Tonawanda News — Denef said he estimates that between about 180,000 to 200,000 people attend the Canal Fest on average. While requests stream in each year from private businesses looking to capitalize on the crowds, the leadership of the festival feels that for the time being, it is satisfied allowing only local non-profits to set up booths, many of whom depend on the annual financial gains to make ends meet.
“I get a lot of inquiries,” he said. “We could make it as large as the Erie County Fair there’s so much interest in the event. We’d take over half of the cities. We only have so much room. I don’t see any change in space allocation. What we have is manageable.”
The Canal Fest hierarchy meets once a month throughout the year, leaving the door open for input from non-members, Denef said.
“It’s a good thing,” he said. “A lot of people think that the city runs this. I think it’s important to remember that nobody makes a penny off of this. It all goes to the non-profits.”