By Irene Rykaszewski
Niagara Gazette — The month of June began with the delightful return of “Alice In Wonderland”, at Seneca (“Bug”) Park. This afternoon of fun activities for kids of all ages included hat decorating, face painting, bubbles, story telling, making bookmarks and fans, a parade and of course a zany tea party with a Mad Hatter... or two.. or three! The highlight of the day was a dynamic and riveting performance of “Alice!“ by the fabulous Motus O Dance Theater from Toronto.
There were so many individuals, groups and businesses that helped to make this a truly memorable day. Our friends at the Lewiston Library hosted two free Alice movie nights prior to the main event and children’s librarian Ann Seijka, assumed the persona of the Red Queen while reading brief versions of Alice to the children at the storytelling station. Wendy Duignan and June Crawford lent their incredible collection of Alice memorabilia to the Lewiston and Niagara Falls libraries and created delightful displays leading up to the event. Jayce Dietz mobilized an impressive group of costumed LewPort Drama Club students (under the direction of Ms. Karla Cammarata) and a cadre of Middle School students who helped out with every aspect of the event. Their energy and dynamic personalities delighted parents and children alike. Special thanks to Marble Orchard Player, Alex Gentile, whose Mad Hatter commanded the park and mesmerized the children, and to 2014 Peach Queen, Ali Casale, who made a special appearance as the Red Queen.
The Tea Party was delightful and offered guests tea donated by Wal-Mart as well as beautifully decorated and delicious cookies donated by our finest Lewiston Bakeries — DiCamillo Baking Company, Mangia Café and the Village Bake Shoppe, and Kelly’s County Store provided free candy and some wonderful Alice sculptures for the park decor. DiCamillos and the Niagara River Region Chamber also helped out by selling tickets for the event.
Many thanks to our dedicated staff and board members who decorated, served, entertained, dressed up and enthusiastically worked to make it a wonderful afternoon, especially Dale Williamson, Marilynn Herowski, Pat McDonald, Elizabeth Davis and our most charming Caterpillar, Claudia Carnes. Volunteer extraordinaire, Terry Galbraith went all out to create adorable tea cup ‘fascinator’ hats and crowns for the children to decorate and wear while they paraded around the park.
The extraordinary performance by Motus O was made possible in part through a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (administered through Arts Services Initiative) and the support of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and Modern Corporation. The sustained support of the Town and Village of Lewiston boards make all of our projects possible. Thanks to each and all who made this such a wonderful experience for everyone who attended.Irene Rykaszewski is the executive director of the Lewiston Council on the Arts.