Extensive events and activities are planned to embrace winter in the Queen City
Key stakeholders near Buffalo's downtown waterfront have numerous events on "Buffalo Winter Weekends," a collaborative series of events to celebrate and embrace winter and waterfront connectivity. Visit Buffalo Niagara, Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC)/Canalside, HARBORCENTER, Buffalo RiverWorks, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Larkinville, Canisius College and Arts Services Initiative of Western New York are working together to attract visitors to the waterfront on weekends spanning Jan. 14 through Feb. 21.
Buffalo's waterfront district is the liveliest it has been in generations. From ice biking and skating to curling, hockey, roller derby, shopping and more, The Ice at Canalside presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, HARBORCENTER, Larkinville and Buffalo RiverWorks are the hotspots to be this winter. Find a full list of events at www.BuffaloWinterWeekends.com and experience everything that one of America's great winter cities has to offer.
The celebration kicks off with the latest installment of the "Battle of the Bridge Rivalry" as Canisius College hosts Niagara University for the first time on HARBORCENTER ice with a 7:35 p.m. faceoff on Thursday, Jan. 14. The teams hit the ice for a second time at 3:05 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16.
Throughout the weekend, HARBORCENTER and Buffalo RiverWorks will host games for THE CUP North American Championship, a highly competitive youth hockey tournament held throughout Western New York that draws more than 120 of the top teams from across the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, the Sabres host home games against the Bruins (Friday) and Capitals (Saturday).
That same long weekend, Canalside presents "Chillabration," with children's activities on and off the ice, a vendor market with local artisans, live music and more, including an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Record for the "Longest Ice Line" at 8 a.m. on Saturday. That event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of WNY. Bonspiel from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, presented by Catholic Health. The first 80 team to sign up will get to curl for free.
"Buffalo Winter Weekends" continue through Feb. 21 with highlights such as Buffalo Old Boys Hockey Tournament at Buffalo RiverWorks (Feb. 19-21); numerous showcase events and HARBORCENTER Cup tournaments, including the World Sled Challenge (Feb. 12-14); snow soccer at The Ice at Canalside (Jan. 24 and Feb. 21); the second annual Larkinville Ice Festival (Jan. 30); a weekend full of Mardi Gras activities, including a concert and parade at Buffalo Iron Works and Canalside (Feb. 6-9); and a "Winter Love Contest" hosted by Visit Buffalo Niagara.
Visitors can take the NFTA Metro Rail to the Erie Canal Harbor Station stop for activities at Canalside and HARBORCENTER, and even Buffalo RiverWorks if visitors don't mind a little walk. All "Buffalo Winter Weekend" locations also feature plenty of parking.
Locals and visitors alike are encouraged to submit photos of enjoying Buffalo in the wintertime to #winterBUF on Twitter and Instagram, or to Visit Buffalo Niagara's Facebook page. Visit Buffalo Niagara will routinely repost these photos onto its social media pages and occasionally distribute prizes to top pictures.
Visit Buffalo Niagara is also promoting its new winter guide, a brochure designed to show visitors all there is to see and do in Buffalo. It will be available at downtown hotels, area attractions and the Buffalo Niagara Visitors Center. It provides inspiration and ideas for a winter visit to Buffalo Niagara, from the Ice at Canalside to tobogganing at Chestnut Ridge County Park and hearty seasonal foods and drinks.
Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler said, "Buffalo Niagara is one of America's great winter destinations. We have a host of seasonal attractions that would make most other northern cities envious, from one of the country's largest outdoor rinks at Canalside to the Ice Bikes of Buffalo, curling at RiverWorks, tobogganing at Chestnut Ridge and a number of nearby skiing, snowshoeing and sledding options. It's time to embrace our well-known wintry reputation and tell the world about all the fun we have this time of year. We couldn't be more thrilled to collaborate with our tourism partners to create these 'Winter Weekends.' "
ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said, "Winter in Buffalo is now another thing to celebrate about our great city. By teaming up with our neighbors to market everything that the revitalized waterfront and surrounding area has to offer this winter, we'll draw residents and visitors alike to extend their stays in Buffalo."
NFTA Executive Director Kimberley A. Minkel said, "What better way to enjoy what Mother Nature brings our way than to come downtown (via Metro Rail of course) with family and friends to enjoy the new shops, restaurants and participate in the numerous outdoor activities during this month-long celebration of all that our emerging waterfront district has to offer."
HARBORCENTER Vice President and Director of Hockey Nik Fattey said, "The Canalside district has become a very exciting year-round destination. With the events that are being organized by our staff and our neighbors, there is now a reason to come down to the Buffalo waterfront every month of the year. We look forward to continuing to work with our neighbors to promote all that is happening in our emerging area."
Larkin Square "Director of Fun" Leslie Zemsky said, "We are delighted to once again celebrate winter, urban style, with the second annual Larkinville Ice Festival on Jan. 30. We will present a winter afternoon of free, all-ages fun, both indoors and outdoors. Enjoy everything from hula-hooping, snowga and sledding, to talks, tastings and crafts for the kids throughout Larkinville."
Buffalo RiverWorks Director of Athletics and Corporate Relations Sean Green said, "Buffalo RiverWorks is excited to collaborate with the resurgence of downtown Buffalo and be one of the host sites for these inaugural 'Buffalo Winter Weekends' festivities. From ice hockey, skating, curling, roller derby, golden gloves boxing - there are numerous fun activities for everyone to enjoy! We look forward to 'Buffalo Winter Weekends.' "
Golden Griffin Coach Dave Smith said, "We are excited to help kick off the inaugural 'Buffalo Winter Weekend' celebration with two important conference games against Niagara. First-time fans will find the NCAA Division I college game to be fast, hard-hitting and exciting. Add the intensity of a local rivalry and you have the ingredients for a great weekend of college hockey."
Arts Services Initiative of Western New York Executive Director Tod A. Kniazuk said, "ASI is proud to partner with Buffalo's waterfront neighbors to bring arts and culture to 'Buffalo Winter Weekends.' 'The Big Easy in Buffalo' is planning on doing up Mardi Gras right with The Marc Stone Band direct from New Orleans headlining the ninth annual Mardi Gras Jam on Friday, Feb. 5, at Buffalo Iron Works; the first-ever 'Snow Stroll' walking parade the next day with 'Slow Roll Buffalo'; and a day's worth of Fat Tuesday fun at The Ice at Canalside on Mardi Gras Day Feb. 9."