The usually quiet, tree-lined streets of Kenmore took on a carnival atmosphere Monday as village residents and a few "outsiders" turned out for activities, rides and shows held for the 20th annual Kenmore Week celebration.
"It's the best," exclaimed 8-year old Annemarie Shaw of Kenmore, as she and her family enjoyed carnival rides and games of chance held in the Municipal Building Parking lot off of Delaware and Lincoln avenues.
Her older sister, Christina, agreed that the annual celebration is a great way to bring residents in the community out to meet their neighbors.
The festival, sponsored by the Kenmore Merchants Association, KenTon Chamber of Commerce, local bank branches and civic groups, years ago was preceded by Kenmore Day.
"I remember when I was a kid, (Kenmore Day) was the Wednesday after the first week school let out," explained Kenmore Mayor John Beaumont. "That was the day we all used to go to Crystal Beach."
In the early 1970s, area merchants, seeking to bring more interest to the heart of the village, proposed extending Kenmore Day to a week. As a result, they introduced carnival rides, shows featuring local talent and athletic competitions to the festivities.
Monday's events included a sanctioned race, in which more than 130 runners signed up in front of St. Paul's Catholic School on Victoria Boulevard. A one-mile race was held for youngsters 13-years-old and younger and a 2-mile race for those 14 and older.
Winners were divided in several age categories. The first to cross the finish line were Joseph Dunlop, 14, of Grand Island at nine minutes and 34 seconds in the two-mile race, and Wendy Tocha, 13, of Cheektowaga at six minutes and 50 seconds in the one-mile race.
Monday's events also included performances by the Kenmore Chapter Sweet Adelines, 23 Skidoo, a Dixieland jazz band and square dancing by the Village Squares.
Kenmore Week, which was kicked off with a parade down Delaware Avenue last Thursday, continues through Wednesday with more carnival rides beginning at noon today and Wednesday.
The Dady Brothers, a band which features bluegrass and Irish folk music, performs at 7 p.m. today.
At 6:45 p.m. Wednesday a performance by Dance Unlimited is scheduled, and at 7:45, the New Breed, a country and western band, will perform.