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"Buffalove" draws hundreds to Canalside

“Buffalove” took a physical form Sunday, as about a thousand people came together to create a human buffalo.

Patty Watson, of Patty’s People Pictures, organized “Human BuffaLove #3,” a project celebrating both Buffalo’s revitalization and the nation’s veterans. An aerial photo from a raised fire truck ladder captured the Canalside event.

“It’s very rewarding to get a group of people together that believe in your vision and just be united for a reason,” Watson said.

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Registration began at 10:30 a.m., and by noon – when they began forming the buffalo –  it was nearly 90 degrees. But the crowd, dressed in red, white and blue Buffalove T-shirts, smiled and gathered around the field – which was spray-painted to show participants where to line up – waiting for Watson’s guidance.

The logistics took hours, Watson said, which included about five hours of spray-painting. The plan: Start on the perimeter and bring everyone in at once. The rest took just minutes.

Watson, in her neon yellow shirt, ran up and down the field, making sure everyone was in place. Speaking calmly into the microphone, she instructed the crowd to place their hands by their sides, look down and then look up at the camera. In the last photos, people shook their arms in the air and then made hearts with their hands.

They were done by 12:20 p.m.

Her core team of eight knew how to handle it. This is the third buffalo photo project open to the public, Watson said. There have been four buffaloes in total, and Sunday marked the 67th aerial photo of a variety of subjects.

The crowd was made up family, friends and community members who have followed Patty’s People Pictures. It’s not only fun, but also has a good message attached, Watson said.

The project started by gathering students to build patriotic images to make them aware of the nation’s veterans. Past photos included an American flag, a patriotic heart, Uncle Sam’s hat, the Statue of Liberty and America itself.

Tickets were $25 and included an event T-Shirt, participation in the photo and a barbecue chicken lunch. The proceeds went to the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which supports veterans, and Western New York Heroes Inc.

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Many people also came to support the city. A group of friends from the First Niagara Center came to the event early to get red shirts to form the heart of the buffalo. They came to be a part of Buffalo and support the cause.

“This year we did it up,” said Steve Gore, a Buffalonian who has now participated three times.

Julie Finley of North Tonawanda and her group also came to support the community and show their hometown pride.

“All of us are from Buffalo, and sometimes it gets a bad rep,” she said. But as she overheard in Tim Horton’s earlier that morning, people who have left and come back can’t believe the change – they’re are amazed at the transformation, particularly at Canalside.

Sitting a few lawn chairs down, Annette Biondo of Pendleton nodded enthusiastically. She was born and raised on the West Side – and proud of it.

“It’s back, baby,” she said of Buffalo. “We’re back.”


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