Festive return

Tonight’s the night.

Music on the Pier opens for a sixth season and will be followed Friday and Saturday as the annual Wreck & Roll Festival returns with more bands rocking the city of Dunkirk harbor.

Kicking off the Music on the Pier today at 6:30 p.m. is Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band. The Ohio-based group has performed in the city before and will follow this visit with a gig in Ohio that carries $10 and $25 ticket prices. At the city pier, admission is free for all events sponsored by the Dunkirk Festivals Committee.

On Friday, Wreck & Roll kicks off with the arrival of Buffalo’s fire boat, the Edward M. Cotter, followed by the firemen’s hose race which pits local fire companies against each other in a race against the clock. Providing musical entertainment from 6 to 9 p.m. on the pier will be local musicians Gina V and the Barncats.

Saturday’s Wreck & Roll events begin at 2 p.m. with an annual highlight, the Vikings of Chadwick Bay-Anything that Floats Race. Home-made water craft will follow a short course in the inner harbor in what usually proves to be an entertaining sight. From 2 to 6 p.m. there will be a free kids zone with bouncers and caricature artists. A chicken wing cookoff will run from 2 to 10 p.m. and if you’re of a mind to – and old enough – the Coors Light Beer Tent will be open from 2 to 11 p.m.

There will also be special appearances by Shredd and Ragan of 103.3 THE EDGE from 2 to 6 p.m. with Slick Tom of 97 ROCK taking over from 6 to 8 p.m.

All the while there will be live music on the pier as Three Degrees North plays at 2 p.m.; Recess is scheduled for 5 p.m. with Hot Rocks: The Rolling Stones Show, taking the stage at 8 p.m. The Toronto band played the Beach Bash last year and more information on the band is available at www.mickjagger.ca.

Mayor Anthony J. Dolce is the chairman of the Festivals Committee being run through the Dunkirk Local Development Corporation.

“We know these events don’t happen without our sponsors, and we thank our sponsors. We hope the public comes out and supports these events, supports the vendors and supports those sponsors that make the donations.”

Tim Gornikiewicz works in the city’s Development Department and has been involved with the festivals since their inception. Dolce called him a “much-appreciated city employee.” Dolce added the Festivals Committee has made things a little easier for Gornikiewicz and the other regulars who have been involved in the past.

“I think it’s lightened the burden a little,” Dolce said of the committee. “At first it was tough because there were more people involved in the decision-making process, but I think we’ve ironed out the initial confusion and I think the committee is working out pretty good.”

Gornikiewicz said the weekend festival is set.

“It’s pretty much the same as last year, no big changes. The only change that we do have is vendors on Saturdays will be cash only, no tickets,” he stated. “We felt, as a committee, it was just easier overall for everybody involved to have cash only.”

Gornikiewicz said chicken wing vendors could have added menus this year if they wished.

“We don’t think anyone’s going to come there with steak or prime rib dinners, but we kind of opened it up a little bit,” he explained. “Hopefully, the rain holds off. Obviously, it doesn’t look great right now but I don’t trust the weather forecasts until the day of, and even then I don’t trust it. I know last year it was rain early and then it was nice late.”

Gornikiewicz added the show will go on today rain or shine unless bad weather presents safety concerns.

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