Come early if you intend to sample a succulent smelt at the Village of Lewiston’s annual Smelt Festival, starting at 5 p.m. Friday at the foot of Center Street along the waterfront. They’re served until they run out -- and they always run out.
The Niagara River Anglers Association (NRAA) and Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce (NRRCC) staff, board of directors and local dignitaries will serve free smelt samples, along with the Smelt King, Ken Scibetta, co-owner of the Griffon House.
The Anglers will batter and fry approximately 400 pounds of smelt. Samples are free, but donations are encouraged and go towards the NRAA’s community programs. Food and beverage will be available for purchase at the event, with offerings from The Silo and Spicey Pickle.
Entertainment will be provided by 90 West.
The popular Smelt Festival kicks off the festival season in the village and is hosted by the NRRCC, in cooperation with the village and NRAA. DiMino’s Lewiston Tops assists the anglers in purchasing approximately 400 pounds of smelt and having them shipped to the Lewiston store in preparation for the festival.
“With the growing popularity of the festival, Anthony DiMino stepped in a few years ago as a sponsor to help with the volume of smelt needed to accommodate the crowd,” explained Jennifer Pauly, the chamber’s president. “The Anglers Association and Chamber are grateful for the sponsorship, as the festival is a major fundraiser for the Niagara River Anglers to continue to offer important educational programs to the youth, and stocking our local ponds, lakes and rivers.”
The festival is sponsored by DiMino’s Lewiston Tops, Modern Corporation and Waste Management, Inc.
Many Lewiston restaurants will also offer smelt on their menus over the weekend. Participating restaurants serving smelt -- and businesses offering special promotions -- will be identified by a decorative fish flag outside their door. For more information, contact the Chamber office at 754-9500 or online at www.NiagaraRiverRegion.com