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Harbor officials test grain elevator light show

Mike Desmond/wbfo

What started as just a test for the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation turned into a traffic-stopping public viewing last night at Gallagher Beach.

The ECHDC wanted to test technology projecting giant images on local grain elevators, choosing an old Cargill elevator on the Outer Harbor for the test.

When the event started, it was a few officials and reporters looking 1,600 feet across the water in the gathering darkness.

Immediately, cars began to stop on Fuhrmann Boulevard and citizens wandered in to look at the shimmering colors and giant images on the elevator and listen to the music and sounds matching what Montreal-based Ambiance Studios was projecting on two sides of the concrete mass.

Empire State Development Corporation Regional President Sam Hoyt says it's a way to show off the grain elevators and their history.
"We have these extraordinary pieces of architecture that originated here in Buffalo, our grain elevators," Hoyt said. "It's time that we celebrated them and literally put a spotlight on them, if you will, to show what opportunity exists with this great piece of canvas."

The corporation is waiting for the study from Ambiance on costs, although the observing citizenry certainly enjoyed the show.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.