Italian Fest debuts on waterfront

Jul 15, 2017

The Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival has been going since Thursday, but not from it’s normal location. The festival has moved from Hertel Avenue in North Buffalo to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor near downtown.

The Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival is in full swing for the first time on the city's waterfront.
Credit WBFO News photo by Dominic LoVallo /

A $5 entrance fee and security checks have also been added. Ken and Susan Hunt are fans of all the changes to the Italian Festival.

“I personally like the security going all the way around. I have no problem with being wand checked. I think the security’s great,” said Ken Hunt. “And there’s a lot more room, you can move around, and they have a lot more places where you can sit and eat,” said Susan Hunt.

The festival is full of many attractions and vendors to visit. When anyone first walks in, they would see many gaming attractions to their left and the ever-so-popular “I Got It’ on their right. Then there are all the food options that you can think of.   

Views at the Italian Festival on the waterfront.
Credit WBFO News photo by Dominic LoVallo

Pizza, fried dough, cannolis, calamari, etc. The Italian Festival has a tradition of providing some of the best Italian cuisine possible. And a newcomer to the festival comes strongly recommended by the Hunts.

Gregg Fratto’s North End Deli is making its debut at the festival. Fratto serves nothing but Arancinis rice balls, but said business has been booming.

“Yeah, it’s been real good, said Fratto. “We do a lot of Italian festivals across the country and we had this one circled for a while. Looks like it’s going to be a real good one. Feels great. It really does. We were a little afraid of the rain, cause that’ll kill ya’, especially driving 8 miles a gallon pulling this thing, but it looks like the rain is going to fade away and we’ll be good to go.”          

Italian Rice Balls.
Credit WBFO News photo by Dominic LoVallo

Pat and Marvin Vanhoover said nothing but good things about the festival.

The couple were also enjoying the group Light’s Out who are performing a tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. 

“I like it. It’s my first time here and I like it. It’s outside, food’s great, people are friendly.” (Me saying how about you) “Happy life, happy wife. I like the festival," said the Vahnoover's.

Emily Donals enjoyed her first Buffalo Italian Festival and is having a blast listening to the group.

"We love the music! We’re watching a Frankie Valli tribute band and we’re swooning over these guys. It’s great," declared Donals.

As the festival rolls on, there will be entertainment going on too. This includes a performance by America’s Got Talent Finalist Sal Valentinetti Saturday night at 8:30, Sicilian puppet shows and cheese building contests.

The festival runs through Sunday night at 11.