Spectators from around country supported event in great numbers
The “Thunder on the Buffalo Waterfront” Air Show, which took place this past weekend at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, is being called a rousing success by organizers and attendees alike. The two-day event was attended by more than 11,000 air show enthusiasts and newfound fans who were “mesmerized by the spectacular first ever air show on Buffalo’s waterfront. The weather finally cooperated on Sunday to perfectly to showcase the Blue Angels’ tactical fighter jet performance and the amazing four-hour cavalcade of aircraft that had all eyes focused upward.”
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. Chairman Robert Gioia said, “There is no doubt that the excitement of the air show brought a new energy and introduced more people to our wonderful waterfront. This first-of-its-kind event on the Buffalo waterfront provided a great combination of the most famous military jet team in the world, a U.S. Air Force fighter jet demo, and incredible aerobatics that left fans in awe of the skills of the pilots and the capabilities of the aircraft. It was great for the aviation enthusiast as well as casual fan to be able to see the wide variety of aircraft in such a perfect setting.”
The “Thunder of Niagara,” one of the largest air shows in the country, was previously canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A press release noted, “Thanks to the hard work of air show staff, Buffalo Waterfront Management Group and ECHDC, the air show successfully transitioned to a civilian event, reinventing itself as the ‘Thunder on the Buffalo Waterfront’ presented by the Vein Treatment Center on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.
Air Show Director Ben Canetti said, “We cannot thank the fans, pilots, volunteers, supporters and staff enough for making the dream of a waterfront air show a reality this weekend. Our expectations for an exhilarating event was exceeded with every performance. Everyone who made the ‘Thunder on the Buffalo Waterfront’ show a success should be proud that their work paid off and was appreciated by the thousands of people who were thrilled by the high-powered event.”
The show featured the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, six jets swooping and screeching together and separately in circular aerial patterns. The Air Force F-16 Viper Demo Teams, the United States Canadian CF-18 Hornet Demo Team, Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog), World Aerobatic Champion Rob Holland, as well as many other world-class civilian performers were also part of the lineup.
A portion of the proceeds will support the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.
“This weekend, the people of Western New York were the beneficiaries of a truly remarkable effort by the Niagara Air Reserve Station to put on this air show despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic,” said John Cudahy, president and CEO of the International Council of Air Shows. “Moving such a complex event from the airport to the waterfront in such a short period of time is unprecedented. I’ve been in this job for nearly a quarter century, and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a testament to the base’s commitment to the Buffalo/Niagara community.”
Vice-President of Operations and Finance for Buffalo Waterfront Management Group Kevin Parkinson said, "We are honored that we were able to host the inaugural ‘Thunder on the Buffalo Waterfront.’ So many people were able to enjoy the show and experience the Outer Harbor. Thank you to all the pilots, patrons, staff, law enforcement, volunteers and, most of all, to Ben Canetti and his team for organizing a show that will not soon be forgotten. The show was an enormous success, and we are proud to be donating a portion of the show's proceeds to the Save the Sullivan campaign in partnership with the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.”
The limited overflow parking spots at the Buffalo Harbor State Park were quickly taken by early birds arriving on the Outer Harbor for a day of outdoor fun.
“State Parks is proud to be a part of the excitement on the Outer Harbor and the airshow certainly sets the stage for many more activities and events. Congratulations to all the organizers for a job well done,” Western District Director Mark Mistretta said.
The press release explained, “The economic boost from the air show went far beyond the waterfront, with area hotels and restaurants also benefiting from the influx of thousands of visitors. Buffalo Waterfront Management Group partner The Travel Team reports discounted hotel packages were very popular for air show fans at downtown Buffalo hotels. Many visitors were pleased by the shopping, food and activity options they experienced in the city.”
Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler said, "Buffalo's waterfront continues to evolve as the premier outdoor recreation venue in Western New York. We've gone from desolation to destination in only a few short years, with activities ranging from kayaking, paddle boarding, biking and birding to spectacular special events like the air show attracting locals and visitors alike. It's a great time to be active and outdoors in Buffalo."
Paul J. Marzello Sr., president and CEO of Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, said, "Thank you, Blue Angels, for allowing us to celebrate your 75th birthday on our Buffalo waterfront. It was a spectacular show. As Americans, you make us feel proud and safe knowing the capabilities of the US Navy."
Find all the latest updates to the Buffalo Waterfront summer schedule at www.buffalowaterfront.com.