Buffalo Winterfest and Powder Keg Festival On Hiatus
The three-year-old Buffalo Winterfest & Powderkeg Festival will be taking a year off as organizers prepare for a more permanent location for January 2014.
The Buffalo Waterfront has been chosen as the new and permanent home for the Buffalo Winterfest. “The committee truly feels that going forward the Buffalo Waterfront provides a first class venue that can produce an event that our city can be proud of and deserves,” says Drew Cerza, festival organizer.
Downtown waterfront stakeholders including the Buffalo Sabres, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, and the City of Buffalo all agree that the Waterfront would be a great venue for the festival. The vision is to move the festival there for 2014. The canal construction will be completed and available for ice-skating. The First Niagara Center will serve as an indoor venue for family activities as well as entertainment, food and beverages. The green space next to the arena is where the outdoor winter activities will be held. The Harbor Center project will also add to the festival footprint when completed in 2015. This new plan will give the local tourism bureau, Visit Buffalo-Niagara, an exciting tourism event to market to out of town visitors.
Organizers had hoped for a venue change to the waterfront this year, however the dates for the event became a big question mark due to the NHL hockey strike and the uncertainty of the First Niagara Center’s availability.
All of the energy and bigger thinking going on downtown is driving the festival committee to provide a festival Buffalo citizens can be proud of and grow each year, therefore driving local and out of town visitors to the waterfront in the winter when traffic is much slower. Organizers are excited to have a year to plan and get community input regarding what they would like to see as events at the Winterfest in 2014. Groups will also be encouraged to organize events to tie into the festival.
A combination of unstable venues and uncooperative weather has created great challenges over the years. In 2011 the festival was held on Seneca Street, utilizing large weather proof tents for all indoor events including a beer pavilion featuring live music, a kids zone and a food area. Last year the festival centered around Niagara Square with indoor activities in the Statler Building, which is unavailable this year. In 2008 Buffalo Winterfest went on hiatus for three years due to the lack of snow and other logistical challenges before coming back in 2011.
Buffalo’s winter will be celebrated at Flurrious!, Olmstead Park’s Winter Festival on January 26th at Delaware Park. Flurrious! is going into its third year and provides several of the same outdoor activities as the Buffalo Winterfest in more of a park setting. All events will be centered around the Parkside Lodge.
“We are excited that Buffalo will be celebrating winter at Flurrious! this year, providing wintry fun for the whole family. Winter and Buffalo, is such a classic combination and something everyone can enjoy at this year’s chilly Flurrious! an Olmsted winter festival at Delaware Park, January 26th “, says Thomas Herrera- Mishler, CEO and President of the Buffalo Olmstead Parks Conservancy.