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Amidst the warmth, does it feel like Christmas?

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

As record-setting warmth continues in Buffalo, we asked people walking along Canalside: given the weather, does it still feel like Christmas?

The downtown Buffalo attraction is decorated for the Christmas season with wooden cutouts of characters including snowmen and animals. But nearby was the Canalside skating rink, which was empty of customers but not lacking in standing water over sections of ice. The rink was closed on Wednesday due to inclement weather. It was simply too warm for ice, just two days before Christmas.

Feelings were mixed when WBFO posed this question: Does it feel like Christmas?

"It's nice to have once in a while. It's not a traditional Christmas, so it doesn't feel like Christmas but people are festive," said Barbara Williams, who was walking with Pam Shannon on the boardwalk at Canalside. 

"I think people are festive because of last winter," added Shannon. "And we're thoroughly enjoying the warm weather, not having to scrape our car off, brush our car off, shovel all the snow."

Other, though, say Christmas in Buffalo just isn't the same without some snow on the ground.

"I would like some snow for the Holidays, especially for the children. They really would enjoy it," said Mary from Buffalo, who recalled living through some of Buffalo's worst snow events including the legendary Blizzard of '77. "It doesn't feel like Christmas, but you still have to have the spirit within you."

Jim Bauer was enjoying the mild weather along the boardwalk as he brought his family downtown for their first glance at the redeveloped waterfront. 

"It's still going to feel like Christmas on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve with family," Bauer said. "My wife would tell you no, she wants the white stuff here. I would do anything to have the white stuff for her on Christmas but it's only been a couple times since we've been here. It'll still feel like Christmas, though."

For some Buffalo natives back in town for the Holidays, the warm weather presents some irony. Jen was among those looking forward to some snow.

"I brought my puppy out to play in some snow," she said. "I came all the way out from Los Angeles. It's 60 degrees out here! It's warmer out here than in L.A."

Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO
The only seasonal event still on as scheduled Wednesday at Canalside was a visit from Santa Claus, who was due to sit in the oversized Adirondack chair in the late afternoon hours to meet with guests.

With no prospects of playing in the snow, Jen told WBFO she'll instead spend time during her visit catching up with all the changes downtown.

While skating and curling were off at Canalside, there was one event still on schedule Wednesday. Santa Claus was still set to greet visitors in late afternoon hours.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.