The battle of the free concert series has officially begun. Fortunately in this case, the two concert series in question are located in close proximity, which means that you can catch a little bit of both if you want to (I'm going to try tonight). While the Buffalo River Fest Park live music programming (see poster below) has been going on for a couple of years now, the Larkin District recently announced a weekly concert series on the same day of the week (Live at Larkin
)... and a stone's throw away.
Alas there are only so many days of the week in which to rally the musical troops. To be truthful, I'm starting to lose track of all of the different outdoor music events. So be it - I can remember a day when Thursday at The Square was just about the only game in town.
If you're still unfamiliar with River Fest Park, there's only one thing that you need to remember. It's a short walk from the Metro Rail to the park... no kidding! Take the rail to Canalside, head south and walk along the river (behind the DL&W Terminal), head past The Cotter fireboat at Ohio Street and then just yonder from The Swannie House... and you've arrived. It's easy to get to by bike or boat too. If you are driving, there's plenty of parking along Ohio Street. The event is sponsored by The Valley Community Center, and offers incredible views onto Silo City!
If you're completely at a loss when trying to identify this part of the city, then consider taking a walking or cycling tour of the old First Ward and/or the Buffalo River. Following is all of the info that you will need to get you back on track with this historic area of Buffalo's waterfront:
Walking tours will take place on Monday, July 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th at 6pm. There is a cost of $10 per person for the walking tours which will also include a shuttle and boat ride. Bicycle tours will take place on Sunday, July 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th at 10am and are free. Both tours start at the Mutual Riverfront Park, which is located at Hamburg and South Streets, and will be narrated by First Ward historian Gene Overdorf.
Sites and topics will include the China Light House, Finghy Connors Saloon, the DL&W Terminal and coal docks, the E.M. Cotter Fire Boat, the Tewksbury Accident, the Fenian gathering, the Ohio Basin, Rogues Hollow, Union Town, Elevator Alley, Farmers Point, Greta Northern Grain Elevator, and many more.
Those interested in participating in the tours should pre-register with the Valley Community Association by calling 716-823-4707 ext. 2.
And if that wasn't enough, get ready for Squeaky Wheel's "Hands-On Movie Nights" - this is all about a grassroots waterfront park showing water-themed animations and cinema. While Squeaky Wheel has been known to set up screens at local parks, this is the first time (that I'm aware of) that the indie film organization has ventured to the Buffalo River. Here are all of the details:
A Night of Water by the Water at Buffalo River Fest Park
(activities start at 7:30, screening starts at dusk)
Water-themed animations, Anna Scime's Buffalo River film "Everybody Lives Downstream," the hands-on animation station, interactive media-art, Riverkeeper demos, and more!
Part I - Water-Themed Animations
A series of river, lake, ocean, puddle, tap and other kind of water-themed short animations from around the world. These selections will include "Streamschool," Péter Vácz's animated film based on a Hungarian poem about growing up; "Bottle," Kirsten Lepore's sweet transoceanic love story between a snowperson and a... sandperson; and other whimsical watery shorts.
Part II - "Everybody Lives Downstream"
An up-close-and-personal, beneath-the-surface look into the very body of water that borders this park - the Buffalo River with Anna Scime's short documentary entitled "Everybody Lives Downstream." Anna and a few members of the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper staff, who collaborated with the filmmaker to produce this film, will be on hand to answer any questions the audience might come up with.
Don't forget that there is always a ton of ongoing programming at River Fest Park, and while the concert series and festivals are a ton of fun, there are a few other noteworthy reasons to pay a visit to one of the city's best new waterfront assets. Primarily a series of free health classes that meet at the River Fest wharf:
Yoga on Tuesday nights from 6-7pm
Zumba on Thursday nights from 6-7pm
These classes are free and meet on the Wharf