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Party on the Portico: Not Your Average Happy Hour

Work is over, it’s Friday evening, and the sun is still shining. It seems to be a waste not to have happy hour outside during Buffalo’s summers. Or how does the iconic steps of the History Museum sound, overlooking the Mirror Lake, Delaware Park, and the Japanese Garden?

The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society held its seventh annual Party on the Portico summer happy hour on Friday, the second of a three-series event. The parties are on the back patio of the History Museum, located at 25 Nottingham Court, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The next and last party of the summer is on Friday, August 17 with The Steam Donkeys and The Albrights.

At each Party on the Portico, guests enjoy upbeat live music by local bands, free appetizers, cash bar – wine/beer cost $4 and water/soft drinks cost $1 – and free 15-minute mini-tours of the History Museum. The money goes to the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

The weather was perfect last Friday (July 20) as drinks and conversation flowed on the beautiful patio of the museum. A Potter’s Field and Marvelous Sauce, two local bands, performed and kept the atmosphere high and lively all evening, and even prompted some young guests to dance. “It’s a FUNdraiser, with the emphasis on ‘fun,’” Constance Caldwell, the director of communications and community engagements of the historical society, said. 300 to 600 guests attend each Party on the Portico, according to Caldwell. She said that the fundraiser is a way to both have fun and look after an important institution.

Melissa Brown, the executive director of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, said that she particularly likes its Party on the Portico event because people of all ages attend – which was quite evident on Friday, where ages ranged from 21 to decades older. “We usually have an older crowd with a lot of our events, it’s nice because it’s a mixed-age thing and sometimes it’s people’s first contact with the organization,” Brown said. “So it’s a nice way to say, ‘Hey, there is more to us than just the history stuff.’ And it’s about really getting involved with the community, too.” -lisa khoury