ECHDC - Buffalo Waterfront2021 New Attractions Include: Historic Carousel, Air Show, New and Expanded Beer Gardens, Interactive Art Installation, the Return of Shark Girl and Additional Food Options

 Full event and programming details available at

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and Be Our Guest (BRG) today announced an exciting 2021 season at the Buffalo Waterfront, with activities from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.  Summer on the waterfront will see some exciting new attractions, including the Buffalo Heritage Carousel, new and expanded beer gardens, international touring light exhibit and a wide variety of food options.

“Western New Yorkers want to get outside and enjoy this summer, especially after more than a year of living under COVID restrictions,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia.  “ECHDC and Be Our Guest have been busy constructing and planning new attractions and activities for people of all ages to enjoy. The summer schedule will give families safe and affordable options to spend a day on the Buffalo waterfront.”

“It’s going to be an exciting summer at the Buffalo Waterfront. We are thrilled to welcome visitors back to Canalside and Outer Harbor in a safe manner,” said Kevin Parkinson, Vice President of Operations and Finance for Be Our Guest. “We have a full line-up of unique events and experiences, along with the return of longstanding programming with our community partners.”

 New and returning offerings at the waterfront in 2021 are plentiful with the team at Be Our Guest and other partners working to make this summer unforgettable.  New activities and events for 2021 include:

At Canalside:

    • Buffalo Heritage Carousel
    • Expanded beer garden at Clinton’s Dish
    • Free tours of Packet Boat building in the Longshed
    • Shark Girl returns
    • Free Explore & More Children’s Museum outdoor programming
    • Kayaks, water bikes and paddle boats
    • Free Fitness at Canalside presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY
    • Creators on the Boardwalk markets
    • Historical programming, including a new partnership with Young Audiences of WNY

At the Outer Harbor:

    • Thunder on the Buffalo Waterfront Air Show
    • New beer garden at Wilkeson Pointe featuring a double decker bar and Nosh and Nibble food truck
    • Impulse art installation at Wilkeson Pointe
    • New food and beverage area at the Lakeside Bike Park
    • Fitness in the Parks presented by Independent Health

The Buffalo Heritage Carousel at Canalside is installed and running inside the new roundhouse at Canalside.  The historic De Angelis Carousel features a menagerie of meticulously restored antique pieces. Hop aboard for $1.00 per ride.

The biggest event on this year’s Buffalo Waterfront calendar will be the Thunder on the Buffalo Waterfront Air Show at the Outer Harbor on June 19 and 20.  The outdoor ticketed event features a range of military and civilian aerial performers, including the famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerobatic team.

Back on the ground, kids and adults can relive their best days on the playground on 15 giant seesaws that light up and play musical notes. The installation, Impulse, seen in major cities around the world will brighten Wilkeson Pointe with teeter totters ranging from 16 feet to 24 feet in length.  The musical elements and lights intensify as people go up and down. Impulse is the creation of Lateral Office and CS Design with production by Quartier des Spectacles Partnership.

The new beer garden at Wilkeson Pointe features a shipping container bar with an up top lounge area offering perfect shoreline views and the new Nosh and Nibble food truck serving up lazy day fare. The volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and kickball fields will host some summertime fun with league play and impromptu games for the novice to the expert player.

 Shark Girl, the immensely popular public art piece, is back on her perch next to the historic canals at Canalside after undergoing some repair and maintenance on her fiberglass body so she can better handle interactions with all her fans, as well as to stand up to harsh Buffalo winters, for years to come.

“We are delighted that Shark Girl has made it back in time for a busy summer season at Canalside,” said Aaron Ott, Curator of Public Art at the Albright-Knox. “We truly appreciate the wonderful partnership with ECHDC that allowed us to get this important work done, and we’re excited to see fans interact with Shark Girl for a very long time.”

Fitness at Canalside, presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, will kick off a robust line up of in person fitness classes on Tuesday June 1 with Zumba at Canalside, celebrating its tenth year at Canalside. Blue Bike rentals will also be available at Canalside.

“We are all looking forward to this summer and are thrilled to welcome our community back to get healthy with us on Buffalo’s beautiful waterfront as we kick off our 7th season of Fitness at Canalside,” said Julie R. Snyder, Vice President, Community Affairs, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York. “This is an important part of our mission - offering free fitness classes, Blue Bikes and all of the other offerings at what we like to refer to as ‘Buffalo’s beloved front-lawn’. We know that after a year of social-distancing, it will be a summer to remember.”

Additionally, fitness fans can head to the Outer Harbor where Independent Health Presents Fitness in the Parks at Wilkeson Pointe along with a line up of rotating classes on the weekends. The Lakeside Bike Park, which has riding tracks and trails for riders of all skill levels, will be an even bigger hit this year with the addition of food trucks, offering a variety of menu items to enjoy while taking in the views of beautiful Lake Erie.

“As we all look forward to another beautiful summer season in Western New York, many will go to the waterfront to get active and be healthy at the Outer Harbor,” said Michelle Carbery, senior corporate wellness specialist at Independent Health.  “Whether it’s kayak and bike rentals or the peaceful scene of possibly our most popular Fitness in the Parks location at Wilkeson Point, Independent Health is proud to help bring the many summer activities at Outer Harbor to everyone throughout our community to enjoy.”

Children’s programming with Explore & More Children’s Museum will include Free Play Fridays from July 2 through August 27 and Trucking Through Summer, which will bring a rotating line up of vehicles for children to interact with directly outside of the museum’s entrance.

Michelle Urbanczyk, Explore & More CEO said, “We are very excited to be a part of Canalside programming offering in-person, safe and fun summer activities for children.  We are thrilled to be able to offer Trucking Through the Summer A-Z,  where every Wednesday and Friday from 11-2 we will feature various trucks outside- ending in our family favorite Touch a Truck event on August 28, 2021, in addition to a Bike Rodeo and other family friendly programming to the Buffalo Waterfront.”

Young Audiences of Western New York will bring some history to Canalside this summer with the installation of a living artwork depicting the history of the Underground Railroad as told through story quilting. This programming will be held in the Pavilion at the Replica Canals.

Those who enjoy seeing history in the making can head to the Longshed where staff and volunteers from the Buffalo Maritime Center are building a replica of the 1825 Seneca Chief packet boat, which transported Governor DeWitt Clinton from Buffalo to New York City to mark the official opening of the Erie Canal. The packet boat project is expected to take about three years to complete. During that time, the public will be able to watch the boat being built and even volunteer to join the construction crew. Those wishing to volunteer should visit the Buffalo Maritime Center's website at

Amenities, such as table games/game rentals, BFLO Kayak tours/rentals, water bike rentals, Spirit of Buffalo rides, History Tour Boat rides, biking and walking tours, and Buffalo Sunset Chairs, will also be available throughout the summer beginning Memorial Day Weekend.

All these fresh air activities are sure to work up people’s appetites. Along Canalside’s Boardwalk, you will find Clinton’s Dish is open from 11a.m. until sunset daily or cool off with an ice cream cone from the Ice Cream Kiosk along the Boardwalk. 

For all of the latest updates to the summer schedule keep checking

About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation

A nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors governs the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York state governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The Erie County executive and the City of Buffalo mayor hold the two non-voting, ex-officio director positions. For more information on ECHDC, visit




Pamm Lent (Governor’s Office) | | (716) 560-8815

Laura Magee (ECHDC) | | (716) 846-8239

Lauren Moloney Ford (Be Our Guest) |  (716) 430-9072