GENESEO – Lifting Up Livingston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which has graced Clinton and Genesee Streets in Avon for its first two years, now proposes to make its debut in downtown Geneseo.
Andrea Bailey, one of the founding members of Lifting Up Livingston, presented her proposal to the Geneseo Village Board Monday night.
“We live in an awesome community, Livingston County, and how do we help one another? How do we get the name of Lifting Up Livingston out there, how do we get the community in Livingston County together and just really enjoy one another and get to know one another a little bit more? […] We did it in 2015 and did it again in 2016 to work out the kinks, but the intent we had when we originally started was to travel so that each community would be a host of it.”
Livingston County’s nonprofit cancer fundraising organization, raises funds for Livingston County residents whose families are fighting cancer. The parade is their biggest event of the year, and last year gathered 42 acts and more than 1,000 happy spectators.
The Geneseo Village Board said that they were receptive to the idea. Immediately, though, the board and Bailey started talking logistics. Bailey proposed starting the parade at Geneseo Central School and ending on Park Street, by the Mary Jemison cabin.
Mayor Richard Hatheway did say that there were concerns about shutting down Avon Geneseo Road (Rte. 39), cutting off easy vehicle access to Geneseo Central for an hour.
“I like the concept, but Geneseo Central School is half a mile down the road from Main Street,” said Hatheway. “To shut down 39…I think there will be some pushback on that. An hour is a long time to have no place for cars to go. There must be a way to avoid shutting down that part of the road.”
Bailey said that she would like the parade committee and representatives of Geneseo to figure out a way to start the parade at Geneseo Central.
“This is all open to any discussion that needs to happen, but we originally thought that we could start at Geneseo Central and end at Park Street, which is just over a mile,” said Bailey. “To start at the county government building is a much shorter distance, and by the time you get everyone lined up and get going, the parade’s over. It’s also important that we have the acts line up away from the side of the road, and a large parking lot is ideal for that. Just thinking of the Oak Tree races, they close that part of Rte.39 for part of the half marathon and all of the 5K, which is 35, 40, 50 minutes.”
“Closing the road is certainly not a dealbreaker,” said Hatheway. “It’s only October, and we have six months to think about it. […] There are other times when Main Street has been closed, like for the Halloween Parade, so there are ways to get around it.”
Bailey and the Board agreed that her next step should be to get in touch with Eric Gott, another of Lifting Up Livingston’s founders, and report that the Village of Geneseo is interested in collaboratively organizing a parade, and to thank Avon for doing so much to help the parade in its first two years.