The fourth annual Orleans County Heritage Festival, a 10-day celebration of historical and cultural attractions in the county, begins Friday.

The festival is co-sponsored by Orleans County Tourism, the county Department of History and the Cobblestone Museum. Events and activities are intended to showcase the county's people, places, organizations and historical assets, according to tourism coordinator Lynne Menz.

Morning and evening genealogical workshops by Holly Canham, founder of the Orleans County Genealogical Society, will take place daily through Sept. 15 at Hoag Library in Albion. Discussion of DNA testing is a part of the workshops.

Special events on Saturday include:

• Dedication of the Company F Memorial statue at the Medina Armory (YMCA), Pearl Street, at 11 a.m. Statue sculptor Brian Porter of Pendleton will be on hand, along with several guest speakers, veterans and an honor guard.

• Skits depicting actions of New York Central Railroad freight agents and customers, circa 1905, at Medina Railroad Museum, at 1 and 2 p.m.

• Performance of "Now We Stand by Each Other Always," a one-act play that's based on conversations between Civil War Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman, at 1 p.m. at Genesee Community College's Medina Campus Center, 11470 Maple Ridge Road. The players are GCC professors Derek Maxwell and Tracy Ford.

• Kids Day at the Cobblestone Society Museum, 14389 Ridge Road West, Albion. Illustrator Patty Blackburn of Medina will read “Cobble the Museum Mouse”  and each child will receive a copy of the Cobble coloring and story books and the opportunity to make a Cobble the Mouse to take home. Tours of the museum will be available at 3 p.m. Scavenger hunt forms are included with a full museum campus tour. Pre-registration is required; call (585) 589-9013.

Special events next week include:

• A luncheon in the orchard at Hurd Orchards' Heritage Fruit Farm, featuring recipes taken from Orleans County recipe books dated 1895 through the mid 20th century, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Sept. 11. Advance reservations are required; call (585) 638-8838.

• The lecture "Forensic Anthropology, Modern History and Honoring Our Dead," at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at GCC Medina Campus Center. The presenters are Ann Bunch, professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at SUNY Brockport, and her husband Steve. Ann Bunch is a board-certified forensic anthropologist who uses anthropological methods and techniques to reconstruct the past; she and Steve, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, were members of U.S. repatriation teams searching for the remains of fallen American soldiers in Southeast Asia. Their lecture explores the crossroads of forensics, history and emotional closure in several multidisciplinary investigations, from Korea and Vietnam to the World Trade Center attack and other recent criminal queries in New York state.


• An author's talk by Melissa Ostrom, whose novel "The Beloved Wild" is set in Orleans County in the early 19th century, at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at Yates Community Library in Lyndonville.

• A nighttime tour of downtown Albion, beginning at 8 p.m. Sept. 13 and led by Matthew Ballard. The "Murder and Mayhem" torch-lit tour, taking place on Friday the 13th, features stories of disappearances, crafty plans to secure the county seat, murders, theft and more. Participants are urged to bring a flashlight and an umbrella (in case of rain) and wear comfortable shoes.

• Old-Timers Fair at the Cobblestone Society Museum from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 14. Artisans and re-enactors will recreate the feel of Orleans County life in the 19th century.

The festival will conclude in Medina on Sept. 15. Medina Sandstone Society's Hall of Fame at the village hall will be open at 1 p.m. to showcase structures that have been included in the hall of fame. A countywide bus tour of Medina sandstone structures, narrated by retired county historian Bill Lattin, is slated for 1 to 5:30 p.m. The tour fee is $30 per person ($25 per Sandstone Society member); email to reserve seats on the bus.

The closing event is a 4:30 p.m. concert by soprano Patricia L. Worrad, singing songs of years past, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, the Medina sandstone church "in the middle of the street" that's included in Ripley's Believe It or Not. St. John's is home to the oldest congregation in Orleans County.


For the full festival schedule, go to

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