Organizers are still counting, but it’s anticipated that over 800 people attended the first ever Taste of Wayne County event as Newark welcomed the VoteTilla to the village yesterday afternoon, July 18th.
“It was successful beyond our imagination,” Mayor Jonathan Taylor said, adding, “Absolutely!” when asked if they will hold the event again next year.
The event brought vendors from all over Wayne County, farm markets, restaurants and more, to offer samples of their signature dish, food or beverage. The booths lined the roadway on VanBuren Street along the east side of the Erie Canal. Places like The Apple Shed in Newark, JD Wine Cellars and the Wayne County Dairy Princess and Court handed out samples in exchange for one pink ticket. Presale tickets were sold out quickly and Taylor said they sold out at the event by 6 p.m. and had to get more.
The Apple Shed offered fresh blueberries from the farm and a smokey apple BBQ chicken wrap along with menus featuring their 2017 lunch menu. JD Wine Cellars from Macedon were pouring wine samples from their selection of varieties on hand. And the Dairy Princess and her Royal Court were pouring milk and chocolate milk and samples of cheese to promote dairy products. Children had the chance to earn a prize quizzing their knowledge of cows and dairy.
Taylor said they would like to thank all those who participated, helped organize and attended the event making it a historic first-time event that will definitely return next year.
Coinciding with the Tastes of Wayne County, Newark welcomed the VoteTilla, a navigational passage from Seneca Falls to Rochester to commemorate and celebrate the centennial of woman suffrage in the state.
Some of the passengers on the boats included reenactors of well-known historical characters such as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, and also reenactors of everyday people in period dress. At each stop the reenactors from the boats were joined by other reenactors and staged performances written for the VoteTilla event. Stops on the Canal included Clyde, Lyons, Newark, Palmyra, Fairport and Pittsford.
The Erie Canal is the perfect setting for such a trip to take place. Historically, the canal, celebrating its bi-centennial this year, served as the main thoroughfare across the state in the 1800s for Susan B. Anthony and other activists. The route between Seneca Falls and Rochester connects two of the most important locations in the suffrage movement.
Among those attending the event were Carrie Magnan, Maria Bucci and Sharon Boedo, from Canandaigua. Wearing homemade women’s rights sashes, the trio quipped they are the equivalent of Susan B. Anthony groupies. The three ladies have been attending area events as much as possible as the state celebrates the centennial.
They also were among the volunteers helping to organize an event this ast June as the Ontario County Historical Society and 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse teamed up to commemorate the anniversary of Susan B. Anthony’s trial, which was held right in Canandaigua. Anthony went on trial in 1873 after she cast an illegal vote in November of 1872 in her fight for women’s suffrage.
Magnan, who grew up in Newark, is proud to say she has only missed one vote since she came of age to cast her vote. Anthony’s years of fighting for women’s suffrage, alongside many others like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Carrie Chapman Catt, has had a huge influence on Magnan.
“The inspiring words these people said a hundred years ago to keep fighting and protecting our rights,” she said, has inspired her today. “The VoteTilla seems a great way to combine the Erie Canal and the history of women’s rights.”
Having living in the Middle East where women can vote, but there’s fear to express your own views, she said, because of government retribution.
“Just having the right to go cast our vote,” she said, “I think it’s something people take for granted.”
But not Maria Bucci.
Helping with the June event in Canandaigua was just one way the community could celebrate their role in the women’s suffrage movement and the centennial celebration happening across the state.
Although her journey through the history of women’s rights has been an inspiring one, it is also an emotional one. For Bucci, these were women who gave their lives to help fight for the rights of future women they would never meet and never know.
“It’s a level of commitment,” she said, holding back tears. “For decades they fought. They gave up their lives to fight for our rights.”