NT NEWS: Changes Coming to Canal Fest?

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Rumors of a new venue for Canal Fest swirled as festivities winded down this week, but are they true?


By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

Big changes to Canal Fest? Yes, but not the ones you might have heard.

Rumors swirled throughout social media in the winding days of Canal Fest that the venue for the event could be moving.

The event has been held in the Tonawandas for the past 36 years and while there are no plans to eliminate it or change the venue, organizers told the Niagara Reporter that the 37th year could include some changes.

Those changes include eliminating rides on the Tonawanda side of the canal due to construction issues.

“We just started to have discussions with both cities,” said Pete Chenier, Canal Festival President. “We do not know what the layout is going to be because they are doing some construction on the other side. Before anything can be decided we have come up with firm plans and solidify negotiations with the City.

The week-long event brings people from both the Tonawanda and North Tonawanda sides of the canal together and many believe that the rides are a big part of that.

Many people say they rides are the whole reason that so many people come to the event.

“This is a great event and I think the rides bring people here,” said Ellen Burns, North Tonawanda resident. “They are a benefit”.

Another rumor floating throughout the festival was that the venue would be moving from the canal to Gratwick Park next year. Event organizers, as well as officials from both city governments, said the event will “always” be held at the canal.

Planning for next years canal fest will begin soon. Organizers say the layout will become public as soon as discussions with both city governments take place.

“When we had our negotiations with the City last year for this year we finalized them in February,” said Chenier. “They asked us that we come early in August so that we can start for next year. As soon as we figure out the layout it will be made public.”

By all accounts, this year’s Canal Fest event was a success. Good weather and lots of events brought people from all over to the festival this week. Organizers described the event as being comparable to previous years festivals.

Money raised form the event helps to support several local charities.

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