Oatka Festival kicks off this weekend

Jul 13, 2018

The 30th annual Oatka Festival kicks off this weekend.

The parade will be bigger than previous years. Bob Sullivan, chairman and parade supervisor for the Oatka Festival Steering Committee, said the parade has more entrants this year.

“This is the best parade in Western New York because we have the best music in any parade in Western New York,” he said.

The parade will include the Burlington Teen Tour Band from Canada, which marched last year in the Rose Bowl Parade and next year will be marching in Europe for the 80th anniversary of World War II. There will be a total of nine musical units for a parade with only 40 groups in it.

The parade starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, marching down Main Street, ending at the old high school. Sullivan said it’s a hometown parade based upon people and groups in the village who want to celebrate living in Le Roy.

And that’s just one of the Oatka Festival’s attractions.

The area for children will also be bigger than the festival has ever had before. This year there will be rock climbing, miniature golf, bounce houses and an animal display.

On Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon, there will be the annual fishing derby on the creek bank.

Oatka Paddle Co. and the Smokin’ Eagle will conduct their first-ever Oatka Fest Boat Regatta starting 1 p.m. Saturday at their dock called Eagle’s Landing. Paddleboat and kayak rentals will be available.

The race will take place on the creek across from Wolcott Street. It will be broken up into two categories: a paddleboat race and a cardboard boat race.

The first class — paddle boats — uses Oatka Paddle Co. paddle boats, and teams are limited to two people per boat. The second class — cardboard boats — has participants make their own boats.

There will also be a car show on Sunday.

The Oatka Festival started when a group of people got together and decided to make an event for local community groups. From there it just grew, Sullivan said.

The festival kicks off on Saturday, going from noon until 5 p.m. and on Sunday lasts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Le Roy House and Jell-O Museum will have free admission both days from noon to 4 p.m. A schedule of events and more information can be found online at www.oatkafestival.org.

By MALLORY DIEFENBACH, Batavia Daily News