Tonawanda News


August 1, 2013

KEPPELER: Sweet summer freedom

Tonawanda News — I stood at the second performance of In Good Company Productions’ “Back to the ‘80s” on Tuesday at Niawanda Park, watching as the 100 young cast members (yes, 100) took their bows at the end of the show to resounding applause and the sound of an ‘80s music medley. (I’m going to have “I Gonna Be (500 Miles)” and “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” stuck in my head for weeks.)

The couple sitting beside me clapped and cheered and whistled with particular vigor. It made me smile, actually, their enthusiasm, and when the accolades died down a bit, I asked if they were there for any of the young stars in particular.

The answer: Nope. They were from North Buffalo, saw an item in a newspaper and decided to come check out the show. And isn’t it neat how you can do something almost every evening during a Western New York summer for free?

I agree, but it wasn’t until later that I started thinking about it. And they’re right. Oh, there’s plenty you can pay for, from the inexpensive to the sell-your-car-for-ticket-money varieties, but if you look, there’s a lot out there that doesn’t require a cent. (Except, perhaps, for gas money.)

Here’s a few of my personal favorite free things to do during a Western New York summer. Bear in mind that they tilt heavily toward the kid-friendly and Tonawanda-centric because that’s sort of my life; your mileage may vary.

• The Kenmore Children’s Concert Series. There are a lot of free concerts around here, but these are a Keppeler staple. We’ve been to two of the five this year, including the Knewz and John & Mary & The Valkyries on successive weeks. The boys rarely sit down, dance happily for nearly an hour and go home worn out. What’s not to love?

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