Winterfest provides full range of entertainment and activities beginning Saturday
On the heels of this morning's snowfall, the Canalside district in Buffalo will be extra busy this weekend with a wide range of activities for all to enjoy.
"Winter in Buffalo is a fun and enjoyable time of year, and we're ready to start 2015 with a big celebration," said HARBORCENTER President John R. Koelmel. "Whether you're a hockey or football fan, outdoor enthusiast or just looking for an enjoyable venue in which to relax and have fun this weekend, HARBORCENTER and Canalside is the place to be.
"We have the medal rounds of the IIFH Under-18 Women's World Championship Sunday and Monday, as well as Canisius College and Buffalo Jr. Sabres hockey on Saturday.
"HARBORCENTER Winterfest at Canalside will provide those who enjoy the outdoors with a wide range of activities all weekend long. And football fans will be able to watch the NFL playoffs on both Saturday and Sunday as well as the NCAA Championship game Monday night on the big screen at (716) Food and Sport. Whatever your winter focus - indoors or out - we'll provide an entertaining experience for everyone."
The outdoor fun kicks-off with a full day of activities on Saturday. Beginning at 1 p.m., visitors can enjoy a unique shopping experience as local vendors will offer jewelry, clothing and other items of local interest. Explore & More Children's Museum will offer free programing for children, while Tifft Nature Preserve produces a number of outdoor activities designed to maximize enjoyment of the elements of winter. Throughout the day, there will be a heated tent with music, visits from Sabretooth, several food trucks and other refreshments available at The Ice at Canalside. Outdoor skaters will be joined by Sabres alumni and former U.S. Olympians, as gold and silver medal winner Shelley Looney and two-time silver medalist Monique Lamoureux join Larry Playfair and Derek Smith on the ice from 2-3 p.m. Outdoor music will be available Saturday evening, as Bruce Wojick takes the microphone at 5 p.m.
An extended outdoor happy hour starts at 3 p.m. Saturday in front of (716) Food and Sport. Food and drink will be served from an ice bar that will complement the highly popular and already widely photographed ice sculpture that represents all eight countries participating in the Women's World Championship. Other features include a heated tent with live music from Keith Shuskie and celebrity bartenders with the likes of Sabretooth and several Sabres alumni.
Throughout the afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday, HARBORCENTER will offer free horse and carriage rides. For football fans, the NFL playoff games will be available inside (716) on the big screen. College hockey fans can then head up to First Niagara Rink at HARBORCENTER as the Canisius Golden Griffins host Holy Cross at 7:30 p.m.
Again on Sunday, outdoor enthusiasts can continue to celebrate the winter season with skating on The Ice at Canalside, children's programing from Explore & More, and Tifft Nature Preserve's seasonal activities. Boutique shopping will again be available from noon to 5 p.m. That afternoon, refreshments will again be available outdoors at (716) Food and Sport, while the final two NFL playoff games can be viewed inside on the restaurant's 38-foot screen. The semifinal round of the U18 Women's World Championship highlights Sunday's hockey activities. Canada will take on the winner of today's Russia and Finland quarterfinal game at 3:30 p.m., and the U.S. faces the winner of this evening's Czech Republic/Sweden quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Sunday. The winners of those two games advance to Monday night's gold medal final.
The weekend celebration culminates at 7 p.m. Monday with the gold medal game at HARBORCENTER. A sold-out crowd of more than 1,800 will join in crowning the 2015 women's U18 world champion. Fans who were unable to get tickets will have the opportunity to experience the game at (716) Food and Sport, where it will be streamed live throughout the restaurant. Fans will have a championship experience from the moment they arrive at HARBORCENTER, as a pep band will line the facility's Washington Street entrance, producing live music that creates an atmosphere of anticipation. That same band will add to the excitement of the NCAA National Football Championship game between Ohio State and Oregon,which kicks off at 8:30 p.m. Monday on the big screen at (716).
"Embrace the new year and a beautiful Buffalo winter weekend by enjoying a fabulous Canalside and HARBORCENTER experience," Koelmel said. "We have activities, entertainment, food and refreshments, and more that will appeal to all. There's fun and enjoyment to be had by everyone."