Tens of thousands of little yellow rubber duckies will splash into the Black Rock Channel off LaSalle Park on July 2 in one of the most unusual and newest events of the annual Friendship Festival.
The Buffalo Philharmonic's Great International Duck Race will have prizes for whoever's duck drifts down river the fastest, and at the same time, the event will raise funds for the orchestra.
The duck race, along with a long list of events planned for the third annual Friendship Festival July 1-4, were unveiled today by Bernard J. Kennedy, Friendship Festival '89 chairman.
The festival last year officially attracted more than 1 million people in a celebration of the long history of peace and friendship between the United States and Canada. The festival is expected to top that attendance record this year, especially since the festival has been designated as one of the top 100 events in North America by the American Bus Association.
To set the mood for the festivities, prefestival activities begin June 30, highlighted by a performance by the Guy Lombardo Royal Canadian Orchestra at noon at M&T Plaza on Buffalo Place.
Immediately following that hour-long performance, the Navy's 16-piece show band, "Sternwheel Drive," will perform at the Rath Building Plaza.
On the opening day, July 1, a seven-hour Jazz Festival at LaSalle Park will feature Maynard Ferguson and High Voltage, Billy Preston and local jazz talent. The day winds up with a 25-minute fireworks show by the Grucci Fireworks family.
On July 2, the Buffalo Raceway grandstand will offer a country music extravaganza featuring recording artists Cissie Lynn and Mike Snider. The Buffalo Philharmonic will perform in LaSalle Park, and there will be an air show across the border in Fort Erie featuring wing walkers, aerobatics, parachute jumpers and vintage warplanes from around the world.
On July 3, the Beach Boys double up with the Buffalo Bisons for a full afternoon at Pilot Field, and that evening, there will be an "Up With People" concert in Fort Erie.
The festival wraps up on July Fourth with carnivals in Riverside Park and in Cheektowaga, lake cruises, tours of the Buffalo Lighthouse, steam locomotive train rides and finally, that evening, a concert and fireworks display at LaSalle Park and in Canada, a Starlite Ball at Mather Arch.
Throughout the festival, KIDSPACE will be the place for young people. To be held in downtown Buffalo, it will include activities and performances for kids of all ages. Every evening, there will be Shakespeare in Delaware Park.
Kennedy, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of National Fuel, will have Leslie G. Arries and Erland E. Kailbourne as his vice chairmen. Arries is vice chairman of WIVB-TV, and Kailbourne is chairman and chief executive officer of Norstar Bank.