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Harvest Festival offers family fun

OTTO—The Otto Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its inaugural Harvest Festival with hopes of helping to restore the Otto Historical Museum. Housed in a church built in 1861, the Historical Museum was last used as a church in the 1920s. In present day, it’s home to antiques from the town that help share Otto’s history.

“It’s really cool … it has the original stained glass windows. There was a foundry in Otto, so there’s a plow from that,” said Paul Stang, a member of the fire department.

Due to the age of the building, repairs are needed to keep it safe for the public. Fixing the roof, which has three areas of concern, is priority number one. The floor needs work and the building could use some fresh paint, Stang said.

“Basically, everything a building built in 1861 would need,” said Jim McDonnell, also a member of the fire department.

It was with the museum in mind that the department, along with its Associate Members, that the Harvest Festival came about. Associate members are community members who would like to be involved in helping the town, but don’t want to, or can’t be, firefighters. There are about 13 members total, who get together to meet people, help the community and remain involved at a level that works for them.

The Associate Members are sponsoring the Harvest Festival, a family-friendly day that aims to cover three major points.

“We want awareness, education and fun,” Stang said. “If we hit one, great. If we hit all three, even better.”

There will be more than 20 vendor tents, ranging from local crafters and artists to local farms, syrup and honey. Locally made products including yogurt and birdhouses will also be on display. A theme auction will raffle baskets with both new items and antiques. Members of the Amish community will be there with their work, along with an antique appraiser who will give an estimated value of small antique items brought by festival goers.

Children can head over to Kid Town where there will be games and activities, along with animals for their entertainment.

“This is really a family-friendly event,” Stang said. “Everybody is welcome. We want them to have fun … and come back next year”

A photo booth, and homemade small boat races will also be at the event. As well as antique cars, equipment, motorcycles and tractors. Tours of the Otto Historical Museum will also be given.

A dinner will be available with a “give what you can afford” price tag. The donations raised will go toward restoring the museum building. Breaded pork chops, salt potatoes and assorted vegetables will be on the menu, plus a baked potato bar with at least 13 toppings. A complimentary ice cream ticket will be given with each meal donation.

The Harvest Festival Celebration will be Saturday, Sept. 16 from noon to 6:30 p.m. It will be at the Otto Fire Department, 9099 Jark Road, Otto NY, 14766. Overflow parking will be at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, 9037 Otto East Otto Road, in Otto. A shuttle bus will be provided. For more information, or to give a donation, call Stang at 716-801-2591.

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