6th Annual Murray-Holley June Fest

Hats off to David Dill and the entire June Fest Committee who are once again planning the 6th Annual Murray-Holley June Fest. Scheduled for Saturday, June 7, 2014, the annual event grows each year, enriching the community of Holley along with area businesses, as well as attracting the young and young at heart all over Orleans and surrounding counties. The roster of activities includes:

  • A village-wide yard sales at 9 am. So start cleaning out the attic and garage.
  • The Jim Ferris Memorial 5K Race at 9:30, with registration forms available on the Village of Holley Website at www.villageofholley.org.
  • At 10:30, a grand parade kicks off, featuring a host of marching bands from area school districts along with the 2014 World Champion Ghost Riders Mini Corps, Mighty St. Joe’s Alumni Corps, Sabers Drum & Bugle Corps, Hamburg Kingsmen Drum & Bugle Corps, Mark Time Marchers Band, Kendall Lawn Chair Ladies along with many floats represented by service organizations and fire departments from around the area. The parade route runs from the VFW on 8 Veterans Drive, towards Batavia Street, then down Public Square to White Street, East Avenue, and concluding at the entrance to the canal park.
  • St Mary’s Catholic Church will be featuring their savory Chicken BBQ starting at 11:00 am until they sell out.
  • From 12:00-3:00pm, the Community Action Center at 75 Public Square will be serving up a local favorite… “Garbage Plates” at $5.00 a plate.
  • From 9:00 am-5:00 pm, the Canal Park will be host to a variety of craft vendors, delicious food, games and entertainment for children, wine tasting booth, farmers market, and musical bands.
  • The Murray-Holley Historical Society will be holding their annual bake food sale at the Museum. So be sure to stop by for sweet treats and a cup of coffee. Or stop by Sam’s Diner, Jonathan’s Pastry Shoppe & Café, or the many food booths in the park.
  • Back by popular demand, the evening events kick off at 5:00pm at the Woodlands Soccer field with our own version of “Holley-wood” Idol. Contestants can sign up at 1st Niagara Bank, Public Square. See Nancy Manard for details.
  • The free Drum & Bugle Corp Show begins at 7:00pm with an all-star line-up this year, including the award-winning Holley High School chorus followed by the musically talented Lawn Chair Ladies, the Kendall – Holley marching band, the Hit Men Brass Band, Ghost Riders Mini Corps, Mighty St. Joe’s, and finally the Hamburg Kingsmen.
  • The evening concludes with the spectacular fireworks display by Young Explosives Inc. So be sure to bring your lawn chair.

With this year’s theme being “It’s Fun to Grow Up in Holley”….I thought it would be fun to start June festivities a bit early. Especially since it has been such a long winter! So be sure to write me in care of Visions of Holley and let me know why you think growing up in Holley has been so much fun. I will then forward your comments onto the June Fest Committee.

NYS offers year round fun with benefits

Great news for those who love the outdoors. New York State is introducing an exciting new program that will make it easier for you and your family to enjoy the outdoors. Whether you love the state parks, or are an avid boater, angler or hunter, there are several options to choose from with lifetime access to the best of what New York State has to offer. The Lifetime Empire Passport is now available. For a one-time  cost of $750, you and your family can enjoy the forests, beaches, lakefronts and more…every day, all four of New York’s beautiful seasons for a lifetime.  Best of all… as an added convenience, this lifetime benefit is issued through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) so your membership displays on your NYS Driver License, Non-Driver ID, or Learner Permit as a small maple leaf icon. To learn more, check out http://nysparks.com/lifetime/.

Dreams Do Transform – Revisited

I am revisiting the following article as many of my readers have been reading it of late. Originally posted in my blog as 2010 came to a close, it is just as pertinent today as it was back then. Only this time it is hope it kicks up Holley’s revitalization efforts a few more notches. Enjoy!


As 2010 comes to a close and we think about what is possible in 2011, I wish to share with you one of my favorite articles, which was originally published on April 1, 2010 in this newsletter. I share it with you now as dreams do transform. By thinking “small” and only about the present moment, great things are indeed possible!

I read this remarkable article this evening online and just had to share it. “Dreams, Small Can Transform Farms,  Rural Areas” by Jane Fyksen shares how small steps along with a little entrepreneurship can revitalize rural communities and local farm  economies. She cites  Jack Ricchiuto and June Holley (does that last name sound familiar?) who helped transform Nelsonville, Ohio.  Like Holley NY, Nelsonville has old Victorian-style buildings around a town square and beautiful architecture.

Unfortunately,  only a couple of the storefronts were  occupied. That was before a local artist realized Nelsonville’s brick  sidewalks had decorative stars on them and started to make everything in Nelsonville with a star-brick theme.

Holley (June that is) shares how 10 “small acts” transformed Nelsonville and perhaps Holley too:

Their fountain

Nelsonville Fountain
(does it look familiar?)

  • Small Act 1 – Set the Table. The local coffee shop not only had tables inside, but out  on the sidewalk too. There, people gathered and shared community-building  “dream space conversations”.  Before you knew it, things started to happen. Residents started to visualize all the possibilities for their town.
  • Small  Act 2Entertain.  The community brought back “entertainment” to Nelsonville. In particular, one of the  towns people who hung out at the coffee shop was well-connected in the music  world. Soon after, a second-story opera house opened, where local musicians showcased their talents. A  children’s theater and adult  community theater followed shortly thereafter. Talk about a ripple effect!
  • Small Act 3 – Open a new high end restaurant so people  frequenting the local opera house had someplace to eat and  make an  evening of it. Turns out a local culinary school decided to open the restaurant so  students could get real-life experience. What’s more, they decided to use local  produce from area farmers.  Now that’s letting the local economy work for you – literally!
  • Small Act 4 – Open for business. Shops started to open in the downtown area as a local wealthy patron started subsidizing  rents to encourage revitalization of the public square. Before you knew it 30 shops opened – everything from quilts to handmade paper, and a  pottery shop where people could make their own mugs.
  • Small Act 5Socialize. “Final Fridays” were held the last Friday of every month, with vendors of all  types allowed to gather on the public square to sell whatever they made  or produced in their gardens. Some did so well that they too opened stores!
  • Small  Act 6 – Promote. With an eclectic/artsy town square, it was time to bring in  experts, such as June Holley, to assist with marketing and economic  development. Shortly thereafter, a “learning cluster” of successful business-owners was  established (i.e. a peer group), with the city council invited to get city leaders fired up. Eventually an “arts district”  was established.
  • Small Act 7Distribute the wealth. An “innovation fund” was established that gave  away little grants for all sorts of ideas people had for new ventures.
  • Small  Act 8 – Walk the Talk.  A “walking tour” brochure was created for tourism purposes.
  • Small  Act 9 – Pay it Forward. Workshops were held on how to start a Bed & Breakfast or cottage hotel as tourists had  no place to stay. Local people began opening up B&Bs.
  • Small  Act 10? Two large business/employers decided to stay in Nelsonville because their employees loved living there so much!!!

All of this occurred in five years! Like Holley (NY that is), Nelsonville is a small town with less than 5,000 people;  no major  thoroughfare; and a short drive (less than 90 minutes) to a big population  center. In Nelsonville’s case, they are  less than 90 minutes from Columbus, Ohio. Meanwhile,  we actually have a great advantage over Nelsonville with three big population centers: Rochester, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls.

Ms. Holley summarizes her experience by saying,  each “small act” engages assets that a farm, organization, or community  currently possess, even during an economic downturn. That’s why those “treasure   conversations” are so important. The opposite of “treasures” or assets are  “needs” or deficiencies.  With that said, “there are two ways to look at everything;  you can choose to view things positively or negatively. It’s your choice to make.” She prefers to view things positively saying, “don’t talk about what you lack or what your  weaknesses are; rather capitalize on existing strengths and  network with like-minded positive people.”  I couldn’t agree with her more! For the complete article, click here.

Canal Season Opens Soon

The 2013 Erie Canal season will begin soon. So dust off your walking shoes and Take the Road Less Traveled…to discover why it makes all the difference! Watch the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor’s new video and get inspired to explore in 2013!

Spring is right around the corner. That means it’s time for Holley to bring out the warm Welcome. It also means time for the Canal Clean Sweep April 19-21. While nearly 100 events are already scheduled, there’s still quite a bit of ground left to cover. Check out the registration map for information on events near you, and be sure to register for an eventy. If you like to more information or volunteer, e-mail eyearick@ptny.org.

Most of all… be sure to take in a few of the many things planned for this season, including events close to home, including Parks & Trails NY’sCycling the Erie Canal this July 7-14 — a fully supported, 8 day trip covering 400 miles from Buffalo to Albany.

Are you an avid Canalway Trail user and find yourself assisting others when you’re on the trail? If so, you might make a great Canalway Trail Ambassador.  Ambassadors assist trail users, monitor trail conditions, and promote courteous use of the trail, all on their own schedule. For more information, e-mail eyearick@ptny.org.

Read up on the canal’s history. Arch Merrill — a local writer who worked at the Democrat & Chronicle in nearby Rochester, NY, was also an avid historian who wrote a number of books on local history. One of our favorites is The Towpath. Written in 1945, it’s about Mr. Merrill’s trip along the Erie Canal. Check out what he had to say about Holley.

If you’re a history buff, you may wish to check out the 2013 Path Through History Weekends is a series of  events celebrating our heritage with cultural celebrations and special programming that promote the unique history of New York State. So be sure to mark your calendar for June 1-2 and 8-9. For more information, visit: www.paththroughhistoryweekends.com.

Finally… there are plenty of events in and around Holley.

  • May 1st – 4th – “Low Bridge, High Water” A Canal Opening Celebration in the Village of Brockport. There is something for everyone from History Presentations, “Pizza Wars”, Taste of Brockport to the Stone Soup Art Auction and much more.  For info contact Brockport Village Offices 585-637-5300.
  • June 7-9 – On The Go – A 2 day stay in NYC sponsored by the Market Street Art Center, Lockport, NY.  Please contact Market Street Art Center for complete itinerary and reservations.716-478-0239.
  • June 8th  for Theatre on Main Street- During the Albion 27th Annual Strawberry Festival.
  • June 23rd to July 8th for Journey Along the Erie Canal — a cross state bike ride along the Erie Canalway Trail from Buffalo to Albany to raise awareness for people with disabilities. Spearheading the ride is quad-amputee John Robinson, founder of Our Ability, Inc., an organization that mentors and inspires people with disabilities. John and fellow organizer Doug Hamlin have been working with staff at Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, NYS Canal Corporation, and Parks & Trails New York to develop an itinerary. Additional information on this journey is available at http://www.ourability.com/

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

For more than 30 years, Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) visited our living room and our hearts. With a warm smile and a gentle demeanor, he would start each show singing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” as he changed into sneakers and zippered his signature cardigan sweater. In a typical episode, Rogers would share conversation with local residents and visitors; give us a tour of small local businesses such as a dentist, bakery, or grocery store; and explain how things were made. His message in each episode was simple yet effective, never included animation, and was always leisurely rather than fast-paced. Each episode also featured a trolley. With a cheerful chime all of its own, Mr. Rogers would board the trolley, taking us on a tour of his neighborhood and discussing community-related topics ranging from loving and accepting your neighbors and yourself to sharing everyday challenges and fears. For example, during the Gulf War (1990–91), he assured his audience that all children in the neighborhood would be well cared for and asked parents to promise to take care of their own children. Through the years, he not only earned our love and trust, but he also shared many wonderful lessons about friendship, mutual respect, honesty, and so much more along the way.

With Mr. Rogers as a source of inspiration, the “Visions of Holley” blog now features a “trolley” — a circa 1907 New York Central Depot, which currently houses the Murray-Holley Historical Society. Through regular posts, I will be taking you on a tour of Holley and its surrounding neighborhoods. Together, we will explore Holley’s past, which is rich in history thanks to its heritage on the Western Erie Canalway; address community-related topics of the present day; as well as share our plans for a brighter future. To stay motivated while on our journey, I will also use the blog to share inspiring quotes from Fred Rogers as well as feature luminaires who serve as “bright lights” in our communities near and far by virtue of their good works.

Hometown Heroes

A salute of thanks goes out to the Holley Rotary Club who installed Hometown Hero Banners featuring photos of community members in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Village Square and along Route 31 in the Village of Holley.  According to Rotarian Roger DeFrancesco, chairman of the project for the Holley Rotary Club, the banners are an excellent way to honor local men and woman serving in the military. With 14 banners hung in the village area, there are plans to hang a second round in the future.  For information about the project, call 638-5210.

Summer Concert Series

You know it’s summer when the Summer Concert Series is set to begin. Scheduled for every Friday night from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm during the months of July and August, the first concert is Friday July 8 with the Ghost Riders. All concerts are in the Holley  Canal Park by the gazebo (rain location at the Fireman’s Field). So bring a blanket, lawn chairs, and a picnic dinner. Sponsored by the Village of Holley, the Summer Concert Series is a great way to spend an evening with family and friends by the water. Forget to pack a picnic? No problem. Food vendors will be in the canal area. For a complete schedule of who is playing when, click here.

Spotlight on Canal Communities

I am so excited I just had to share. Our very only Holley is featured in the latest (June 2011) issue of the Country Living magazine, which spotlights the 80 mile stretch of the canal from our village to Seneca Falls. The two-page article in the “Out and About” section of the magazine showcases six stops, including Holley with photos of the nearby canal path. Other stops featured include Brockport, produce at the farmers market in Fairport, and a concert in the Port of Pittsford Park as well as  Palmyra and Seneca Falls / Montezuma National Wildlife Reserve. With such an excursion taking one week to complete, the author refers to the 80-mile portion of the canal as “our favorite … of the canal” and highlights areas along the canal with good docking locations and connections to activities their readers enjoy.

School Budget Hearing Planned

Marked your calendars. A number of school district events are coming up of interest to all Holley residents regardless of whether you currently have children attending school in the district. First up is the Holley Central School District’s Annual Board Meeting, which doubles as a Bud­get Hearing on the proposed budget for the 2011-2012 school year. This meeting is scheduled for tomorrow night… Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the El­ementary School cafeteria.Please do attend this meeting if you are at all concerned with the budget and the impact it will have on the school taxes you pay.

Next up is the Holley Parent-Teacher-Student Association’s (PTSA) Meet the Candidates Night. Scheduled for Monday, May 9 at 6 p.m. in the Holley Elementary School Cafeteria, 3800 North Main Street, Holley, this is your chance to meet this year’s candidates for the Board of Education. They are: Brian Blackburn, Salvatore DeLuca Jr., and incumbents Norman Knight and Robin Silvis. The three candidates receiving the highest number of votes will be elected to three-year terms of office com­mencing July 1,2011 to fill the expired terms of Norman Knight, Charles Michael Patton, and Robin Silvis. Candi­date profiles will be published in the budget newsletter, which will be mailed to district residents the second week of May.

Finally… the 2011-2012 School Budget Vote and Board of Educa­tion Election is Tuesday, May 17 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Holley Middle SchoollHigh School foyer, 16848 Lynch Road.