Tonawanda News — Ah, the signs of spring: The birdsong, the flowers, the green grass, the flowing waters of the Erie Canal or Niagara River ... and the words “Opening soon” on the marquee of your favorite seasonal business.
After a long, cold winter, some of the iconic signs of a Western New York spring are starting to open — or at least set opening dates — in the Niagara Region. One of the first, Mississippi Mudds on Niagara Street in the City of Tonawanda, opened for the 2014 season Wednesday, one of the later openings in its 27-year history.
Owner Tony Berrafato said that even then, the extended forecast wasn’t looking particularly good — but eventually, things have to change.
“At some point, we have to be open,” he said. “When that first 60-degree sunny day hits, we’re going to be packed. The locals will come out.”
In Lockport, Transit Drive-In owner Rick Cohen recently announced that the drive-in, a decades-long tradition in the region, will open for the season April 4.
“That seems to be a pretty good chance,” Cohen said. “The long-term forecast looks good, no storms coming up, a big picture coming up. I think we’re ready to go.
“As long as Mother Nature gives us the green light, we will be open. That is the plan.”
Cohen would have opened earlier if the weather had cooperated, he said. The average opening for the theater is around the end of March.
“Pretty much whenever the weather breaks,” he said. “We want to see daytime temperatures around the 50-degree range and overnight temperatures that don’t get below 30 degrees and no snow on the ground.”
This year, the drive-in will open with — appropriately enough — “Captain America: Winter Soldier” (and “Need for Speed”) in the movie’s opening weekend. More screens will be needed as the weather (hopefully) continues to improve, Cohen said.