Article and Photos by Michael DePietro
On Thursday, North Tonawanda officials, including Mayor Arthur G. Pappas, joined Niagara County Legislator Jesse Gooch for a press conference at Gratwick-Riverside Park where the lineup was announced for the upcoming “Thursdays on the Water” concert series.
“The purpose of being here is to say, ‘We're back,’ ” Pappas said. “Everybody is so excited about finally having things open up and we can all be out maskless. We can be getting back to somewhat normal. … All over, people are just happy that we're getting back to something that everyone enjoys and one of those things is ‘Thursdays on the Water.’ ”
Gooch said that, after COVID-19 derailed the series’ plans last year, he was happy to bring it back for locals, particularly as other local festivities including Canal Fest remain canceled.
“We really wanted to try to make this work last year and it's unfortunate we weren't able to do that, but it feels great to be one of the first things (back again this year),” he said. The series will follow current COVID-19 guidelines for outdoor events. Only unvaccinated attendees are required to wear masks. “I think at this point we're open and we're all ready to party, so we're ready to have a good time.”
All concerts run from 5-10 p.m. For each date, food and drinks will be served beginning at 5 p.m. Opening bands begin playing at 6 p.m. Headliners take the stage at 8 p.m.
The schedule is as follows:
Aug. 5 – Acoustic show
Aug. 12 – Grunge night
Smoking is not permitted on park grounds. No coolers or outside beverages/food of any sort are permitted. Valid ID of those 21 and older is required to purchase alcohol. A zero-tolerance policy will be enforced for violence of any sort. Chairs and blankets are allowed.
Food vendors include The Meeting Place, Hawaiian BBQ, Solidays Restaurant and the Miami Food Machine and Tiki Bar.
The event is co-sponsored in part by “97 Rock’s” “Cruise Nights.” DJ Dave Jickster was on hand for the announcement and had plenty of kind words for the event.
“This is like an easy promotion for us to be involved in. A lot of promotions we've done over the years (require) a lot of heavy lifting. But this is all covered. We just try to get people here and promote the great event that it is,” Jickster said. “And I tell you what, every time I’ve been here on a Thursday night, everybody has a smile on their face, from the police officers, the volunteers, the staff, to the (concertgoers). And this year, everyone's going to have a bigger smile on their face, because we're free and music is back, and the festival is back. So, it's going to be a very special summer.”
Other sponsors include: Call Associates, Colton RV, Discover 716, ADDUS WNY, Fire Power Industry Whispering River Rescue, Hunt Real Estate, Army National Guard, West Seneca Music Center, Painters Plus (owned by Gooch), Wright Beverages, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Truly Hard Seltzer, Vizzy Hard Seltzer, White Claw Hard Seltzer, Leinenkugels, Investor's Service and Bellreng Towing.