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This past weekend, Lifting Up Livingston brought the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade to Livingston County. The GeneseeSun.com had the not-so-subtle ‘sunmobile’ in the parade, but the rightful winner was Duffy’s spectacular float. After roping my mom and Aunt Patty to cram in the back with the hatch propped open, and trotting along handing out stickers and shaking hands with the wonderful families of our county, I realized something. This new wave of energy and growing events in the County is truly bringing the community closer then ever.
We have a new wave of energetic leaders bringing their passion for community and events to our Towns and Villages. Four events immediately come to mind, though there are many others and I apologize for not mentioning them all. I’m thinking of the American Rock Salt fitness festival hosted by Sam Patch Promotions and Livingston Cycling Club, The Oak Tree Half Marathon and 5k to hosted by the Genesee Valley Conservancy, The Gala in the Valley hosted by United Way of Livingston County, and just this past weekend the Saint Patrick’s Day parade hosted by Lifting Up Livingston.
The 2nd Annual American Rock Salt fitness festival will take place this July, and is the brain child of Tony Sylor, president of the Livingston County Cycling Club. This event will enter it’s second year and features a Gran Fondo in addition to the Criterium races which are held in the Village of Mount Morris. The Gran Fondo is somewhat like a community ride, but if you want to be competitive and race it you have that option. The course is spectacular and there are options appropriate for bicyclists of all abilities. In its inaugural year the event had over 200 participants, simply amazing for a first-year event in cycling.
Another wonderful fitness event that continues to take root and grow is the Oak Tree half Marathon and 5k. Ben Gajewski has been leading the charge for this event since it’s inception. This year’s race will be part of the Greater Rochester Track Club Runner of the Year series, so you can count on a record turnout as the event continues to grow. The beautiful course highlights the Nature Conservancy’s preserved and protected lands and what our region is all about.
The United Way Gala in the Valley will enter it’s fourth year in 2015. The black tie event is as close to a royal evening as it gets. Matt Cole, who serves on the United Way of Livingston County, started the event which continues to thrive. The main sponsor for the gala has always been Wegmans, but it’s truly the attendees that make the evening at the Wadsworth Homestead magical. The proceeds go to over 20 local charities that operate right here in Livingston County.
Andrea Kingston Bailey, from Lifting Up Livingston, spearheaded the first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The massively successful event was a true celebration of Irish heritage and community in our County. It’s been a rough winter, and what better way to raise spirits with an old-fashioned parade and celebration right on Genesee Street in Avon? How great is it to now have a hometown option as opposed to driving 45 minutes north and dealing with packed crowds up in Rochester?
These new leaders spend countless hours organizing and meeting with their teams in order to host successful events, not to mention the time spent developing a vision and dotting the ‘i’s’ and crossing the ‘t’s’ so that these events run smoothly.
There are just a few of our ‘newer events’ that are making Livingston County not only a wonderful place for community but a place that is becoming even more attractive to tourists. We have four great events in Avon, Geneseo and Mount Morris spread out over the year, all being spearheaded by passionate supportive members of our community. To them, the volunteers, sponsors and the locally elected officials for making these events possible I want to say ‘thank you,’ thank you for your hard work and making this county a brighter place.
PHOTO CAPTION: Top – Crossing the finish line at the Oak Tree 5k. 2nd from Top – Wacek Godycki winning 1st place in the category 1, 2, and 3 race. 3rd from Top – Running at the Oak Tree 5k. 2nd from Bottom – The Gala in the Valley. Bottom – The St. Patrick’s Day Parade.