Every year The Red Cross throws a party under the big tent on Delaware Avenue at the corner of Summer. That party is scheduled to take place this Friday, meaning that it’s time to get your army gear together. The concept started as a themed fundraiser with guests dressing in uniforms seen on the television show M*A*S*H. The party has been such a success that over time people began to take the theme more and more seriously (I use that term ‘seriously’ very loosely.) It’s the perfect time to get dressed up in costumes that you might not normally where… unless you’re a doctor, a nurse, a cross-dresser or in the military.
Seeing that the majority of the 4000 visitors get dressed up from year to year, I always make it a point to head down to Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters in the Larkin District to scope out something new. Uncle Sam’s is the country’s largest military clothing warehouse, and is a complete blast to visit. Last Friday I was able to pick up a vintage pair of Russian flight goggles along with a SWAT team vest. I’m not a big stickler for staying true to any sort of military theme – I like to mix and match whatever I think looks like fun (now where are my ghillie pants?)
After my visit to Uncle Sam’s, I received an email from Chris Story, Director of Retail Operations at the military warehouse. Not only was Chris excited about this year’s The BASH, he was also pumped about the Larkin District and the business’s close proximity to all of the action. “Upon visiting Uncle Sam’s, the first thing that Buffalonians will be struck by is the amount that has changed to the area,” Chris wrote to me. “There is the bustle of construction everywhere as a once industrial ghost town is teeming with newly renovated buildings, housing companies such as First Niagara and Robert Half International. Seneca Street is neat and trim with new lampposts, streetscaping and dozens of buildings sporting new facades. Taking a gander at this thriving new pulse is worth a drive from anywhere. If you’re a suburbanite – I can tell you that any negative impression you have about the City of Buffalo is outdated. Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters is working hard to get that message out to the masses.
“On any given day you will find the 50,000 sq ft store (that specializes in military goods from around the world) a beehive of activity as customers from all walks of life browse through the unique collection of goods. We get everyone in here. From Boy Scouts going away to camp to hunters to ‘hipsters’, everybody shops here because we have such great stuff. A lot of people would be surprised at all that we have here but we aren’t just retail. We do a lot of work for Hollywood. We have supplied costumes, set pieces or props for so many movies. From the remake of ‘The Thing’ to every ‘Resident Evil’ movie to ‘Batman’, ‘The Hulk’, ‘Transformers’ and everything in between. Right now we have a lot of people coming in and buying costumes for the Red Cross Bash event. It’s the biggest military themed event I can think of and it’s for a great cause.”
Uncle Sam’s is not just costumes and military collectibles. The selection of camping goods, bags and backpacks, clothing and gear is staggering. Located at 290 Larkin St Buffalo, NY 14210, Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters is open Monday through Saturday 9-6 (with extended hours this week for the BASH event – Wed and Thur till 8pm). Have a question? You can call them at 716-852-2769. If you cannot make it, you can always visit them online at: www.armynavydeals.com although plan a day of it and tour the store in person. With plenty of parking available this trip to a hidden Buffalo treasure should top your list of activities this summer.
Friday, June 1, 2012
8 p.m. – midnight
786 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo