’ve got the Babe Ruth World Series who is here every year as a food vendor, the Bowling Company, the Greek Church was here selling desserts and things like that, collaborating with their term of festival when they do theirs in June and then coming here and giving people that re-taste of what they do so when you rip down walls to work together, amazing things can happen,” Smeraldo explained.
In the end, the festival serves as a message of collaboration and solidarity.
“Dan Stone has 15 guys to do all of this and they’ve been hustling since mid-week to do this. If you look at these grounds, they’re beautiful. There’s guys out picking up trash right now, they’re keeping it looking beautiful, they’re keeping the integrity of the festival, the police are here keeping order, the fire department is here showing kids fire trucks, it’s an outreach of the city’s services we have, the Mayor is over calling Bingo right now, he’s calling Pepsi Bingo, there are councilmen and councilwoman Ecklund volunteering for the Babe Ruth World Series food tent over there, there’s plenty of in city people here. Legislator Wilfong is here on behalf of the city, this is what we do as a city,” said Smeraldo.
If you missed the firework show, you’re in luck. You can watch the firework show livestream on Collaborative Children’s Solution‘s Facebook page.