As fall inches closer to winter, many Western New Yorkers will begin to decorate their homes for the holidays. But for some residents, decorating is a luxury. So, for the 10th straight year, hundreds of young volunteers will “brighten” a Buffalo neighborhood out of the kindness of their hearts. 

During B Team Buffalo’s yearly “City of Light” event on Saturday, Dec. 2, more than 150 volunteers will convene in the heart of the Black Rock neighborhood at St. John’s United Church of Christ. Together with support from the Black Rock Riverside Alliance, they aim to decorate more than 50 surrounding houses and local businesses with lights and garland throughout the morning and afternoon. Volunteers also plan to decorate Market Square at the intersection of Niagara and Amherst streets, as the area provides a natural entrance to Black Rock. 

City of Light is B Team Buffalo’s annual signature event. The volunteer group, consisting mainly of young professionals, has decorated nine different Buffalo neighborhoods since the group’s inception in 2008. There is no cost to residents, and lights and decorations are made possible through the support of generous donations. The name “City of Light” is in reference to the dazzling light displays during the 1901 Pan-American Exposition held in Buffalo. 

“The idea is to provide holiday cheer to an underserved neighborhood and come together as a true ‘City of Good Neighbors,’” said Tara Kennedy, chair, B Team Buffalo. “City of Light provides a way for civic-minded volunteers to give back, and provides joy for local residents. It’s a real pleasure to see everything come together through teamwork.” 

B Team Buffalo plans additional activities besides decorating. From 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at St. John’s United Church of Christ (85 Amherst St.), volunteers will run a free children’s carnival with games and toy prizes. Desserts will be available for the community beginning at 4 p.m. At 5 p.m. in Market Square, there will be a community tree lighting and caroling, followed by a neighborhood stroll. 

City of Light organizers are in the process of canvassing Black Rock houses for volunteer decorating, but nearby residents may also inquire about participating by visiting the Black Rock Riverside Alliance at 1902 Niagara St. Residents may keep the decorations after the holiday season, if they so choose. Otherwise, B Team Buffalo volunteers will be happy to take down decorations in early 2018. 

B Team Buffalo seeks additional sponsors and volunteers for 2017 City of Light. Current major sponsors include M&T Bank, the National Buffalo Wing Festival, and Buffalo Distilling Company. To get involved, please visit or contact the organization through its Facebook page at