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People-watching is an art itself at the Allentown Art Festival

Three generations have been coming to the Allentown Art Festival, and not just for the art.

People-watching is part of the attraction, too.

Yes, tens of thousands look at art in the hundreds of booths that line several streets. And they buy food from vendors.

But for many, it's about the people.

"You see all kinds, and I can't believe some of the younger people, oh my goodness," said Jean Kieffer of Cheektowaga, who returns year after year to sit with family members in front of the same brick home on Allen Street, near Park Street.

"It's a different world, although when I came here years ago they had kids walking around with snakes around their necks," she said.

The family members have a routine, granddaughter Kelsey Miosi of Williamsville said, sitting near her mother, Cheryl Miosi.

"We get food, walk around and see all the art, and then we sit here and get coffee and watch people. I just love people-watching," she said.

[GALLERY: Allentown Art Festival 2017]

They're hardly alone. On Saturday – the first day of the two-day festival – lots of people were as engaged in people-watching as others scoured the booths for photography, jewelry, wind chimes or soy candles, or sought Italian pastries, fried Oreo cookies and pierogi.

Stretched out on a chair, Maddie Ferris was among them.

Clothing, hairstyles and tattoos were among the things she and other people-watchers took note of.

"We have been doing people-watching most of the day," said Ferris, of Batavia. "You have people almost in gowns, and then you have people in rags. It's just like, really? They don't own mirrors? But it's amazing to see the diversity here. It's something nice to see."

John Burmaster and several friends were also in chairs in front of his home on Virginia Street, near Delaware Avenue.

"The best part about the Allentown Art Festival is sitting here and being a people-watcher as opposed to checking out the art," Burmaster said. "The variety is the biggest part of it. We get to see the people, the dogs and what people are buying."

The diversity of people at the festival was something foreign to many neighborhoods.

"You don't see all these different types of people in South Buffalo, where I'm from," said Jessie Hinman, with 11-month-old son Richard in a stroller.

Thomas Paul Asklar, a painter who operated the booth F011, also said people-watching was one of the best attractions of the festival.

"You have a quarter-million people going through here in a weekend," Asklar said. "People are art forms in themselves, and you see a lot of interesting characters. It's fun."

Kimberly Hoffritz of Hamburg, who was at the festival with her daughter Emma, said she liked to look at the tattoos, sporting several herself.

The sheer number of people and Allentown's architecture, Kodiac Allan said, left him feeling good about Buffalo.

"I haven't been down here in maybe six years," said Allan, who lives in North Tonawanda. "I'm just soaking in the whole atmosphere and environment of downtown Buffalo."

Allentown Art Festival, now in its 60th year, resumes Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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