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Newfane's Apple Blossom Festival will mix old with new today

The old will mix with the new today for visitors to the annual Apple Blossom Festival, sponsored by the Town of Newfane Historical Society.

The event is planned from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The free festival takes place on the sprawling museum grounds at the corner of West Creek and Ide roads, and it invites visitors to stroll through many of its restored, historic buildings.

The event will feature demonstrations on a newly refurbished 1926 letterpress in a building behind the Manhardt Power Building on West Creek Road. It was donated by Malcolm McClew in the mid-1970s and had been sitting idle when Newfane resident Bill Neidlinger saw it and decided to try to make it operational once again.

The retired high school technology teacher had used similar equipment to teach printing at one time, and he and some friends successfully resurrected this old piece of equipment, which is now used to create unique cards sold to benefit the society.

"We also have two hand-printing presses, and a child or adult will be able to print their own two-color drink coaster," said Neidlinger. "And we also have a new dog-tag machine, which we hope will be of high interest."

In addition, visitors may stop in at a Civil War encampment and a blacksmith shop where volunteers will be giving demonstrations. There also is a one-room schoolhouse, a barbershop, a post office and plenty of old farm machinery to see.

Food has always been a big draw at the festival, and event Chairman George Updegrove said the society recently added a large, covered pavilion area for visitors to better enjoy the home-cooked treats while protected from the elements.

"We can definitely accommodate more people now," he said.

Look for the group's famous chicken chowder, beef on weck, hot dogs, sausage, Hall's pies, cotton candy and more.

The Barroom Buzzards will provide music from 1 to 3 p.m., and the flea market is always a popular feature.

The event is a fundraiser for the group, which has been striving to install permanent restrooms at the site to replace the portable restrooms they now employ.

The society has also been taking out the old metal-frame windows at the Van Horne Mansion (2165 Lockport-Olcott Road), which it also operates, and converting all windows to wood-frame, Updegrove said.

Volunteers will conduct tours of the mansion from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.