Appearing at Niagara Falls Comic Con was like coming home for Lance Henriksen.
The American actor, best known as the android Bishop in two films in the Alien franchise and the cult classics Pumpkinhead and Near Dark, recently spent several months in Toronto filming a movie and was eager to return north of the border.
He was also pleased the comic con was held in June as opposed to the dead of winter.
The crowd before her roars as Buttercup waddles onto the stage on this late Wednesday afternoon at Marineland’s King Waldorf’s Stadium. The centre of attention, the 900-kilogram walrus twists around and wags her flippers at her trainer’s call, sending people in the nearly packed bleachers clapping and cheering even louder for more.
Despite a protest that saw some 400 people gather outside its gates just days before, business at the embattled Niagara Falls tourist spot was booming, as sunscreen-covered children and their parents flocked toward amusement rides and marine attractions.
Perhaps more than any other free, outdoor concert series in Western New York, Hard Rock Rocks Old Falls Street is presented as a community event more than just a big concert with basic concessions.
Saturday night, the two blocks of Old Falls Street were filled with puppeteers, in-your-face mimes, vendors and even Hard Rock’s in-house Bulgarian breakdancing twins. There also was a crew from Niagara Arts and Cultural Center working the crowd to raffle a guitar donated by Generations Music and autographed by the headlining performers – veteran Canadian rockers Sloan. And, true to form of a tourism community, the guitar was won by a Californian.
What the streets lacked, however, was a huge crowd. The third installment of the six-week series saw a significant dip in attendance since classic rock retreads The Guess Who opened.
I did not know this, but apparently people/cities remember the last time Led Zeppelin played in their town. According to a press release I received,
On Sunday July 15, 1973 legendary rock and roll band Led Zeppelin performed in Buffalo, NY for the last time to a sold-out Buffalo Memorial Auditorium crowd, and this epic evening has remained a lasting memory for the thousands who were there in attendance …
“The Sound Remains the Same” is a cover/tribute band, and to commemorate the anniversary, they will be playing a concert on July 15 in Niagara Falls, NY, with a bunch of tickets available for $6, the same price as in 1973. If you are interested, click on the image below for more details.
Emerging out of a cloud of mist, Nik Wallenda ran the last few steps to become the first man in more than a century to cross Niagara Falls on a high wire and singlehandedly bring the Wallenda name back into the public consciousness.
Although the walk was mostly free of theatrics, thirty metres from the finish, he bent down on one knee. As spectators gasped, suspecting he had fallen, he raised a fist in triumph.
The crowd chanted his name as he cleared the last few meters to a raised lift, moving past the lights, cranes and news vans of what had become a multi-million dollar operation. “Welcome to Canada, Nik!” screamed a spectator.
Last week I posted some pictures from the CAA Winter Festival of Lights 2010-2011 Opening Ceremonies. I also took a very short video. You can see/hear a short clip from a couple of the performances. You can also get a sense of how big the crowd was. I would have taken a longer video and shown more, but I was holding my daughter and didn’t have a free hand 🙂
When Archie Katzman banged a gavel on the wooden table promptly at 10 a.m., it signalled to about 40 spectators the start of a new era for the Niagara Parks Commission.
The open era.
For the first time in its 124- year history, members of the public were allowed to watch commissioners in action. It was standing room only in a committee room at Oak Hall, prompting Katzman, the acting chairman who has been on the commission since 1971, to comment on how many people were interested enough to attend the first meeting.
“We did not expect to see this many people,” said Katzman, who has filled in as chairman since Jim Williams resigned in December.
Commissioners are “encouraged” by the interest in the goings-on at the commission, which is responsible for preserving, promoting and enhancing the area around Horseshoe Falls and the land along the Niagara River, he added.
To accommodate the crowd, the meeting was moved from the boardroom at the Portage Road office to a larger committee room. Staff put out wooden folding chairs -the kind that are comfortable for about an hour – as a visitors gallery.