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Steam Donkeys Return to Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts This Saturday

The Steam Donkeys

The Steam Donkeys

Sixteen years ago, as things were winding down at the first Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts (EAFA), you may have noticed a grizzled group of veteran road dog musicians hanging out on the sidewalk around the now-defunct Quill’s Apothecary—drinking beer, picking guitars, banjos and mandolins, while a manic fiddler was sawing the horse hair off of his bow. That band was the Buffalo-based music act and global think tank known as the Steam Donkeys. And that impromptu hootenanny was what passed for the “after party” at the fledgling event. This year, the Steam Donkeys return with special, surprise guests to close Saturday’s festivities with a 7pm—8:30pm “After Party” performance on the Saint James Stage.

“Oh, it’ll be special, alright,” says Steam Donkeys front man and spokesperson Buck Quigley. “So special, and so surprising, that it would be unfair to even give a hint as to what we have planned. Let’s put it this way: We rarely plan anything—which makes the fact that in this case…where we actually have a plan…see, that’s special and surprising in and of itself.”

EAFA has grown steadily over the years to include a dizzying array of artists displaying their wares in several disciplines: ceramics, ditigal art, domestic crafts, fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, painting/drawing, paper, photography, printmaking, sculpture, toys, and woodwork.

The ever-popular Kidsfest , between Auburn and Lancaster, will provide an outlet for the youngest artists in the crowd—where they can get busy enjoying the thrill of making stuff and getting their faces painted while taking in some fine entertainment to boot. There will be cultural row, on Breckenridge, where you can stop by and learn about…the culturals. Food truck alley will be on Auburn to the west of Elmwood. Environmental row is just south of Lafayette, while to the north of Lafayette will sit the Festival Cafe—featuring a long list of vendors to please everyone from the healthiest vegan to the happiest carnivore. At Lafayette and Auburn, local and regional brewers will be selling their artisanal beers. Community Beer Works has even cooked up a “festival only” brew.

And of course, there’s the music. Starting at the south end of the festival near West Ferry you’ll find the Dance Tent, which is an intimate space to catch a variety of acts starting at 10am Saturday and Sunday. Same goes for the 7-11 Stage (formerly the Wilson Farms Stage in those early years) and the Saint James Stage at the north end of the strip. Every hour on the hour a new act appears on each of the three stages—while on Sunday a cavalcade of dance troupes takes over the Saint James Stage.

The weekend is going to be a sight and sound extravaganza—fitting for an event that has grown to showcase the craftspeople, artists, musicians, businesses, families, friends and neighbors that make the Elmwood Village one of the most vibrant sections of town. Don’t miss it.

Download the entire performance schedule by clicking here.