Summer in the 716

Mark your calendars with some of the biggest events in Buffalo


Buffalo might have a harsh winter, but most students don’t know how perfect Buffalo summers can be. It’s never too hot and there is always a breeze. The sun is out just enough for crispy tan and the weather will make you want to spend every minute outdoors.

Since Buffalo isn’t known for its beaches, there are a bunch of other ways to spend your 80-degree days. Here is a list of some of the most popular Buffalo summer events that’ll have your calendar packed until schools starts back up in the fall.

Buffalo Pride Festival, June 1-7

The Buffalo Pride Festival is a weeklong celebration of Buffalo’s LGBTQ community organized by the Pride Center of Western New York. A Flag Raising Ceremony opens the week on June 1. Other major events of the week include the Gay 5K Run on June 4, the Dyke March on June 6, and the Pride Parade and Pride Festival on June 7. This year’s theme is “Show and Tell” and the festival’s website encourages all participants to “celebrate what makes us tick […] because your story is interesting, unique, and something to be proud of!”

Juneteenth Festival, June 13-14

Buffalo’s Juneteenth Festival, held in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, is the third largest Juneteenth celebration in the world, according to the festival’s website. The festival celebrates the end of slavery in the United States and is a commemoration of the achievements of African Americans.

On Saturday, you can attend a praise and worship before heading off to the parade at 11 a.m. There will be festivities in the park until 8 p.m. On Sunday, there will be another praise and worship and more festivities in the park. From vendors, to a book fair, to free Underground Railroad tours, to African drum and dance lessons, to a heritage tent, the event will be sure to show off Buffalo’s rich African American history.

Taste of Diversity, June 27

From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., you can explore the diversity of Buffalo’s West Side, home to a large immigrant population. The event stretches between Lafayette and Auburn and attracts more than 2,500, according to the festival’s website. Make sure your stomach is empty, because there’s no way you’ll be able to pass up the homemade, ethnic foods Buffalo’s West Side offers up.

Taste of Buffalo, July 11 and 12

Taste of Buffalo is a two-day festival from Chippewa Street to Niagara Square. On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., almost 450,000 people from all over Western New York come to Buffalo for amazing food and concerts. According to the Taste of Buffalo website, admission is free and all of the food is between $1 and $10 from over 200 restaurants in Western New York. The food is the main attraction and ranges from crab cake sliders to curried chicken and rice.

City of Night, July 18

City of Night is one of the newest and most popular summer events in the city – it began in 2012 and has grown to attract more than 12,000 people. The free events runs from 4 p.m. on July 18 until 1 a.m. on July 19. City of Night is a massive multi-disciplinary arts event in Silo City and treats guests to massive art installations in the grain elevators, live performances and a more eclectic art fair than you’ll find anywhere else.

Canal Fest, July 19-26

If your weekends are busy, you can check out Canal Fest in North Tonawanda on the weekdays. There are concerts every day of the week, beauty pageants and of course, lots of food. There are also hands-on activities like street art chalk contests, the annual four-mile run and a bike cruise. Once the week comes to an end, people stay around for a night of fireworks over the canal.

Allentown Art Festival, June 13 and 14

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 a.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., thousands of people visit the Allentown Historic Preservation District in Buffalo. The free festival is home to hundreds of artists in WNY who submit their paintings, drawings, and other crafts to display throughout the two days.

Garden Walk Buffalo, July 25 and 26

Buffalo’s Garden Walk began in 1995 and has expanded to be the largest in the country, with over 380 gardens on the Walk. From Allentown’s quirky, eclectic urban gardens, to urban farms on the West and East sides, to family gardens in South Buffalo, you can explore Buffalo’s wide array of unique gardens and their even more interesting gardeners.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. but be warned, you’ll need lots of time to get through the hordes of tourists flocking to some of the most popular gardens in the Summer St. Cottage District. Make sure you stop by one of the three headquarters throughout the city to pick up an official guide.

Eden Corn Fest, Aug. 6-9

If you love corn on the cob then you’d better take a day off to hit up the Eden Corn Fest. Now in its 52nd year, the Eden Corn Fest is one of Western New York’s most beloved summer festivals. Sure you can go on rides, shop local vendors and play some carnival games, but you’ve really just got to eat a lot of corn.

Buffalo Brewfest, Aug. 8

For those with some money to spend, for $30 you’ll get 20 tasting coupons and a souvenir glass at the Buffalo’s Brewfest in the historic Cobblestone District. Last year breweries at the event included Flying Bison Brewing Company, Dogfish Head Brewery, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Southern Tier, and Brewery Ommegang. Get your drink on!

Erie County Fair, Aug. 12-23

You’re never too old for candy apples and Ferris wheels. The Erie County Fair is ranked as the third-largest county fair in North America, according to its website. Admission for adults is $10, seniors pay $7 and children 12 and under are free. The Erie County Fair is a Western New York right of passage – you can experience carnival rides and games, food as far as the eye can see and free entertainment including concerts, hypnotists, comedy jugglers and racing pigs.

Elmwood Festival of the Arts, Aug. 29 and 30

From St. James Place to West Ferry, the Elmwood Festival of the Arts hosts more than 170 different artists and craftspeople, 50 performances, 30 local and regional organizations, and tons of food vendors, according to the festival’s website. Like the Allentown Art Fest, you can explore Buffalo’s wide array of shops, vendors and artists as they peddle their wares under the beautiful, Buffalo summer sun.

National Chicken Wing Fest, Sept. 5 and 6

Make sure to head downtown to Coca-Cola Field for the National Chicken Wing Fest just before school starts back up. From noon until 9 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday of Labor Day, you can gorge on all the chicken wings Buffalo has to offer.

Heritage festivals

One of best parts of Buffalo in the summer is the vast array of cultural festivals the city hosts. You can get a taste of homemade ethnic food, listen to unique music and take in eclectic art. The diverse crowd intensifies heritage festival experiences. If you want to get that worldly experience right here in Buffalo, mark your calendars for the Greek Festival from June 5-7, the Italian Heritage Festival from July 16-19 and the Irish Festivalfrom Aug. 28-30 – just a few of the festivals occurring this summer.

Canalside concerts,Thursdays from June 4-Aug. 20

If you just need one night a week to take a break, the free concerts at Canalside are the perfect getaways. The concerts are located in downtown Buffalo and typically run from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. A gorgeous waterfront view and greenery accompanies the musical diversity the concerts offer. And this year promises to be one of the best lineups for the series yet – some featured artists are Matt and Kim (June 4), Arkells (June 11), the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (June 9), Bad Fish “A Tribute to Sublime” and Reel Big Fish (July 23), and Iron and Wine (July 30).

Martinis and Manicures at the Chocolate Bar, Mondays

“Chocolate martinis and manicures” has the perfect ring to it. Every Monday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., you can go to the Chocolate Bar, located in downtown Buffalo on West Chippewa St., for a nice pampering. The restaurant has salons that providing free manicures when you buy a martini every Monday.

Food Truck Tuesdays

Some days you might want a quick bite to eat without having to sit inside of a crowded restaurant. Every Tuesday from May 5 to October 27, over 20 food trucks from Buffalo and Rochester come together from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Larkin Square. There is live music, beer and a bunch of vendors selling art, produce and more.

Gabriela Julia is the senior features editor and can be reached at