Oct. 9, 2021
Buffalo Niagara Convention Center is back in business and looking ahead
The Buffalo Niagara Convention Center will open its doors to the public on Sunday for the first time since March 2020 to welcome the Buffalo Bridal Show.
"We are super excited to be back," said Kristen DeBadts, general manager and head of marketing for Buffalo Wedding Magazine.
The magazine had to cancel six bridal shows since the last one held in January of last year, she said.
Sunday's show is expected to draw roughly 1,800 people, including more than 600 couples. Several other large convention center events, attracting hundreds to thousands of people, are planned between now and year's end.
The convention center's reopening weekend is the latest marker on a road of shrinking ambitions. Early last year, convention business backers were focused on plans for a new convention center. Soon after, the Covid-19 public health crisis struck New York. Convention center talk evaporated, and within weeks, the hulking downtown building was closed.
The months ahead don't reflect a booming business, by any stretch, but next year looks more promising. So far, 113 events are booked through 2022, said Patrick Kaler, chief executive officer for Visit Buffalo Niagara.
"It’s been slow going getting back into the groove," he said.
The convention center business is not expected to fully recover until 2024. In the meantime, local leaders are using the time to make upgrades to ensure that the convention center remains an attractive place to do business.
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