Games, contests and vendors abound at Falling Leaves

As many as 75 various crafts and food vendors are expected to set up at Jefferson Street Park this year for the annual Falling Leaves Festival, offering a wide variety of gifts and treats.

SALAMANCA — As expected, dozens of crafts and food vendors will be setting up shop at Jefferson Street Park for the annual Salamanca Seneca Falling Leaves Festival.

But those who stop by will also have the opportunity to try their luck at some games and contests set to take place throughout the weekend.

So far, more than 60 vendors have signed up for a spot in the park, officials said, and by the time festival weekend comes, that number could exceed 70.

“They’re running right on schedule as before,” said Jodi Scanlan, a festival organizer who manages the vendors. “We’ll definitely hit our numbers from last year, and we’ll may have more because we were ahead of how many put in their application at the last meeting from last year.”

As far as food vendors, festival organizer Kathy Sarver said there are more food vendors than past years, including some new foods attendees should check out.

“Different food vendors, not just the same, but we’ve got different things coming,” she added.

For games and contests, returning for the first time in several years is I Got It, a festival favorite that will kick off the weekend Friday, Oct. 4 under the tent at 4 p.m.

“I think a lot of people will be happy that I Got It is back,” Sarver said. “That’s a big thing.”

Then on Saturday, Oct. 5, attendees have several opportunities to show off their appetites with back-to-back eating contests. First is the no-hands pie-eating contest at 1:45 p.m. followed immediately by the hot dog-eating contest at 2.

Later on Saturday at 4 p.m., the festival will once again feature kids' games under the tent. Children of all ages are invited to come up on stage and try their best to take home a small prize by winning various quick games against their friends and peers.

Finally on Sunday, one of the biggest hits of last year’s festival returns as the money machine will be set up at the park at 5 p.m.

“When the money machine is being done this year, you have to be there when the drawing takes place,” Scanlan said. “You have to stand there, and then if your name gets called, you get to go in.”

Ten lucky contests will have their ticket drawn for a chance to jump in the wind tunnel sponsored by Seneca Gaming and grab as much cash as they can in 45 seconds. Last year, contestants walked away with more than $1,300 in all.

Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at the information booth in the park all weekend long. There are only 250 tickets available.