Buffalo's second-annual city waterfront festival will highlight history and nature along the lake and river shoreline Saturday.
Activities at five waterfront locations, boat tours and music will be featured in a mix of educational and entertainment programs, during the growing "Waterfest" celebration launched even before next year's planned start of Inner Harbor renovations.
"Home Port" activities, centered on a lawn near Crawdaddy's Restaurant and the Erie Basin Marina, will range from live bands to a "species parade" for children and others who can bring costumes or make them during the festival.
Other activities will be held at Tifft Nature Preserve, the historic Buffalo Lighthouse, LaSalle Park and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. Shuttle buses will link some of the sites.
Most of the events are free. There is a $10 charge for a 9:30 a.m. Buffalo River heritage tour conducted by the Industrial Heritage Committee aboard the Miss Buffalo cruise boat, and a $5 charge for a 2 p.m. ecology tour aboard the Niagara Clipper.
The Naval Park is offering a special souvenir pin and $2 off regular admissions, and part of the cost of lunches and dinners at Crawdaddy's will benefit the festival.
The volunteer festival committee organized by Women for Downtown also is raffling off a Waterfest Quilt, in a "Storm at Sea" pattern by quilt artist Joanne Franklin.
Demonstrations and activities planned for the "Home Port" near Crawdaddy's include children's activities, environmental and wildlife displays, and stage performances by the InJest family comedy troupe, Music by CO Jones, and the Black Forest Green big band.
A U.S. Fish & Wildlife research vessel will be on hand, and there are tentative plans for police divers to stage an exhibit aboard the city's National Historic Landmark fireboat Edward M. Cotter.
Buffalo State College's boat-building program will display watercraft, AmeriCorps volunteers will join Erie County in displaying and discussing a watershed model, and there will be canoe rentals, fossil displays, a wildlife rescue exhibit, "Ginger Kids" activities, a New York Sea Grant exotic species exhibit, knot-tying and Navy and Marine Corps Reserve demonstrations.
Scheduled events for the Home Port tent area include a 2 p.m. welcoming ceremony and "species parade;" a water tasting competition from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; live birds from Hawk Creek Sanctuary from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from Owl Facts Wildlife Rescue from 2 to 6 p.m.; a recycled art booth from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Buffalo Zoo animals from 1 to 4 p.m.; and Project F.L.I.G.H.T. story-telling from 2 to 5 p.m.
The historic 1833 Buffalo Lighthouse will be open for tours from noon to 5 p.m. at the Coast Guard base at the foot of Fuhrmann Boulevard, and a lecture and demonstration program is planned for the community room in the base's administration building.
Organized by Great Lakes United, the programs by local conservation and educational groups will include talks on Hamburg's Penn-Dixie fossil quarry, wetlands and land conservation, wildlife and the environment.
The Tifft Nature Preserve will offer fishing tips, games, an aquatic animal treasure hunt, recycled art, games and tours. Picnickers are encouraged, although grills are not allowed in the preserve.
Shea's Performing Arts Center and the Junior League will sponsor a 6:30 p.m. LaSalle Park family concert featuring Disney recording and puppeteer artist Norman Foote, immediately following Waterfest.