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Expansion of Bash series planned

Come summertime, Buffalo boasts its Thursday at the Square.

But little East Aurora is about to put itself on the map by expanding its new Backyard Bash concert series after work on Thursdays during July and August.

"It's a little like Thursday at the Square," said Peggy Cooke, Aurora town recreation director. "We'd like to bring music downtown [in the village] and promote the concert series."

Town officials Monday agreed to co-sponsor the event with the village, but without alcohol. Village leaders have not yet voted on the proposal, though town officials indicated that village leaders back the idea and may vote on it soon.

"I think it's a good thing," Councilman Jeff Harris said. "See if you can get Bruce Springsteen for that."

To which Cooke quipped, "I'll work on that."

Begun last summer by East Aurora Advertiser Publisher Grant Hamilton, the fledgling Backyard Bash series had two concerts and was an immediate hit. The village-owned parking lot behind Vidler's 5 & 10 is viewed as an ideal spot to hold the concerts, although organizers are looking to branch out a bit and have it at a few locations, but not so many that residents find it confusing.

This summer, organizers will look to hold seven concerts, featuring bands, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The area behind Vidler's and a potential spot on the west end of the village are being pursued, as well as locations along Main Street.

Cooke said that two to three concerts geared more toward senior citizens will be scheduled for Hamlin Park on a few Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. Sponsors are being sought for music that older residents prefer. The additional Backyard Bash concerts will not affect the town budget, she said.

Initially, Aurora Supervisor Dwight Krieger said he had reservations about any alcoholic beverages that could be associated with the Backyard Bash. He noted one that he attended last summer behind Vidler's, with a beer tent nearby.

Councilman James Collins insisted that neither the village nor the town would sponsor alcohol being sold. However, a private property owner could offer alcoholic drinks off the premises of the concert, he said.

"I don't see any way we'd have additional liability exposure for liquor," said Collins, owner of an insurance agency.

"The village does not have an open-container law," Cooke said. "The village can't stop a private business from doing it, and it does not issue any permits. We're just promoting the concert series."

In another matter, the Town Board appointed Edward J. "Ned" Snyder as its prosecutor and Planning Board adviser. Snyder, a former town attorney and prosecutor, will earn $13,000 in the post, plus a $2,200 stipend as adviser to the Planning Board.

Snyder was given the nod over local attorney Deborah Carr-Hoagland, president of the Aurora Library's board.

"We did some real soul-searching," Councilman Norman Suttell said. "He has the experience we're looking for."

"We would have been well-served by any of the candidates," Councilwoman Kelly Wahl said, "but his experience will serve us well."

Snyder also will serve as deputy town attorney if Town Attorney Ronald P. Bennett is unavailable.


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