BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Crews at Larkin Square are getting ready to host a big celebration of the season this weekend. They spent part of Wednesday morning bringing in snow from nearby parking lots to build a sledding hill for the 4th annual Larkinville Ice Festival, which is taking place Saturday, January 27.
“It’s just a reminder of why we all love winter in Buffalo,” said Larkin Square Director of Fun Leslie Zemsky.
This year’s Ice Festival offers free admission, free parking, and giveaways from sponsors KeyBank and Independent Health, as well as a full program packed with winter fun in the Larkinville neighborhood.
“Each event, each season, more businesses open here and this is what we’ve been all about is bringing back a beautiful historic neighborhood,” Zemsky said.
Many of the businesses around Larkin Square are also hosting festivities on Saturday, including the Hydraulic Hearth, Swan Street Diner, and the Flying Bison Brewery, where the newest beer, Thundersnow IPA, will be debuted.
The brewery will also be the site of the Buffalo Groundhog Day celebration that day. The Buffalo Groundhog Day Society is a New York non-profit corporation whose event raises money for local animal organizations.
For years, the event has featured a special appearance Buffalo Mack, a human in an animal costume, predicting how much longer winter will last.
This year, visitors can enjoy live music, a tent party, and food trucks between noon and 7 p.m., and for the first time ever in Buffalo, a real groundhog will also make his prediction about whether we’ll see six more weeks of winter. That will take place at 2 p.m. when the results of the contest to name the new groundhog will also be announced.
There will also be other live animals, including a Lynx, at Flying Bison brought by Hawk Creek, the main beneficiary of this year’s event.
“It’s a fun reason to get out, and as rough as the early part of the winter was, it’s going to be a beautiful day on Saturday, so shake off the cabin fever and come on out,” said Tim Herzog, Flying Bison Brewery founder. “Have a beer, see your friends. They’re all going to be here, so you might as well be here, too.”
If you’d like to enjoy the fun at this year’s Ice Festival, you can find the full program schedule below:
Larkin Square (745 Seneca Street)
Programming from 11am – 3pm
- Winter vendor market featuring numerous local businesses and alpacas from Thistle Creek Alpacas
- Ice Throne
- Sledding Hill
- Nickel City Novelties spin art and games
- Coloring Stations
- Pickleball, Kan-Jam, Cornhole
- Snowga (Yoga in the Snow, a winter edition of Fitness in the Parks presented by the YMCA and Independent Health)
- Outdoor bar on the boardwalk, including a make your own hot chocolate station
- Filling Station restaurant open for lunch indoors
- Performers throughout the square from The Bird’s Nest Acro Circus
Larkin Center of Commerce (701 Seneca Street)
- Horse-drawn sleigh wagon rides up and down Seneca Street from 12pm – 2pm
Hydraulic Hearth Restaurant & Brewery (716 Swan Street)
- Burritos and Brooze Brunch with Lomo Lomo: 10:30am – 2:30pm
- Live music with a Band Named Sue 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
- The Bavarian Winterfest in the Beer Garden: noon to 4pm
- Sarah Myers paintings in (716)GAL-LERY, the phone booth art gallery inside the Hydraulic Hearth
Swan Street Diner (700 Swan Street)
- Open from 7am – 3pm
- Special Ice Fest deals to be announced!
Flying Bison Brewing Company (840 Seneca Street)
- Brewery open 12pm – 8pm
- 12pm: Buffalo Groundhog Day 5th Anniversary featuring live music, food trucks and an appearance from Buffalo Mack.