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By Michelle Hosie
I've recently discovered several things I hadn't even realized were happening very nearby. I had heard the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute had a restaurant, but I had no idea there are a variety of options. There is an intimate fine dining restaurant, a casual deli, and a coffee shop and bakery with sweet treats. The NFCI also hosts a Barnes & Noble bookstore and a wine boutique, as well as private and public culinary classes for all ages.
Something you might not expect to find at a culinary school is a dinner theater. Here, you'll find a musical history of "America's Wonder," Niagara Falls.
Peter Green, owner of America's Wonder Dinner Theater, and Brian Beaudry, musical director, are the primary players of this show, which they also wrote.
Michael Hanrahan, executive producer of The Spirit of the Eighties, and myself were invited to see the show, where Beaudry recognized us from social media. He and Green told us what big fans of The Spoons they are, and a collaboration was born. Green graciously offered to loan Spirit of the Eighties the screens and projectors from the "America's Wonder" show.
Another local gem I've discovered is Roadtrip Niagara. Green, Beaudry and another multi-instrumentalist, Thomas Brown - collectively referred to as BBG - play together as Roadtrip, described on their website as "Western New York's premiere live entertainment and receptive tour service. We are a team of talented musicians, entertainers and hosts who deliver the best in live entertainment and tour experiences."
BBG offer a wide range of entertainment services, in addition to preforming. They plan and host events of various sizes, coordinate any type of tour you are looking for, including educational student tours, and Green is a knowledgeable and entertaining tour guide.
The Spirit of the Eighties is happy to have Roadtrip opening the festival at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13.
"Roadtrip will put on a great show for everyone on their way into or out of the Art Festival who need a cold drink and a spot in the shade," Hanrahan said. "Anyone taking advantage of the free shuttle service can enjoy the music while they wait."
Hanrahan is referring to the Discover Niagara Shuttle, which runs back and forth between Niagara Falls and Fort Niagara from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Folks can hop on the shuttle in Niagara Falls or Youngstown, get off at the Lewiston waterfront, spend some time walking the Art Festival, and then visit the Spirit of the Eighties at Academy Park. The shuttle will operate as normal, except there will be a temporary stop at Cayuga and Fifth street, as the Fifth and Center stop will be closed due to the Art Festival.
Starting at 7 p.m., the shuttle will be dedicated to the '80s festival. It will stop in Youngstown, at its regular northbound spot at Lockport and Main streets, across from the world-famous Ontario House (aka Stone Jug). It will leave first at 7 p.m., then run up to the front entrance of the festival on Center Street at Academy Park. The last out from Lewiston back to Youngstown will be at midnight ... sharp!
"Having the shuttle is a benefit for everyone," Hanrahan said. "It will help people get to the Art Festival during the day and the Spirit of the Eighties in the evening. Concertgoers can safely get to other establishments on Center and Main streets, and everyone can safely get home."
Some Youngstown business owners already see how well this can work for everyone. The Jug, along with the '80s festival and the Discover Niagara Shuttle, are all co-sponsoring this special extended service.
After Roadtrip, The Slumpups will play at 4:30 p.m. In an article last week, I incorrectly named Dave Sowewis as their lead guitarist and lead vocalist. The correct spelling of his last name is Siwinski. Apologies to Dave.
The rest of the evening's lineup includes No Vacancy (5:30 p.m.), The Mirrors (7 p.m.) and The Spoons (9 p.m.) For more information, visit The Spirit of the Eighties concert and fundraiser page on Facebook. Send a message to me at [email protected], if you are interested in volunteering.