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2021 Programming: The New Sights and Sounds of the Buffalo Waterfront

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and Be Our Guest (BRG) have unveiled some fun new attractions along the waterfront, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

The attraction that will most likely make the greatest impact is a series of interactive all-ages, illuminated “Impulse” seesaws* (teeter-totters) that can be found at Wilkeson Pointe. I paid a visit yesterday, to check them out in person, and they are definitely an impressive sight to behold. When I asked someone at the site about the reaction from visitors, he told me that people were, at first, being cautious because they were not exactly sure if it was public art, or available to use. But curiosity eventually got the best of everyone – slowly but surely people would walk up and push them up and down, thus further animating the built-in LED lights and speakers that play musical notes. Once they realized the interactive nature of the art installation they climbed aboard the giant metal “tubes” to test them out. There are 15 seesaws to choose from, ranging from 16 feet to 24 feet in length. Watching both kids and adults engaging with the “Impulse” seesaws was a delight. This singular new addition to the Outer Harbor is going to be a wonderful attraction, albeit temporary. 

Not far from the seesaws (right next to the sand volleyball courts), Be Our Guest is now operating a new double-decker bar at the expanded beer garden. Other immediate attractions include the Nosh and Nibble food truck, horseshoe pits, cornhole, and the Game On! kickball and volleyball leagues that are heating up all summer long (through Labor Day weekend). 

“Western New Yorkers want to get outside and enjoy this summer, especially after more than a year of living under covid restrictions,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia.  “ECHDC and Be Our Guest have been busy constructing and planning new attractions and activities for people of all ages to enjoy. The summer schedule will give families safe and affordable options to spend a day on the Buffalo waterfront.”

New activities and events for 2021 include:

  • At Canalside
    • Buffalo Heritage Carousel
    • Expanded beer garden at Clinton’s Dish
    • Free tours of Packet Boat building in the Longshed
    • Shark Girl returns
    • Free Explore & More Children’s Museum outdoor programming
    • Kayaks, water bikes, and paddle boats
    • Free Fitness at Canalside presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY
    • Creators on the Boardwalk markets
    • Historical programming, including a new partnership with Young Audiences of WNY
  • At the Outer Harbor
    • Thunder on the Buffalo Waterfront Air Show (including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerobatic team)
    • New beer garden at Wilkeson Pointe featuring a double decker bar and Nosh and Nibble food truck
    • Impulse art installation at Wilkeson Pointe (seesaws)
    • New food and beverage area at the Lakeside Bike Park
    • Fitness in the Parks presented by Independent Health

There will also be an international touring light exhibit to look forward to, as well as the ribbon cutting for the Buffalo Heritage Carousel (today at 11am). Not to mention the return of  Shark Girl.

“We are delighted that Shark Girl has made it back in time for a busy summer season at Canalside,” said Aaron Ott, Curator of Public Art at the Albright-Knox. “We truly appreciate the wonderful partnership with ECHDC that allowed us to get this important work done, and we’re excited to see fans interact with Shark Girl for a very long time.”

“It’s going to be an exciting summer at the Buffalo Waterfront. We are thrilled to welcome visitors back to Canalside and Outer Harbor in a safe manner,” said Kevin Parkinson, Vice President of Operations and Finance for Be Our Guest. “We have a full line-up of unique events and experiences, along with the return of longstanding programming with our community partners.”

Fitness at Canalside, presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, will be in full swing, with in-person fitness classes starting on Tuesday June 1. Visitors can look forward to everything from Zumba to Blue Bike rentals.

“We are all looking forward to this summer and are thrilled to welcome our community back to get healthy with us on Buffalo’s beautiful waterfront as we kick off our 7th season of Fitness at Canalside,” said Julie R. Snyder, Vice President, Community Affairs, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York. “This is an important part of our mission – offering free fitness classes, Blue Bikes and all of the other offerings at what we like to refer to as ‘Buffalo’s beloved front-lawn’. We know that after a year of social-distancing, it will be a summer to remember.”

For additional fitness routines, there will be Independent Health Presents Fitness in the Parks at Wilkeson Pointe, including rotating classes on the weekends. 

“As we all look forward to another beautiful summer season in Western New York, many will go to the waterfront to get active and be healthy at the Outer Harbor,” said Michelle Carbery, senior corporate wellness specialist at Independent Health.  “Whether it’s kayak and bike rentals or the peaceful scene of possibly our most popular Fitness in the Parks location at Wilkeson Pointe, Independent Health is proud to help bring the many summer activities at Outer Harbor to everyone throughout our community to enjoy.”

Further activities and amenities to look forward to:

  • Table games/game rentals, BFLO Kayak tours/rentals, water bike rentals, Spirit of Buffalo rides, History Tour Boat rides, biking and walking tours, and Buffalo Sunset Chairs, will also be available throughout the summer beginning Memorial Day Weekend.
  • The Lakeside Bike Park
  • The Longshed packet boat project
  • Young Audiences of Western New York will bring some history to Canalside this summer with the installation of a living artwork depicting the history of the Underground Railroad as told through story quilting. This programming will be held in the Pavilion at the Replica Canals.
  • Clinton’s Dish is open from 11am until sunset daily or cool off with an ice cream cone from the Ice Cream Kiosk along the Boardwalk. 
  • And finally, children’s programming with Explore & More Children’s Museum will include Free Play Fridays from July 2 through August 27 and Trucking Through Summer, which will bring a rotating line up of vehicles for children to interact with directly outside of the museum’s entrance.

Michelle Urbanczyk, Explore & More CEO said, “We are very excited to be a part of Canalside programming offering in-person, safe and fun summer activities for children.  We are thrilled to be able to offer Trucking Through the Summer A-Z,  where every Wednesday and Friday from 11-2 we will feature various trucks outside- ending in our family favorite Touch a Truck event on August 28, 2021, in addition to a Bike Rodeo and other family friendly programming to the Buffalo Waterfront.”

 For all of the latest updates to the summer schedule keep checking

*Impulse is the creation of Lateral Office and CS Design with production by Quartier des Spectacles Partnership.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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