What really makes up the vast majority of New York State are the small towns and villages spread out from one end to the other. The small towns have their own identities and traditions that locals know, while visitors aren't familiar with.

While some traditions are pretty under-the-radar, there's one town that has had a tradition in the past that has gotten national fame because of controversy.

Holley, New York is located about an hour east of Buffalo -- in Orleans County, in the Town of Murray. It's a few minutes from Brockport, New York.

Holley is a charming village, with a local diner that everyone goes to (everyone) called Sam's and has annual festivals and events that bring the community together.

There's one, however, which hasn't happened in a few years that brought a lot of controversies a couple of years ago.

Have you heard of "Squirrel Slam"?

Squirrel Slam is an annual fundraiser that was put together by the Holley Fire Department. The event involves hunting local squirrels and then prizes are given out at the fire department, which also has a raffle on hand. The event raises money for the Holley Fire Department. The event started in 2008 and until 2016, was held in Holley. It took place in Brockport in 2017.

There has not been a squirrel slam since, however, and that's due to numerous protests and legal actions that have been levied against the event, most importantly a lawsuit from 2015 by Lauren Shieve of Williamson.

That lawsuit argued that the Holley Fire Department needed to comply with the Environmental Quality Review Act.

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An Erie County judge ruled against the lawsuit in 2017 and in 2019, the New York State Appellate Court agreed with that ruling after it was appealed.

Even though every lawsuit or legal action has failed, the Holley Fire Department has since stopped the event, because it was "too much time and money with the lawsuits," said Holley Fire Chief, Harris Reed.

I've been to Holley many times over the last five years. My fiancee is from Holley, which has a population of fewer than 2,000 people, and I've spent a lot of time around the people of Holley. The "squirrel slam" event is one of those things you hear for the first time and can't believe it, but the people of Holley are amazing and so is the fire department there.

The event did get Holley, NY on the map, however. That's for sure. If you're ever in Holley, try Sam's Diner. The breakfast and the Monte Cristo sandwich are the go-to's.

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