For many, fall hasn’t officially arrived until 60,000 people have descended upon the tranquil village at the south end of Canandaigua Lake.
On Saturday, that happened as the nearly six decades old Naples Grape Festival blended all things grape with live music, artisan wares, carnival food and flea market finds.
For Stephen Poliscek and Sarah Corsette, both of Rochester, the journey rivaled the destination.
“Honestly, the scenery — the fields, the colors — the drive down is maybe as good or better than the festival,” said Poliscek.
According to Grape Festival Chair Mike Joseph, the event — an annual tradition for so many — serves as a fundraiser for the Naples Rotary Club and the Naples Historical Society.
The official festival grounds are spread across the park grounds of the Memorial Town Hall and across the street on the front lawn of Naples Central School, drawing up to 7,000 visitors a day, Joseph said. Townwide, additional vendors draw up to 30,000 guests each day, he said.
“This is our largest fundraiser of the year,” said Naples Rotary President Jack Fredericks, who watched over the popular wine, cidery and brewery walk that stretched down a portion of Main Street.
“It’s going splendidly, with the cooperation of Mother Nature — we’re always at her beck and call,” said Fredericks. “When all is said and done, we raised $33,000 last year. We look for over $30,000 to distribute to the two organizations.”
And speaking for the Rotary Club, “We support (humanitarian efforts) locally, regionally and globally, donating a little more than $30,000 each year. What we take in, we send out.”
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