Mark your calendars for a summer full of special events coming to Old Falls Street, USA, the three-block cobblestone street connecting Niagara Falls State Park with the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in downtown Niagara Falls.
"Our team is working with many regional promoters to host many new and returning special events this summer, all of which are being presented free of admission charge," said Katie Kielaszek, Old Falls Street's director of events. "If you haven't been to Old Falls Street, USA, now is the time to experience all we have to offer."
Special events include "Make Music Day" on June 21, a free one-day global celebration of music, which makes its way to Niagara Falls for the very first time. Old Falls Street, USA, is working with Arts Services Initiative of WNY to host "Guitar Mass Appeal" from 5:30-7:30 p.m. that day. Guests are encouraged to bring their guitars to Old Falls Street's middle block (between First Street and Rainbow Boulevard) during this time, where they will be provided songbooks and an instructor to guide them in song. All skill levels are invited to join.
On June 24, Old Falls Street is partnering with Slow Roll Buffalo to present the first "Old Falls Street Pedal Party," welcoming guests to tour the City of Niagara Falls by bicycle for free. Riders assemble on Old Falls Street's middle block at 6 p.m. for a guided slow-paced tour of Niagara Falls. Upon their return, riders will enjoy an afterparty at the first "Legends Live on Old Falls Street" outdoor concert of the summer, featuring live music by Kurt and The Loders at 7 p.m., food by Buffalo's Best Grill & Catering, beer and wine vending, Old Falls Street's free "Interactive Games," and fireworks launched over Niagara Falls at 10 p.m.
Also new this year is the 4th of July Carnival on Old Falls Street, being held Friday, July 2 through Monday, July 4, from noon to 10 p.m. each day. Old Falls Street, USA, is partnering with Hammerl Amusements to celebrate Independence Day with a weekend full of rides, games, clowns, stilt-walkers, hula-hoopers, balloon artists and other entertainers. Wristbands will be sold for $20 each day to allow guests to enjoy all rides and attractions.
In August, Old Falls Street will once again host its free Touch-a-Truck event, on Saturday the 13, from noon to 5 p.m. This annual event is part of Old Falls Street's weekly "Free Family Fun" activities, and allows children to jump on board a fire truck, police car, a bus and other municipal vehicles, while interacting with the technicians who drive these "larger-than-life" machines every day.
Touch-a-Truck will once again include the "Stuff-a-Bus" food and toiletries drive, benefitting Community Missions of the Niagara Frontier. Guests are asked to donate nonperishable food items and new toiletry items that will fill an NFTA bus, which will be located on Old Falls Street's middle block that day.
Later that month, Old Falls Street will team up with 24 Below Gallery and Café to host the annual "Dance of the Fireflies," from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20. This nighttime glow parade includes whimsical arts and crafts, storytelling and glowing dance for children of all ages. This event is free and open to the public.
On Labor Day weekend, the two-day Taste of Niagara Falls food festival makes its way to Old Falls Street (noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 3 and 4). This year's festival is planned to bring more than 25 food vendors and other live entertainment to Old Falls Street's middle block.
"We worked with Corey McGowan Productions to bring this event to Old Falls Street for the first time last summer," Kielaszek said. "It was so well received we made sure to bring it back this year."
The 9th annual Niagara Falls Blues Festival is planned for Sept. 16-18 on Old Falls Street's middle and park blocks. This year's theme, "The Power of the Blues," will include performances by "The Pioneer of British Blues" John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, Shawn Holt & The Teardrops with John Primer, Eddie Shaw & The Wolfgang, Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues, the Chris O'Leary Band and other national and local favorites. Saturday begins with the annual Memorial Classic Car & Bike Cruise, starting from Sal Maglie Stadium in Hyde Park at 1 p.m. Sunday features the annual Gospel Brunch, with music by Marsha McWilson and Friends at noon.
Admission to the Niagara Falls Blues Festival is free.
Old Falls Street rounds out its summer and fall special events with its seventh annual Oktoberfest (1-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1). This German-themed event features live music by The German American Musicians, traditional German food, beer and free childrens activities. Admission is free.
For more information on these special events or any of Old Falls Street's activities, visit www.FallsStreet.com or follow Old Falls Street on Facebook.