With the advent of Canalside, we are seeing a new breed of festivals taking root in Buffalo. As more and more festivals and events choose to relocate, or launch along our waterfront, attendees are getting more accustomed to visiting downtown Buffalo to support the functions.
This past summer marked a milestone in the 32-year history of the Buffalo Irish Festival, with approximately 15,000 people in attendance over the course of three days. Not only does that bode well for the festival, it also gives other waterfront venues such as Riverworks a clear signal that the time has come to capitalize on the energy and spirit of the waterfront. “We were thrilled to have had such a successful festival last year that allowed us to showcase the best of Irish culture in Western New York and Southern Ontario,” said Kevin Townsell, chairman of the Buffalo Irish Festival. “Equally gratifying is the ability to give back to the very organizations that help us make the Festival so successful every year.”
Due to the overwhelming attendance, the festival was able to raise $8,500 for the Buffalo Irish Center – a Buffalo institution that is home to more than a dozen non-profit Irish-American organizations. “The Irish Festival, particularly in its new location at Canalside, provides a wonderful opportunity for the many and varied Irish cultural organizations to showcase their offerings, whether it is traditional Irish dancing, genealogical services or the Irish Societies,” added Mary Heneghan, Chairman of the Buffalo Irish Center. “The Irish Festival has been a wonderful partner and we are grateful for the donation that will help us continue our mission of promoting Irish Culture.”
It was not long ago that the Buffalo Irish Festival was looking to relocate to Canalside (2012 in fact), along with myriad other festivals including Oktoberfest. At this point, in such a small period of time, it’s hard to imagine these events not taking place along our waterfront. To think of the economic impact on the city, and the urban pride that comes along with the tens of thousands of attendees that trek to Canalside from all over the region, in hindsight it seems like a no-brainer.
Give the waterfront back to the people, and the people will help to do the rest, as time will continue to tell.
The 2014 Buffalo Irish Festival will be held August 22-24. Check www.BuffaloIrish.com for more details and schedule.