Community festivals transform public places into oases of fun for a day – or a weekend – with a focus or a central theme that often blossoms out into multiple sensory offerings. Music festivals feature food and arts vendors. Art festivals amplify creative joy with live music and food vendors. Food festivals have live music and art.
Here’s a sample platter of local festivals.
5:30 to 8:30 pm June 14, Main Street in Springville
Springville Center for the Arts produces this fun, annual art crawl where local businesses display art in their windows, and stores are open late. All displayed artwork is juried, for sale and created by Western New York artists. The three jurors this year are Buffalo artists Edreys Wajed and Bruce Blair, and CEPA Executive Director Véronique Côté. Rounding out the event are street performers, live music and art demonstrations. This free event happens rain or shine and is perfect for lovers of art, strolling and small-town charm.
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11 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 11 and 12, Allentown
Celebrating its 65th anniversary, the Allentown Art Festival takes place in Buffalo’s Victorian Allentown Historic Preservation District. Long rows of white tents with approximately 350 artists and craftspeople will be set up along Delaware Avenue, Franklin Street and Allen Street. In addition to the arts, there will be food from local restaurants and carnival-style handheld favorites.
11 am to 9 pm July 9 and 11 am to 7 pm July 10 at Niagara Square
A delicious weekend, the 39th annual Taste of Buffalo has the designation as being the largest two-day food festival in the United States. Tasters purchase tickets to sample the wares of local restaurants of all flavors. There’s also New York State wineries, cooking demonstrations and live music. The event is at the picturesque and roomy Niagara Square directly in front of Buffalo City Hall at the junction of Delaware Avenue and Court, Genesee and Niagara streets.
Cobblestone Live Music & Arts Festival
July 15-16, Cobblestone District
Buffalo’s Cobblestone District, adjacent to KeyBank Center, is the site for this ticketed, two-day event. Now in its fourth year, this fest draws about 6,000 art and music lovers each year to hear music, see local artisans, visit a vendor village and enjoy food and drink. Fifteen bands will perform on two outdoor stages set up on Illinois Street (near Buffalo Iron Works) and Columbia Street. Indoor stages are at Buffalo Iron Works and Lockhouse Distillery. Among the performers are Misterwives, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Mom Said No and Jagged Little Pill (an Alanis Morisette tribute band). Tickets are $25 for one day, $40 for two days; VIP options are available.
10 am to 6 pm Aug. 13 and 10 am to 5 pm Aug. 15, Center Street
The quaint Niagara County village of Lewiston more than doubles its population during the popular art festival. Now in its 56th year, it features more than 175 artists and craftspeople set up along Center Street from Fourth to Eighth streets, with more activities taking place at the Hennepin Park Gazebo and on Water Street (close to beautiful Niagara Gorge). Food vendors and live music are also part of the fest fun, and all of the local shops and restaurants are open.
Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts
10 am to 6 pm Aug. 27 and 10 am to 5 pm Aug. 28, Elmwood Avenue
This lovely, family-forward fest returns after a two-year hiatus on Elmwood Avenue between West Ferry Street and Lafayette Avenue. Expect quality art and handmade crafts and jewelry in many media, kid crafts with all-natural materials and hand tools in the Kidsfest! area, modern dance performances, bands on several stages, beer and food vendors. The festival closes with a lively parade down Elmwood Avenue with the 12/8 Path Band as a marching band, culminating in a jubilant street dance party.