Arkport event continues today after Saturday's parade, festival in the park

ARKPORT — Arkport Summerfest marched against cancer Saturday with a big boost from Mother Nature’s parade-perfect weather.

With this year’s theme, Arkport Summerfest Fights Cancer in All Colors, the annual parade and festival in the park on Saturday had a decidedly anti-cancer outlook.

But that didn’t mean there was any less fun. Children lining the parade route made off with candy hauls to rival Halloween, and the Arkport Class of 1979 float featured enthusiastic alumni cheerfully squirting strands of silly string at giggling young spectators.

The parade’s theme — a play on the various ribbons used to denote different forms of cancer and to advocate for their cures — allowed participants to both celebrate and remember those affected by the disease.

Along the parade route, the trademark orange colors of an Allis-Chalmers tractor and hay baler were a vivid memorial to lifelong Arkport resident Bruce Marvin. Friends and family wore orange T-shirts imprinted with a photograph of Marvin who enjoyed restoring Allis-Chalmers tractors. Marvin passed away in January.

Tributes continued as the parade wound down and visitors trekked to the village park where food stands and booths were ready for customers.

Three generations of the Paddock and Dunn families wore matching shirts with multi-colored ribbons signifying different types of cancer. The shirts bore the slogan “They All Matter, Find the Cure.” In just the past two years, the families have lost three loved ones to cancer: Rich Dunn, Joe Paddock to pancreatic cancer and Larry Dunn to melanoma.

Terrie Dunn’s husband Rich succumbed to cancer in January. Mrs. Dunn was asked about the village’s decision to dedicate Summerfest to fighting cancer.

“I think it was a good idea and appropriate because the mayor also (has cancer). It’s sad, but true, there’s a lot of it around,” she said.

Mayor Charles Flanders announced in January that he is fighting esophagus cancer. Flanders, after several months of chemotherapy and radiation therapies, smiled and waved from the passenger seat of one of the parade’s lead cars.

In post-parade activities at the park, another family was hoping to tame cancer – using dogs. Jamisons Blueticks of Arkport set up a booth to promote their “Coonhounds for a Cure” fundraiser. Hound dogs Tank, Fritz and Moose drew attention to the cancer-fighting fundraiser scheduled for Sept. 21 in Arkport.

“We’ve had several family members affected by cancer, so we thought we’d do this to help out. We’ll donate to Wilmot Cancer Center (in Rochester) and St. Jude’s Children’s Center in Tennessee,” Toby Jamison said.

Information about the fundraiser can be found on Facebook.

Summerfest continues today

The non-denominational church service in the Arkport Park Pavilion takes place starting at 10 a.m.

The Arkport Fire Department chicken barbecue runs from 11:30 a.m. until all the chicken is sold.

The 63rd annual Antique & Classic Car Show, sponsored by the Chemung Valley Region, Antique Automobile Club of America is happening from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The festival in the park begins at noon.