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Delaware Park picnic enlivened by the spirit of Intune

About 100 people got a preview of Intune, one of Buffalo’s newest music and lifestyle festivals, at a picnic Sunday afternoon in Delaware Park followed by a walk for peace.

The picnic and walk aimed to spread the word about the festival, set for Aug. 15 at Buffalo Iron Works in the Cobblestone District. The festival, planned to be an annual event, was first held last year at Island Park in Williamsville.

On Sunday, attendees listened to local artists and watched walkers on slack lines try to keep their balance. Promoters of WNY VegFest, a healthy lifestyle festival that will be held Aug. 2 at the park, passed out fliers and gave “free vegan hugs.” And a peace advocate handed out slips of paper with positive messages to picnicgoers.

“It’s just an opportunity for people to open their eyes to what other people in Buffalo are doing,” said Austin White, 24, one of Intune’s founders.

Edward Spangenthal, 23, found out about the picnic through Facebook and brought a few friends along. He’s now planning to attend Intune. “It’s cool to see people demonstrate their musical talents, their artistic talents,” he said.

The picnic gave Grace Coker, 21, one of Spangenthal’s friends, a chance to see more of Buffalo – she recently moved here from Freeport, Nassau County. Coker, who has been a vegan for three years, was glad to find out about VegFest.

“Not often I get to make it to things like that,” she said.

More than 2,200 people were expected to attend the event, but the turnout – for what was labeled “Buffalo’s Largest Picnic” – turned out to be far smaller because of two reschedulings caused by rain.

Intune – “a moment of peace and clarity when you understand your path, place and purpose in the world,” according to the group’s Facebook page – is the brainchild of a Buffalo group of friends who attended Williamsville South High School together.

White, Amanda Gutierrez and two other pals came up with the idea after a common friend died last year at age 23.

“He was like a brother to most of us,” White said. “He wouldn’t want us to be somber or depressed about his passing.”

To Intune’s founders, the late friend “represents making music, playing shows, being authentic, staying true to ourselves, and being intune,” according to the festival’s Facebook page.

Last year’s Intune, to which about 500 people showed up, included singers, free workshops, live sculpture and other functions.

“We’re all about making fun ideas and making them actionable,” said Gutierrez, 23.

That’s why the Intune crew invited Stephen Fogarty, 25, to join the picnic Saturday. One lazy Sunday about two months ago, Fogarty and his 6-year-old son, Kingston, created their own slips with upbeat messages and gave them to passers-by on Elmwood Avenue.

The idea stuck. On Saturday, Fogarty, his son and a few other people gave flowers to picnicgoers, as well as slips with messages such as “You’re beautiful” and paper stars made by Kingston.

“He’s the real star in all of this,” Fogarty said of his son.

Taking over the mic set up for the singers, Fogarty addressed the crowd. “The change that we need in the world starts with a smile and a hug,” he said.

Kingston also stole the mic for a few seconds.

“Thank you,” the boy said.