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So much free family fun it’s hard to choose

This summer is so jam packed with free family fun, I could spend my next five columns just sharing the best events. (Should I? Tweet me.)

Here’s a little taste:

Canal Fest. The festival runs Sunday through July 24 along Sweeney Street, Niagara Street and the Renaissance Bridge in Tonawanda and North Tonawanda. There is a slew of free activities each day, including live bands, pie-eating contests, potato sack races, talent shows and chainsaw carving demos. Admission is free, but food, rides and carnival games cost extra. For more information, visit

Old Falls Street in downtown Niagara Falls. Free activities hosted by D&B Karaoke noon-5 p.m. every Saturday in July and August In addition to music, games and arts and crafts, there is a featured event each Saturday. Saturday 1-4 p.m. is “Exercise Like the Animals,” a full-body “play-out” workout with moves inspired by animals. That program will repeat Aug. 13, Aug. 20 and Aug. 27.

Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls has various activities for the family. Alex DeSena, 17, right, of Queens, and his sister Kaitlin DeSena, 22, of Cape Coral, Florida, play a giant sized chess game in an area filled with games and adirondack chairs, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. The siblings are visiting family. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls has various activities for the family. Alex DeSena, 17, right, of Queens, and his sister Kaitlin DeSena, 22, of Cape Coral, Fla., play a giant chess game in an area filled with games and Adirondack chairs. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

The ZooMobile will be there with live animals 1-5 p.m. July 23. There will be bounce houses and other inflatables from WNY Entertainment Pros 1-5 p.m. July 30. Differential Flava Crew will perform and teach break-dancing and share lessons about the power of hip-hop, music and dance 2-3 p.m. and 4-5 p.m. Aug. 6. “Touch a Truck” will give kids a chance to climb into fire, emergency and heavy equipment vehicles noon-5 p.m. Aug. 13. For more information, visit

Payne Park in North Tonawanda. Park attendants oversee free arts and crafts projects, games, sports and contests and serve free lunches.

“Friday Fundays” are free special events that start 12:30 p.m. each Friday The events are “Fitness Funday” this week, “Canal Fest Talent Show” July 22, “Wet & Wild Water Day” July 29, “Kids Carnival” Aug. 5 and “Amazing Race Scavenger Hunt” Aug. 12).

The “Summer Smart” series offers educational programming 11:30 a.m. Thursdays The schedule includes “Communication Skills” July 21, “Self Esteem” July 28, “Teamwork” Aug. 4, “Sports/Drugs” Aug. 11 and “Peer Pressure” Aug. 18).

July 18-23, kids 4-16 can compete in the “Summer Funlympics” for medals and a grand prize. The NT Library will also be on hand some Wednesdays for library card sign-up, book checkout and story times. Swimming in the kiddie pool is free, but swimming in the giant pool next door costs 50 cents for residents and $2 for others.

The park is located on Payne Avenue between Walck Road and East Avenue. For more information, visit

Markawan and Amanda with Camp Counselor Jessie Teiboeo and Genesis ride Tilt a Whirl at the Old Home Days Celebration in Island Park, in Williamsville, N.Y., on Wednesday, July 8, 2015.The group was from St. Luke Mission and part of a group called Kids from the Kingdom. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

Markawan, Amanda and Genesis ride Tilt a Whirl with their camp counselor Jessie Teiboeo at Old Home Days in Williamsville in 2015. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

Old Home Days. A family festival with live music, dance performances and other free events. Midway rides and games cost extra. It takes place 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday at Island Park on Main Street in Williamsville. For more information, visit

Sweet Chalk Festival. See expert sidewalk chalk art and make your own 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Main and Pine streets in Lockport.

Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum. Free admission 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays. Kiddieland ride tokens are 50 cents each. Located at 180 Thompson St. in North Tonawanda.

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