If you participated in any of the Conservancy’s events this year, you know how incredible they have been. Today’s kite festival was no exception. For every single event we have held this year: our annual meeting, the July 4th Parade, the BPO concert on the hill, two outdoor movies, the tennis tournament (almost perfect), September’s Artify the Park, and today’s kite extravaganza, the weather has been simply sublime.
First, many thanks to both Ron Michnik and Liz Cash for being the masterminds behind today’s event. Their unwavering faith and optimism is truly the reason for the success of this festival. Despite the fact that Mother Nature was toying with us in the morning, by noon the weather was ideal for kite flying — a stiff breeze, comfortable temperatures, and enough cloud cover to enable us to watch our kites high in the sky without being blinded by the sun.
I’d estimate about 100 people participated today — mostly young families, but also a handful of “seasoned” kite flyers who got their feet wet (literally) on the magnificent sledding hill. While it was wonderful to see a few dozen kites flying at the same time, it was even more gratifying to see families spending time together — outdoors, without cell phones and headphones — running, laughing, and enjoying another great day in Orchard Park.
It also shows that an organization doesn’t have to spend thousands of dollars to make a lot of people happy. Today’s event was a low-budget affair, and I mean that in a good way. The Conservancy sold kite kits for $5.00. Thanks to Arthur’s Hardware for providing us with kites at cost, which enabled us to keep our prices down and still make a small profit on the sale. We also sold snacks and drinks at a $1 each. A family of four could get two kites, four drinks and four snacks for the low price of $18. Where else can you have three hours of genuine family fun for that little money?
It’s important to note that the CRC provides a lot of services to the public without charging an arm and a leg to participate. We rely on our annual gala to fund a great deal of our annual events and projects, as well as to cover our annual operating expenses. We also look to sponsors throughout the year to help us fund specific events like movie nights (Arthur’s Hardware and University Pediatric Dentistry) and Artify (M&T Bank, Arts Services Initiative of WNY, Meibohm Fine Arts in East Aurora, and Hyatt’s). Of course, we couldn’t do anything without the help and cooperation of the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.
The CRC picked up the entire tab on this year’s BPO concert — no partners, no government funding, no corporate co-sponsors, nothing. Other than our mural restoration project, it was largest single investment we have made as an organization. However, it did what it was intended to do — it brought thousands of people to the park. We hope to do it again next year, but we can’t do it alone in 2017. We are already in touch with potential partners to help defray the cost, but it is still very preliminary. We could certainly use your help. If your company or organization would like to be a sponsor of another BPO concert, or for that matter, any of our future events (including this November’s gala), please email us at info@ChestnutRidgeConservancy.org. We’d love to have a committed partner before the end of 2016.
We also encourage individuals and families to purchase memberships. Not only does it help make our events possible, it gets you on our email distribution list. You’ll be the first to know about upcoming events. We also ask you to follow us on Facebook. We have some big events planned for next year — stay tuned.
So … please consider joining the Chestnut Ridge Conservancy. Sign up to be a volunteer. Encourage your friends and family to join too. We are always looking for new people to get involved. You really can make a difference.
Do you see that little speck in the photo to the left? That’s my wife’s kite. She won the highest kite contest today. Of course, she would have also won the longest string contest.
Thanks for coming out!