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Last night to catch Buffalo River Fest

SOUTH BUFFALO -- Buffalo may not have a Stanley Cup, but Bobby Larusch has something to fill the void.

Larusch and his crew won the the fifth annual Wilkeson Cup for building the "most creative seaworthy vessel" to compete in the Rigidized Metals River Fest Regatta Saturday afternoon on the Buffalo River.

The contest was part of the annual Buffalo River Fest held this weekend at Father Conway Park.

"We celebrate it like we won the Stanley Cup," said Larusch, who donned a straw hat and lei to compliment his Margaritaville-themed team. "Buffalo's never gonna win the Stanley Cup but we won it for Buffalo."


Christina Mysliwiec, Bobby Larusch, Patrick O'Reilly, John Young, Nicole Ford, and Megan Larusch stand with the Wilkeson Cup.

"We didn't expect to win," said John Young. "There were a lot of great rafts."

The Margaritaville team completed the three-mile regatta course, while some watercrafts, which included boats, canoes, and kayaks, took a six-mile trip. Both courses concluded at the state Department of Environmental Conservation Canoe Launch on Ohio Street near the park.

According to Larusch, making it three miles with their homemade raft wasn't an easy task.

"The wind was blowing at us the whole time so it made it very difficult," he said. "Then it started raining for a while."'

Not everyone planned on attending River Fest.

Allen Lau and Melanie Dewitt of Buffalo were taking a drive through downtown and were headed home when they saw a few large tents and a big crowd gathered in the park.

"We saw a bunch of people gathering here so we came here for some food and to see what else was going on," said Lau.

Several of those tents Lau and Dewitt spotted were occupied by small businesses looking to sell their product. Lau thought it was a good spot for business promotion. 

"It's pretty good for these small companies," he said. "They get to come out here and show off some of their stuff."

The event will run until midnight.

For a schedule of events this evening, click here.

--Lauren Nicole Mariacher

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