Annual Arkport event set for July 12-14 with focus on fun, and targeting disease

ARKPORT — Next month’s 32nd consecutive Arkport Summerfest has a theme worth fighting for, organizers believe.

The annual event, which celebrates all things Arkport, is set to run for three days, July 12-14, with the theme “Arkport Summerfest Fights Cancer In All Colors.”

“This year’s theme will be one worth fighting for,” Bill Robinson, Arkport Summerfest Committee chairman, promised last week while briefing the Hornellsville Town Board about plans for the upcoming festival.

“Everybody has been affected one way or another by some type of cancer. No one cancer is worse than another — they all (are bad),” Robinson continued. “So Summerfest is fighting them all, and we are asking everyone to come help us remember those who have lost the fight, celebrate those who have won the fight, and fight with those who are currently fighting.”

The Summerfest Committee is encouraged by the initial reception to the theme, according to Robinson, after the first post on Facebook reached 4,000 people. The organizers hope to continue that momentum into the festival.

“We are encouraging all of our vendors and people participating in the parade to show some sort of support to cancer research or family members, or whoever is still fighting, has fought or unfortunately succumbed to the disease,” Robinson added.

Summerfest usually takes place on the weekend immediately following the Fourth of July holiday, but the committee decided to move the event back one extra weekend this summer.

“The reason for that is we want to get away from the Fourth of July,” Robinson explained. “A lot of people told us last year with the Fourth being on a Wednesday, a lot of people took a long weekend, (and) they decided to go somewhere else instead of staying in town.”

July 4 falls on a Thursday this year, which would have left organizers scrambling to get everything in place by the next night. Now that Summerfest begins a week later, the vendors are lining up to take part in the park and all indications point to a strong turnout, Robinson said, with craft vendors and great food available.

Another change is live music Friday night in the park. That was usually slotted with a DJ. Live music will continue all day Saturday and during the day on Sunday.

The annual parade will step off at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

And plan for fireworks.

“As of right now fireworks are happening,” Robinson told Hornellsville officials. “All the paperwork has been filed for doing fireworks on Saturday night, roughly around 10.”

Summerfest favorites like the 5K run/walk, the fire department chicken barbecue and the Sunday car show are all set to take place as well.

The Summerfest Committee is updating the event’s website and it plans to post updated schedules on Facebook.

Hornellsville Supervisor Dan Broughton said the town board will approve $600 in town funding for Summerfest.

Meanwhile, Robinson said separating Summerfest from the Town of Hornellsville’s auspices has proved to be trickier than expected. Robinson announced last June that the festival organization was seeking to become an independent entity with its own tax ID.

“Just to give you an update on the status of Summerfest going off on its own, there were some hiccups with the federal government and the state getting all of the paperwork in line,” Robinson said. “We are still operating as we have been the last couple years with our account that is still attached to the (Town of Hornellsville). Separate, but attached. We are making strides on that. I was hoping to have it done by Jan. 1 of this year.

“(It) will be done by Dec. 31 of this year. I guarantee it. Hopefully it will be done shortly after Summerfest this year. It is happening but it is a lot more involved than I was led to believe.”

“We appreciate your support,” Robinson told council members.