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The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park
The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park to open for 45th season, commemorate 80th anniversary of USS Croaker


Thu, Mar 21st 2024 08:20 pm

UPDATE: Due to the forecasted weather conditions, the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park has decided to postpone its opening day until Wednesday, March 27. The Buffalo Naval Park will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. to open its 45th season and will honor Van Taylor as the first official visitor of the year.


Van Taylor to be honored as the visitor of 2024

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park will open for its 45th season on Saturday, March 23, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Joining the Naval Park for the ribbon cutting will be Van Taylor, who will be honored as the first official visitor of the season.

Taylor has been endorsed by Marquis Who’s Who as a leader in the arts and entertainment industry. A producer, songwriter and owner of Van Taylor Productions Inc. and TM International Records, Taylor has contributed over 50 years of experience to the music industry. Best known for creating Taylor Made Jazz, a band that has won several awards and gained worldwide recognition, Taylor has opened for such acts as Natalie Cole, Gladys Night, and Kool and the Gang.

For more than four decades, Taylor has performed for U.S. troops and allies overseas, during which time he was notably aligned with the U.S. Department of Defense and Armed Forces Entertainment. He created a civilian touring division for the troops called Music on the Front Lines to serve music to those who serve. He has also been active with many initiatives in the Western New York Community, serving on the Veterans Day parade committee in Buffalo, the African American Veterans Monument committee, and the Buffalo Naval Park’s annual “Ship N’ Shore” fundraiser committee.

Taylor has produced music and participated in events to support several nonprofits including sickle cell anemia, the United Way, the Foodbank of Western New York, United Negro College Fund, and performances with Taylor Made Jazz for the Variety Kids Telethon to benefit Oishei Children’s Hospital. He has been honored by the Buffalo City Council, who declared July 22, 2003, as “Taylor Made Jazz Day,” and he was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, staff of the Buffalo Naval Park will highlight many initiatives and projects that are coming up in 2024. Several major projects have been completed at the Naval Park over the winter to maintain and improve each of the ships, and to open new spaces on the tour route.

The Naval Park plans to celebrate the 80th anniversary of USS Croaker throughout the year with a series of programs and events to highlight the history of the submarine and to raise awareness about the ongoing long-term preservation efforts.

USS Croaker is a Gato-class submarine that conducted six war patrols in the Pacific theater during World War II. The submarine was launched on Dec. 19, 1943, and commissioned April 21, 1944. The Buffalo Naval Park is planning a special 80th anniversary commemoration on Saturday, April 20.

For the 2024 season, the Naval Park will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with the last ticket sold at 4 p.m. Starting in May, the Naval Park will be open daily.

More About the Buffalo and Erie County Military & Naval Park

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the nation’s largest inland naval park and the home of four U.S. Naval vessels: USS The Sullivans, USS Little Rock, USS Croaker, and PTF-17. Located on Buffalo’s waterfront, this unique family destination is committed to its mission, which is to honor, educate, inspire and preserve. The Buffalo Naval & Military Park also features a museum, U.S. military exhibits, and a Veterans Park with 15 monuments and memorials dedicated to those who served this country. 

More information about the Buffalo Naval Park is available at www.BuffaloNavalPark.org.

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