Town Of Hamilton To Host Great Chocolate Train Wreck Festival
Hamilton, NY (WIBX) – To the unobservant passerby, a train wreck isn’t exactly something people are supposed to celebrate. But, when no one gets hurt and the train is chock full of delicious chocolate… well, then it’s a little more appropriate.
Dominick Pangallo is the Marketing and Development Coordinator with the Partnership for Community Development. He explains the impetus behind Hamilton’s Great Chocolate Train Wreck Festival.
“The festival is a commemoration of an event that happened in September of 1955, when a freight train carrying some Nestle chocolate products passing through Hamilton derailed in the town,” Pangallo said. “Nobody was injured, but the word quickly spread around the village that a train carrying a substantial quantity of chocolates had derailed. The children descended on the unexpected bounty and availed themselves of it.”
This Saturday, train and chocolate enthusiasts alike will convene on the small college town of Hamilton, located about 40 minutes south of Utica, to celebrate the Great Chocolate Train Wreck Festival. From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., attendees can listen to folk music for free from local and national acts, buy chocolate from area vendors and take part in games and rides.
Musical acts include artists like Pamme Swan, from Earlville, and Hamilton-based band, Dove Creek. Featured artists include Bill Staines, Bill Harley and Tracy Grammer.
But, the event isn’t all about the treats. There is a historical aspect to the festival, too.
“The Historic Commission has a tent where they display artifacts and photographs of the event,” Pangallo said. “At 10:30, they’ll hold a walking tour that will start from their tent and go down to the wreck site, which is just outside of the downtown area.”
Other historical events include a panel discussion with people who were at the wreck as eyewitnesses. They will talk about what they saw that day, as children, and answers questions from the crowd.
Pangallo says kids can also have a great time without the sugar rush.
“Children who come to the festival, in addition to enjoying the family fun zone tent, where they can get their faces painted and play games, there’s going to be some amusement rides and bouncy houses,” Pangallo said.
He also mentioned a new adventure… The Chocolate Ticket.
“They can pick up the Chocolate Ticket at the main information tent on the village green,” Pangallo said. “They bring the ticket around to the downtown businesses here in Hamilton and they get their chocolate ticket punched and a free piece of chocolate.”
Kids can get up to five pieces of chocolate per ticket.
Once the festival ends, there’s an hour wait until the final event of the day; an original musical production by the Palace Players. They will act out the “Swiete Chocolate Factory,” at 5 p.m. at Hamilton’s Palace Theater. The cost to attend the show is $8 for kids and $14 for anyone 18 or older.