BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Thousands come to the Allentown Art Festival every year for the food, fun and to check out the local artists. But it’s the local brick and mortar stores in the area that say they are the real winners of this annual event.
Patricia Lukow sells odds and ends from her consignment shop “Patricias'” on Allen Street. She and her sister Audrey have watched 30 years of art festivals come and go from outside their shop. She said, “I have everything but the kitchen sink and I once had that!”
Lukow says every year, this weekend is lucrative for those who have businesses in the area. “A zillion people come here, they really do, and they are from all over. They aren’t just from the Buffalo area. People make a trip just to come to the festival, which I think is great,” she told News 4. “The people really make Allentown, and I really hope that all the vendors do well. The people are wonderful. I love just sitting here, just to watch the people walk by. And of course it’s nice if they buy something too.”
Some restaurants and stores close completely for the weekend. But for those who choose to brave the crowds and stay open, they say it means big business.
Joseph King, Pizza Chef from Allentown Pizza says being open gives people options when they visit the art festival. “When I looked outside the windows yesterday and it was mobbed, I thought this is crazy, people are checking out Allentown. It’s usually not mobbed until late night on Fridays and Saturdays, but it was great having people here nice and early yesterday,” he said.
This weekend keeps him busy, but smiling. “I probably made pizza non-stop yesterday, the entire day, and I didn’t even take a break and I loved it,” he said.
Some vendors who spoke with News 4 say this year they were required to sell for an extra hour. They believe it is to help bring business to the area bars and restaurants.