A shining day for Buffalo: Grain elevator light show makes its debut

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By Nathan Ress
Griffin Reporter

This past week in Buffalo has featured some of the best weather that Buffalonians have ever seen this late in the year. The beautiful temperatures and sunshine may have been one of the contributing factors in the major success of the premiere of the Silo City Light Show. The show premiered this Wednesday 4 Nov., a clear and warm evening at the Buffalo Harbor. The light show made its debut as part of a much larger festival, featuring some of the best Buffalo has to offer.

The festival very much focused on the concept of light. This light was obviously centered on the grain silos, but also permeated the entire harbor. A prime example is the smaller installation statues on the lawns of Canalside. This features two kneeling human figures, glowing a changing set of colors, and held aloft on large pedestals. Throughout the park there were also many small vendors selling various glowing objects. These included staffs, wands, visors, balls, hoops and of course, glowing swords. Children throughout the park could be seen in the heat of battle as their parents stood to marvel at the lights and mingle. This gave the event a very family-oriented atmosphere. Not only was there a great deal of children, but also people of all ages and it was not at all uncommon to find three generations of a family enjoying themselves together.

The event opened its doors at 5:00 p.m., but the main event was not until after dark, at 6:30 p.m.. After a small line of speakers and presenters had said their respective pieces, and to much hubbub from the crowd the tower light show began. The viewer was immediately struck by the scale of the installation, and how the lights both amplified and distorted the huge concrete silos.

The installation had been in the works since 2012 when the master plan was originally developed for Buffalo’s waterfront. The light sculpture was designed by Ambiances Design Productions and features lights placed strategically between each bump of the silos. One of the designs main goals was to utilize the interesting shape and texture of the canvas – in this case the grain elevators. It certainly achieves this, allowing a very historic Buffalo landmark to be the focus of something new and beautiful.

 The inspiration behind the piece was a view of all four seasons, as seen through a kaleidoscope. This only brings the piece closer to home, as Buffalo is known to bravely feature each season – even switching it up sometimes like this past week. This inspiration also led to some very interesting designs and patterns to be used very effectively in the light show, all put to a playlist-type soundtrack of recognizable and enjoyable modern music. It will also allow the light show to shift and change with the seasons, as this is a permanent installation. Once again, this light show will be taking place every night of the year, all year round, from nightfall until 11:00 p.m..

This permanence will add yet another attraction to Buffalo’s Canalside District, a feat made even more heroic in that it features one of Buffalo’s oldest and most iconic architectural monuments. The elevators will keep a bright eye over the harbor for many beautiful nights to come.

Basking in the colorful glow was the entire Harbor District, which shared the spotlight in the unveiling Wednesday. Chief among the attractions were Buffalo’s small army of local food trucks. Naturally, leading the way amongst these roving restaurants was Lloyd Taco Truck and (716) Club House, but also present were The Louisiana Cookery, O.G. Wood Fire Pizza Truck and Big Suzie’s Little Bakery.

The food trucks served as a great partner to the selection of beers served by the Canalside event staff and refreshments served at The Liberty Hound. The event overall was mobbed and lines for both food and drink were extremely long, but the food was definitely worth the wait. The number of people present likely stretched well into the tens of thousands and all of them seemed upbeat and excited about the energy in the Harbor.

The local businesses surrounding the Harbor also got a huge boost from the event, particularly the HARBORCENTER. The Tim Hortons in HARBORCENTER was filled to capacity and then some throughout the whole night – though that’s to be expected in Buffalo. Also attracting a great deal of attention were the smaller businesses nestled into the ground floor of HARBORCENTER. These businesses are often overlooked due to their location, but received plenty of attention Wednesday evening. Also bolstered by the event was the (716) Food and Sport restaurant which was playing various sports games and providing quality bar service for the entirety of the night.

Wednesday’s event was a great capitalization on beautiful weather and turned into a huge success. The Buffalo Harbor was absolutely bustling and for several blocks felt like a large, bustling city full of light and life. This is the exact feeling that event planners were trying to bring to Buffalo with the installation of the grain elevator light display. Use of the #cityoflight was greatly encouraged and caused a sizeable ripple across multiple social media platforms.

The event as a whole brought the city together and focused it on an iconic piece of architecture, another in a long line of rallying points for Buffalo. Once again, the display goes to show that Buffalo is very much a city on the rise, particularly in the downtown and Harbor districts.

Conveniently enough for Canisius students, the location is very easily accessible via the Metro Rail. This reporter greatly encourages any student to get a few miles out of their CRAM pass and make the trip to Canalside to check out the newly beautified silos. I can guarantee that the student will be awed by the display, and further impressed by the number of things to do/places to eat in the surrounding area. The location is great for a night out on the town, a solo adventure, or even a destination with that special someone. The trip is sure to be memorable, and gives the visitor the chance to witness and partake in the wonderful transition that Buffalo is currently undergoing.

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