Photos & Story by Dave Warner

The 2018 Cheese Festival was a huge success and volunteers met to have just a bit of a celebration Sunday in Rotary Park.

The estimates for attendance this year were 3,500 people.  Last year there were almost 4,000, but part of that crowd was a result of having it on the same weekend as the Boilermaker in Utica. Overall, everyone was thrilled with how it went and was satisfied the way things turned out.

According to Kyrie Felio, chairperson of the event “most of us on the committee kind of took it over from the previous leaders and it was like a solo run this year, so I think the team pulled together really well and everyone’s really proud of it.”

The committee is already thinking about next year and emailing thoughts and ideas back and forth. Planning will start very soon for next year’s event, but actual meetings won’t begin until September.

Ideas are being tossed around and there’s lots of room for growth. This year was the first that the festival had received national coverage. “We have lots of ideas for entertainment, but there’s nothing firm at this point,” continued Felio. “We’re really interested in doing a re-design of the logo, having some t-shirts next year, since it’s our fifth anniversary of the festival,” she said.

“I really think the crafters fair was a great way to bring everyone to the west end of Main Street,” said Felio. “It was crowded down there, the music was great. I was really happy the way things worked out.”

Felio said “I think we’ll have to think a little bit about expanding the festival. We might be able to push a little further down the west end of Main Street, we’re kind of packed in as tightly as we can be on the other side.”

“We’ve been trying to grow each year, but not too much,” stated Felio. “We want to make sure our vendors have plenty of customers and I think we’re doing that pretty well.”

“We want the pull to be cheese, but we really want people to have fun. We’re also really conscious of the fact that this will be the fifth year and want to do something special,” she said.