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This Thursday: Citybration Begins

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Buffalo Citybration, a four-day celebration (June 23–26) of our city’s unparalleled history and future potential, is happening this weekend, and this year it’s bigger than ever.

Buffalo Old Home Week, originally held in 1907, was revived in 2006 after years of decline in the city. The event’s name changed to Citybration after it doubled in size every year thereafter, and it’s now more than just an old home show—it’s a party focused entirely on the city’s development. According to its website, and organizer Marti Gorman, Citybration

“showcases Buffalo’s assets, highlights opportunity and celebrates the city’s many successes to help keep our best and brightest here, to bring back those who have left and to attract entrepreneurs and professionals to help grow our community and our economy.”

Gorman hopes the focus of this year’s party will help revitalize a key part of the city: downtown.

“It is completely on the Waterfront, connecting in some very fun, high impact ways, the Inner Harbor to the Buffalo Riverfront to the Outer Harbor, and all of these with our downtown,” Gorman said.

The festivities begin at 5:30 pm Thursday (June 23) with Buffalo Spree’s Best of WNY Party at Shea’s. The Spree “Best of WNY” 2011 winners will be revealed, and the party will also feature wine tastings, music, a silent auction, and food and beverages from 20 local restaurants. Tickets are $30 in advance or $40 that day. This year, money raised will benefit Camp Good Days and Special Times, Inc.

And that’s only the beginning.

Friday (June 24) night features an up-in-the-air double-header, with two different events that promise to give spectacular aerial views of Buffalo. The City Hall Observation Deck will be open from 6 pm–9 pm for a Sunset Reception, including food and a tour of the city from above. Suggested donation is $5. For those feeling more daring, a bevy of tethered hot-air balloons will be rising at the same time from the Outer Harbor. There will be music, food, and lawn chair space for balloon watching. From 100 feet up, participants can look out over Lake Erie and wave to their friends on top of City Hall. Adult tickets are $15, for children 12 and under tickets are $10, and anyone with a Citybration pass gets $2 off.

Friday’s third event is Citybration Night at the Ball Park, beginning at 5:30 pm with live music and food and drink specials and continuing with a baseball game (Buffalo Bisons vs. Norfolk Tides). The first pitch is at 7:35 pm, and there will be post-game fireworks.

Saturday (June 25) is tour day, featuring a variety of tours beginning at 10 am that showcase Buffalo’s landmark buildings and important stories. From 10 am–3 pm is the Delaware Neighborhood Tour of Homes, a self-guided tour that starts at the Wilcox Mansion, 641 Delaware Ave. Reservations are required, and tickets ($25 per person, $30 that day) can be bought online at PreservationBuffaloNiagara.org. From 10 am–12 pm is Queen City Downtown, a two-hour walking tour that will show participants segments of Buffalo’s cultural and architectural history.

Prizes are the name of the game Saturday afternoon, with a Waterfront Scavenger Hunt going from 2 pm–5 pm. The hunt begins and ends at Pearl Street Grill, and it’s smart phone-friendly, with QR codes hidden around the area that, if scanned, can help teams win special prizes. A team of four costs $20, and can be registered at Citybration.com. Don’t drink too much at Pearl Street, though, because at 5:30 pm a Floating Cocktail Party, Happy Hour on the Harbor, will light up the Waterfront. The Miss Buffalo and the Moondance will both have parties, as will Templeton Landing, and anyone with a boat is encouraged to take it out for the parade from Erie Basin Marina to Dug’s Dive and back.

To cure any headaches accumulated Saturday, get up Sunday (June 26) morning and Ride the Waterfront from 9 am–10 am or Walk the Waterfront from 10 am–12 pm. Starting at Canal Side, cyclists can follow a planned route all the way to the Union Ship Canal and back. Shorter routes will also be open. Walkers will also have several route choices, some involving the Water Taxi.

More tours are also running Sunday, including the Richardson Olmsted Complex Discover Buffalo Tour, which costs $10, and the self-guided 14th Annual Parkside Garden Tour.

Finally, from 12 pm–5 pm at Canal Side, Buffalo First vendors and the Buffalo Indie Market will help launch the Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Waterfront with food, parades, art, and a mini-green expo.

Get ready to celebrate all that Buffalo has to offer with Citybration, see you at the Waterfront!

For more information, visit Citybration.com, call 716-903-7155, or email info@citybration.com.

-ian carlino