Summer Festivals offer a Glimpse into Buffalo’s Rich History
Summer is finally here once again, and summer in Buffalo means plenty of entertainment and festivals! Last year, my summer started off in rainy, cloudy England, ended in the lush green landscape of Ireland, and topped off with a mad dash from the Buffalo airport directly to the Taste of Buffalo for judging. This summer is quite different, but no less busy. With some new arrivals to the festival scene this year, here is a list of some of my favorites, and a bit of “I bet you didn’t know” sprinkled on top.
The 4th of July is more than just fireworks displays, as we celebrate our country’s independence (well it’s current independence), not only do the skies come alive with vibrant displays of color, but so does our waterfront. This year, the Buffalo Harbor Sailing club will hold its annual Boat Parade. The Buffalo Harbor Sailing Club is the center of racing on Lake Erie in Buffalo, NY. Established in 1977, the club is a non-profit association operated by a volunteer board of directors. The club focus is the race program run on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in addition to weekend regattas. Educational programs are run throughout the year as the club views training as the lynch pin to having a strong race program. The race program consists of multiple fleets including main and jib, spinnaker, a women’s series, multi-hull, J22 one-design, single and double handed races and long distance, overnight races. Visit www.buffaloharborsailingclub.org for more information about this event.
Once again, the Taste of Buffalo is back and bigger than ever! Over 55 restaurants have joined the festival this year. The largest two-day food festival in the nation, which began in 1984, sees more than 500,000 individuals from across the globe descend on our fair city for this two-day gastronomic gluttony. Staples like Chrusciki Bakery, BW’s BBQ, The Flaming Fish Food Truck, Osteria 166, Saigon Cafe, and newbies like SEAR Steakhouse will be on hand for our dining pleasure. This festival is a tradition I have come to greatly enjoy. As a food writer, it gives me a chance to really talk to owners, chefs, and festival goers about the food, traditions, and favorites. Once again this year, I will be judging! I will sample many, many different styles of food, and help determine the winners. Stop out, and if you see me, say hello!
Named after Hamburg, Germany, Hamburg NY will hold its annual Hamburger Fest July 15th. While many national cities lay claim to the first ever invented Hamburger, there is no doubt that the Menches brothers came up with the hamburger delicacy at a local fair in the late 1880’s in this region. This festival, started in 1985, is a one-day annual outdoor community event with food, music, and entertainment on Main & Buffalo streets in the Village of Hamburg. It has grown into an enormous event, of which I truly look forward to each year. Melodic tunes, from vinyl rock to Jazz and everything in-between, ooze out slowly, intermingling at every street corner. Vendors showcase their creative burger concoctions; wine and beer is sipped as tourists and locals walk the ole’ fashion streets. Hamburg, NY has some of the best burgers in Buffalo. One of my favorites is Juicy’s Burger Bar which will have its grand re-opening, (due to an expansion thanks in large part to its popularity), during Burger Fest. Visit www.hamburgburgerfest.com for more information.
Southern Tier Brewing Summer Fest will take place again this year in Lakewood NY. This festival will feature live music from Rochester-based reggae band Mosaic Foundation on its outdoor stage. A food vendor, and a keg bowling tournament (with a trophy for the winner), will also be part of this year’s festivities. Indoor and outdoor bars will be open, and samplings of their newest creations will be available (like Nu Skool IPA). Visit stbcbeer.com for more details.
The Taste of Orchard Park will take place in the village on July 26th. Orchard Park was started by Quaker settlers in 1803. The village, formerly called “Potters Corners”, was incorporated in 1921. The name change to “Orchard Park” was suggested by a local schoolteacher, and years later, the town followed suit, changing its name from “East Hamburg” to “Orchard Park”, after the village. Stroll the quaint Quaker inspired streets and sample the mouth-watering specialties from a variety of local restaurants. Live music will be featured. For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 662-3366.
Want a taste of diversity, stop out to the Lebanese Festival. Taking place in Williamsville NY the weekend of July 28th, this annual festival continues to share its heritage with the Western New York community, in an enjoyable and unique way, by offering delicious and authentic food, music and entertainment, games for children, raffles, and bounce houses.
For more information regarding the Festival, please call (716) 634-0669 or visit their website at www.stjohnmaron.com.
54 years of tradition, and the Eden Corn Fest is going strong. A peaceful drive out to the countryside, with bright red barns and pastures dotting the landscape, leads you to a cornucopia of corn! Featuring a carnival, corn judging and auction, a corn queen beauty contest, pet show, tug-of-war, and a parade, there is something for everyone. The Eden Corn Fest gives festival goers a chance to learn about some of the area’s history, including the difficulties many farmers had–in 1954, corn was only sold for 10 cents an ear. The festival offers some new and inventive ways people use and cook corn, and all we have to do is show up and eat. A few years ago, I got to sit in the Dukes of Hazard car!! Anyone who knows me, knows what a big deal that was. It’s a great festival. Stop out and enjoy.
Highland games, stone put, caber toss, clan attendance….what do all these things have in common? The annual Scottish Festival at Buffalo Heritage Village. With live entertainment, games, food, pipe bands, and more, you don’t want to miss this Herculean event! Visit www.bnhv.org for more information.
If you would like more information on any of these festivals or the many more I haven’t listed, contact me through my contact page. Happy eats everyone!