Autumnfest welcomes parents into Geneseo community with new fall traditions

Despite the wind and the chilly weather this weekend, locals, students and visiting parents bundled up and came out to celebrate the second annual Main Street Autumnfest on Saturday Oct. 26. Throughout the afternoon, hayrides gave guests a tour of the historical Wadsworth Homestead, and local artisans and organizations set up booths along the sidewalks.

Main Street businesses and restaurants welcomed customers into their crowded establishments to warm up before heading back out into the festivities.

Junior Lauren Hollasch, the Geneseo Main Street manager, was responsible for most of this year's setup and details that were meticulously planned out.

Hollasch has been a part of Autumnfest for both years of its existence and has been working with the Geneseo merchants since she took the communication internship last year.

“My official definition is that, as Geneseo Main Street manager, I work with the Livingston County Development Corporation to promote the downtown district of Geneseo through different events and advertisements,” Hollasch said.

Hollasch works directly with Spring Morrow from Frugal Fashionista and Bob Davis from Geneseo Computers. “The three of us are basically in charge of the entire event - we coordinate everything,” she said.

This year, the sisters of Sigma Delta Tau helped coordinate free pumpkin painting and, with the help of the of Alpha Chi Rho and Alpha Phi Omega, conducted and supervised the “Great Pumpkin Race” down Bank Street.

For the first annual pumpkin roll-off, participants could buy a pumpkin for $1 and roll it down the hill on Bank Street to win prizes from different Main Street businesses.

For those brave enough to cross the traffic-filled road, local vendors offered fall-time treats like donuts, apples, kettle corn and sandwiches from “Cheesed and Confused” along Center Street.

The festival also included live entertainment from local and college groups including Southside Boys, Geneseo Bhangra, The Whale and the Warbler, Ralph Louis Scicchitano, Hieronymus Bogs, Hips 'n' Harmony, Geneseo Knightline, a magic act from senior Phil Romano, Geneseo Throws Up Juggling Club and Slainte Irish Dance.

Hollasch said events like this work to bring the Main Street merchants and the college campus together.

“The best part about Autumnfest is that it's on Parents Weekend - and that's on purpose,” she said. “It's a great way to show the SUNY campus and the parents the community we live in and how it really is a part of our college life.”

Hollasch said she hopes that Autumnfest will let people know what exactly Main Street has to offer and will get people to utilize all the services it can provide.

“Geneseo has so many hidden gems. There are places besides Mama Mia's and Pizza Paul's on your Friday and Saturday nights,” Hollasch said. “And it's so hard to get people to really see that until they come to events like this.”