BOLIVAR — Oil Days festivities over the past few days continued a tradition of community-centered events celebrating the area’s oil heritage.
“It’s a ton of fun,” said chairman of Pioneer Oil Days Forest Shaner. “There’s something going on every day.”
“This is our 20th anniversary of Pioneer Oil Days, so it’s kind of a milestone for us,” he said, adding that the Lions Club has put in a lot of hard work making events possible this year.
“In most communities that have a Lions Club, they talk about it being the best kept secret in most every community,” he said. “This elevates us and puts us right up in the public space. This is a way that people understand who we are and who belongs to the club and what we do. And it’s really a great way for us to recruit members.”
Events on Sunday included the Genesee Valley Antique Tractor Pull at the Hahn and Schaffner site and a free fellowship meal and Vacation Bible School carnival hosted by Faith Bible Church of Little Genesee. Face painting, penny games and free popcorn were among the attractions at the carnival.
A euchre tournament took place Monday night at the American Legion, and during its third day of events, families were invited to convene at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Shaner Field with a dish to pass for a community picnic.
“The weather held up this year,” said Lions Club treasurer Rick Whitney. “We have a nice night for it and it looks like a lot of people showed up and we have a good cross section here. We have older people. We have kids. We have everybody. It’s supposed to be a community gathering so it worked out well.”
“We have from about six months to about ninety-four so we have the whole gamut,” he added.
Gerald Bonney, president of the Bolivar Lions Club, and his wife and fellow Lions Club member, Romaine, organized the community picnic. They provided grills for hot dogs and hamburgers, cooking utensils and many other services to facilitate the picnic. Additionally, they spoke with families and coordinated dishes to pass and other preparations for the evening of dining under the community pavilion at the field.
“The only thing we weren’t really ready for was when the helicopter wanted to landed right over there,” Bonney said, motioning to Shaner Field, where a LifeNet helicopter touched down at about 5:30 p.m. to speak with the community about medical helicopter services.
“It just took a lot of the stuff off the table,” Bonney said. Luckily, many diners were able to secure their plates as a torrent of air from the helicopter’s blades knocked several items off the tables and skittered several bicycle helmets across the park.
Kids rushed to the helicopter and were given tours of the cabin and shown some of the helicopter’s functions by the air medical crew members, who flew out of their base in Hornell for the second year in a row to reach out and answer questions during Pioneer Oil Days.
The crew engaged with the community, partook in the community picnic and returned to base afterward.
Another attraction for the younger kids was the Baldwin’s Children’s Tractor Pull following the helicopter visit. Kids registered for the event took turns pedaling a toy tractor that hauled a chain-powered weighted trailer that gradually torqued the axel the longer they traveled. Trophies and stuffed animals were awarded as distance prizes for several age groups.
Last night, Bolivar-Richburg Boy Scouts had their spaghetti dinner at United Methodist Church, and will be selling pulled-pork sandwich dinners today at St. Mary’s Parish Hall from 5 to 7 p.m.
Tonight at 9 p.m. is the Movie Under the Stars viewing of 2019’s “Dumbo” in the Bolivar Free Library parking lot. The movie is free to watch for anyone who brings a blanket or chair to enjoy this family-friendly event.
Friday night, this year’s Pioneer Oil Days “Wall of Fame” inductions will take place at the Hahn and Schaffner site with wine and cheese tasting from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
The parade starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the car show following immediately after.
“The biggest thing is the car show this weekend,” Shaner said. “I’ve talked with a couple other folks here that go to all the car shows in western New York every year and they’ve told us that every weekend it’s rained except one.”
“There are people just dying to come to a car show where it’s sunny. With the weather right now, it’s a little iffy, but if it holds off we could have a record car show.”