‘Cake Boss’ visits festival in Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN – Residents attending the inaugural Harvest Festival on Saturday were in for a sweet treat, literally.

Buddy Valastro, from the TLC show “Cake Boss,” made a surprise visit to the downtown festival while filming a new TV show.

Valastro is currently working with Grandma Millie’s Bakery, which is at the Fulton County Airport, for a new show, “Bakery Boss.” In the show, an official with TLC previously said, Valastro will offer his wisdom to help struggling bakeries.

“I just want to thank everybody for coming out today and I’m really excited to be here,” he addressed a crowd in the Main Street park. “We’re really excited to be helping out Grandma Millie’s.”

Festival attendees could get a ticket and wait in line for their chance to try one of three baked goods.

Many residents were excited for the chance to see the “Cake Boss” in person.

“This is great for the community,” Amanda Hewitt, a resident of Johnstown, said. “It’s drawing a lot of attention to Johnstown and everyone is coming out together to see him and enjoy this festival. I’m a big fan of the show so I’m really excited.”

Hewitt’s friend, Lauren Pica, agreed.

“It must be good for local businesses too,” she said. “This is an awesome thing for Johnstown.”

Kathy Licciardi, owner of Stewart & Bergen Locksmith, said she watches “Cake Boss” and was excited to hear Valastro would be at the festival.

“I’m excited. I watch ‘Cake Boss’ often and this is great,” Licciardi said. “For a small town we have it together; it’s a nice place to live. It’s still quaint and very community[-oriented] and we pull together for a lot of stuff, like today.”

Filming for the show is scheduled to end today at the airport.

Chandra Cotter, city engineer and one of the events coordinators on the city’s Tourism/Special Events Committee, said the festival was planned to unite the community.

“This is all to show what Johnstown has to offer and also to give our residents something to look forward to as well,” she said.

Saturday’s festival included a children’s Halloween parade, which according to Cotter had more than 100 participants, hay wagon rides, face painting, music, safety presentations from the city of Johnstown police and fire departments and a chili cook-off.

Cotter said about 300 people attended the festival.

Erica Wing, also a committee member and the director of the Johnstown Public Library, said she hopes to have another festival next year.

“The turnout shows that the city of Johnstown likes this event so hopefully we can have more,” she said.

Gloversville festival

Gloversville conducted its first annual Fall Festival on Saturday at the Trail?Station?Park on West Fulton Street.

The Gloversville Recreation Commission hosted the event.

Jean Chain, a volunteer with the commission, said several council people and city officials helped put the event together.

The free event included pumpkin painting, horse-drawn wagon rides, potato sack races, a hula hoop contest, face painting, bounce houses, music and vendors.

In addition to a barbecue fundraiser at the park, there also was a children’s Halloween costume parade.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but we’ve had a fantastic turnout,” Jean Chain, a volunteer with the commission, said.

Chain said there were about 500 people who attended the festival.

“We’ll absolutely do this again next year,” she said.

Dayna Turner, who attended the festival with her two children, said she thinks events like the festival bring the community together.

“I think this is wonderful especially because there isn’t a lot for the kids to do around here anyway, and this is free, and the kids really seem to enjoy it, especially mine,” she said.

Chain said the recreation commission is looking for more volunteers.

“We’re always looking for ideas and help,” she said. “We would love for people to help us, it’s really appreciated.”

She encourages people to attend the recreation nights every other Tuesday evening at the Gloversville senior center.