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Youngstown Community Picnic on Saturday in Falkner Park

Activities that include a fishing derby and a peace garden dedication will highlight the eighth annual Youngstown Community Picnic on Saturday in Falkner Park.

The fishing derby is open to all ages and will run from 8 a.m. to noon at the south dock of the Main Street park. Coordinated by the Niagara River Anglers Association, the derby awards prizes in a variety of categories.

"Everything you need to participate is right there," said Jodee Riordan, who is coordinating the picnic with Beverly Van Deusen.

The community picnic began as a celebration for the village's sesquicentennial in 2004 and has since become a popular local event.

"This is truly a group effort and I love that everyone in the village comes together to help," said Riordan. "Last year, we had 75 volunteers."

Registration for the Nancy Price Memorial 5K is 8:15 to 9:45 a.m. at the Youngstown Fire Hall. The walkers set out at 9:45 a.m., and the runners start at 10.

The community picnic follows from noon to 4 p.m. in Falkner Park, where the Village of Youngstown provides beverages and hot dogs and hamburgers, grilled by the Youngstown Lions Club, and served by Youngstown Baptist Church members.

Residents are asked to bring a dish to pass. Many local restaurants also donate a dish to share. Food and activities are free.

There will be a formal dedication of the fourth U.S. 1812 Bicentennial Art of Peace Garden at 2 p.m., with dignitaries from Canada and the U.S. invited to speak. Eight Youngstown women planted the garden in June and tend to it daily.

The garden is part of a binational effort to create a peace garden trail, honoring 200 years of peace between Canada and the United States. A professional bugler will play, Canadian and American 1812 flags will be raised, and school children representing Lewiston-Porter Intermediate School and the Tuscarora Indian Elementary School will share in additional plantings as part of the ceremony.

In addition, Lewiston resident Norah A. Perez, an award-winning author of young adult historical fiction, will be selling and signing copies of her new book, "River Burning -- A Novel of the War of 1812," beginning at noon. Her book depicts the war through the eyes of a 13-year-old American frontier girl living on the Niagara River, who witnesses the burning of the Niagara Frontier in December 1813. (See a Q&A with Perez Sunday in Niagara Weekend).

In addition, scheduled events for the picnic include: a pie-eating contest; old-fashioned games; a watermelon-eating contest; fire truck rides by the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Company; local crafters and artisans; face-painting; airbrush tattoos; programs offered by the Youngstown Free Library; a bounce house; and more.

The fire company is celebrating its 100 anniversary this year and raffle tickets will be available for sale for its upcoming Field Days, set for Labor Day weekend.

Riordan sent out a plea to local amateur bakers late this week, asking for pies for the pie-eating contest.

"It's just a nice, old-fashioned event and we're bringing it back this year," she said. "It's going to be a really nice day."

email: niagaranews@buffnews.com