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Oktoberfest returns to Buffalo's Central Terminal


Where does authentic German beer and food and Buffalo history meet? Oktoberfest returns to the Central Terminal Saturday night. The event will feature the 10-person band Those Idiots and beer and food from Potts Catering. Central Terminal Restoration Corporation board member John Jiloty said it’s the first Oktoberfest at the terminal in several years.

“I think a lot of people remember Oktoberfest when it was at its height at the terminal. So I think it kind of has that instant recognition and awareness from people who used to come to the event when it was here. We’re very hopeful that this will be a great event and bring a lot of people into the terminal, but we’re looking forward to seeing how it comes together,” Jiloty said.

Guests won’t only have German beer, food and music to look forward to. They’ll also see a number of changes to the historic landmark. Jiloty said the concourse has undergone several cosmetic improvements.

But even bigger changes may be in the works. Jiloty said his organization has seen some of the initial plans Ontario-based developer Harry Stinson has come up with for a $100 million redevelopment of the terminal.       

“We’re excited,” Jiloty said. “What we’ve seen so far has been great. Obviously, plans are not final yet and a lot of stuff is still up in the air in terms of how things would look and feel with the terminal and with the 59 Memorial Project as well, which he’s working on with the City. We’re excited to see what he comes up with. This is kind of the latest step in our ongoing efforts to renovate but also look for a long-term solution.”

The 59 Memorial Drive Project Jiloty referred to is another one of Stinson’s plans. It includes $100 million to build a 400-unit residential complex at a mostly-vacant site that was once part of the terminal.

Jiloty said proceeds from every terminal event help fund restoration of the site. He thinks the historic site will continue to draw in more visitors.

The terminal recently hosted a jazz event that draw a large crowd.

“We’re looking forward to doing more Terminal Jazz events, maybe some more music events, maybe some of the other large events that we’ve had there, we’re looking to try to bring back next year once April kicks in. We really got a lot of momentum this year and [are] really thankful for our volunteers and our sponsors, and to have 30-some events this year in the terminal compared to five or six the year before is pretty amazing for us. We’re proud of that and excited about that momentum, and looking forward to doing more,” he said.

Tickets for Oktoberfest at the Terminal are $10 and can be purchased at the door or online. The event is open to people over the age of 21 and parking is free.

After the Oktoberfest event, the terminal will host a Halloween and Monster Festival on Oct. 8. There is also a series of paranormal candlelight tours throughout the month of October.

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