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Buffalo’s Annual Grease Pole Festival

Buffalo’s 40 annual Grease Pole Festival, “El Paolo Ensebao”, is coming up on the weekend of July 10th, 11th, and 12th.  This celebration of Spanish culture is the oldest ethnic festival within the City of Buffalo.  The festival is free of admission, and will take place at 261 Swan St., the corner of Swan and Chicago.

The entertainment will include various genres of Latino music including salsa, reggaeton, meringue, and bachata, with artists coming from New York City, Orlando, and Puerto Rico.  There will also be local musicians performing from Buffalo and Rochester.  The festival will also feature several dance contests as well.  As one would expect of an ethnic festival, there will be plenty of ethnic food available.  For the young ones, there will be an array of carnival rides set up.  “With the economy getting worse and worse every year, some kids can’t afford to go to Darien Lake.  So for the inner city kids, this is something they look forward to . . . getting to go on the rides and everything,” according to Willie Olivencia Jr., who runs the festival.  Plenty of food will be available for purchase.

The festival’s main event is the grease pole competition.  Teams of five (some coed, and some all men) climb to the top of a greased up pole, 35 feet in height.   Each time has a certain number of seconds to get to the top.  Mr. Olivencia relates that the grease pole competition is “something that my grandfather brought over from Puerto Rico.  It was something he saw in a lot of the festivals in some of the towns there.”

The festivals hours will be 5pm-11pm on Friday, noon-11PM on Saturday, and noon-10PM on Sunday.

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