Buffalo Boom Days or “Celebrating Spring in an Empty Grain Silo. As You Do.”

April 7, 2013


Spring has finally sprung in Buffalo!

Sure, as of Monday, the weather was all fifty-billion-degrees-below-zero and crazy-pants-blowing-snow. Which meant I froze my toes off at the Dyngus Day Parade despite the two pairs of socks I was wearing and the warming effects of Polish beer.

But, as of today, I haven’t seen snow for at least four days, you guys!


That’s got to be some kind of Buffalo record or something.

I was even able to pull out some of my non-boot shoes this week. I can’t tell you how excited I was about that.

I may start rocking the flats-with-no-socks look one of these days. At which point I will probably have to be sedated because I will be so excited.

I can NOT even wait for this to start happening.

Can NOT even wait for this to start happening.

It’s not just the weather and my wardrobe which have been showing signs of spring, though.

The local hotdog stand is open again for business. Which is a good thing because I’m pretty sure my life would have lost all meaning if I had to make it through another week without a footlong and some curly fries.

THIS you guys.

Hello, Meaning of Life. It’s nice to see you again.

Flowers have started to spring up on the farm.

Yes, that is a rooster in the background. It is a proven fact that roosters improve all flower photography.

Yes, that is a rooster in the background. It is a proven fact that roosters improve all flower photography by at least 100%.

And my parent’s laundry room has been taken over by an immense box of baby chicks.


Isn’t that how you tell whether or not it’s spring?

When a room in your house is overtaken by baby farm animals?

Because that’s pretty much how spring works around here.

It is also a proven fact that doing laundry is about 100 times more fun if there is a big box of baby chicks nearby.

It is also a proven fact that doing laundry is about 100 times more fun if there is a big box of baby chicks nearby.

To make things really official, this Saturday, Buffalo held its big spring kick-off event, Boom Days.

Boom Days is so named as it celebrates the lifting of the Niagara River Ice Boom – a series of large chains and steel beams strung across the mouth of the river that break up large chunks of ice to prevent the ice from entering the hydroelectric plant.


Isn’t that how people in your town tell whether or not it’s spring?

When the giant ice-breaking thingies are lifted from the river?

Because that’s pretty much how spring works around here.

Mind you, from what I could tell, the celebration did not involve the actual lifting of the boom.

When I first heard about the event, I was imagining all the people of Buffalo banding together to lift the boom out of the water or something like that. Which would have been pretty cool, I think. But probably would have required a lot more upper arm strength than I currently possess.

The party did involve a lot of empty, industrial grain silos, though. Which is probably about the next best thing to giant ice-breaking thingies.


It turns out that Buffalo just so happens to have a lot of empty, industrial grain silos around.

You see, back in the day, Buffalo was like the Grain Capital of the World due to its handy location next to the Erie Canal. Grain from farms in the Midwest would be shipped into Buffalo to be processed and then shipped off to other parts of the world.

While some of the silos are still in use today, most of them are empty.

Which means bad things for Buffalo’s economy, I suppose.

But good things for Buffalo’s partying.

Because, you guys, in case you’ve never hung out in an empty grain silo before, a silo can make a pretty awesome place to party.

Party Central right here.

Party Central RIGHT HERE.

It’s kind of like the ultimate party basement.

You know, how the coolest kid in school always had the coolest party basement — the kind of basement that was super huge and had a mini-fridge and not one but two foosball tables?

Well, the grain silos are even better than that basement.

Except the mini-fridge and foosball tables have been replaced with grain kilns.

Okay, maybe not as fun as a foosball table. But surprisingly pretty, no?

A grain kiln. Okay, maybe not as fun as a foosball table. But surprisingly pretty, no?

The acoustics were perfect for the live band that was performing.


And there was tons of funky wall art and cool graffiti all over the insides of the silos. You know, in case you’re the type of person who likes her parties arty.


You could even try your hand at making your own funky wall art.


There were also historic tours of the silos.

You know, in case you’re like me and you like your parties totally nerdy.

I learned all kinds of fascinating silo facts during the tour. Like how the grain actually gets into the silo. (Hint: There are elevators involved. Elevators! Who knew? And here all along I had imagined grain to be the healthy, stairs-taking type.)

One of the grain elevators. Or at least I think this was a grain elevator. I was having trouble keeping my silo facts straight.

One of the grain elevators. Or at least I think this was a grain elevator. I was having trouble keeping my silo facts straight.

And, of course, as with any good party, there was ready access to beer and boxed wine.

Get your beer & boxed win here!

Get your beer & boxed wine here!


Isn’t that how people in your town celebrate spring?

By getting sloshed in an empty grain silo?

Because that’s pretty much how spring works around here.

What’s your favorite way to celebrate the start of spring?



I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On April 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm Zandria said:

    Man, I reeeeaaaallly wanted to go to that! Looks like so much fun.
    Zandria recently posted..Spotlight on Buffalo, Ver. 10

    • On April 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm Sally said:

      It was super cool. Definitely one of the funkiest events I’ve ever attended. Definitely made me look forward to a summer of fun funky events!

  2. On April 7, 2013 at 10:30 pm Kristin of Be My Travel Muse said:

    That sounds like a way I’d like to celebrate spring. In California I don’t think we have a Spring — we have “it’s a little less cold than before but not as hot as it’s going to be so I’ll just keep wearing my flip flops”

    In Thailand it’s “well throw water on each other”

    • On April 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm Sally said:

      Ooo, yes, flip-flops! Cannot WAIT to start wearing those again. But, then again, that might mean I will actually need to do my nails. I guess I’ll just stick to flats-without-socks for a while.
      And, I have to say I was not a fan of the Thailand “throw water on each other” way of celebrating spring. When I was there for Songkran, I lived in this tiny little village near Chiang Rai & I was the only foreigner & my only means of transportation was a bike. Every time I left the house, I would have to deal with bands of local kids and their buckets screaming at each other to douse the foreigner. So not my idea of a good time.

  3. On April 8, 2013 at 1:43 am Priya said:

    Spring has sprung! Kind of. It’s still chilly here in Chicago but there’s no sign of snow! But word on the street is, it’s going to rain for like four days in a row. So I’m looking forward to that.
    Priya recently posted..Meeting Joel and Amy

    • On April 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm Sally said:

      Rain is better than snow by a billion! Of course, I may disagree with that statement later this week after non-stop rain, but for now I’m loving the spring showers.

  4. On April 8, 2013 at 3:04 am Aaron @ Aaron's Worldwide Adventures said:

    So last year I spent 2 weeks of February in Buffalo for work and I was kinda terrified. See, I’m a total cold weather wuss but I must have gotten lucky because until my last day there wasn’t a single snowflake on the ground! One of my local coworkers was like “There’s normally 7 feet of snow outside my door right now!”

    I have to say though, partying it up in a grain silo is pretty awesome though!
    Aaron @ Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures recently posted..Glacier Trekking: What It’s Like to Walk on Ice!

    • On April 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm Sally said:

      Yes, I’m still hearing legends of last year’s mild winter. I’m so jealous. Winter has not been kind to us this year. I was really hoping it would lay off as I’m not used to snow after almost 6 years in Asia… but nope!

  5. On April 8, 2013 at 10:13 am Carmel said:

    In Portland, at the first sign of sun, everyone puts their shorts and tshirts on and blinds each other (with super pale skin) by going out and sitting on a patio to drink beer. While not an official way to greet spring, it is a time-honored tradition.

    • On April 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm Sally said:

      Ha ha. This sounds great! The more you tell me about Portland, the more I think I really should move there. I definitely could blind a few people with my pale skin while drinking beer. I’d be the boss at that!

  6. On April 9, 2013 at 12:04 am Paul Farrugia said:

    Now that’s I want when I do my laundry! A box of chicks to keep me occupied. Can you send some over please as in suburban London cute chicks wondering in off the street is hard to come by!
    Paul Farrugia recently posted..Faces of Burma

    • On April 11, 2013 at 8:08 am Sally said:

      Actually, surprisingly, these chicks did come via mail order. So I wouldn’t be surprised if you can’t just order them in the mail. Although you may need to get a bigger mailbox.

  7. On April 9, 2013 at 5:31 am cosmoHallitan said:

    Love the grain silos! Do they have other events in them throughout the year? They look like a good place to store wine bottles.

    Growing up near DC, we always celebrated spring with the Cherry Blossom Festival. I tried to recreate that here at Shanghai’s recent festival of the same name, but as you can imagine, the two events were a little different.
    cosmoHallitan recently posted..Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

    • On April 11, 2013 at 8:07 am Sally said:

      They’re considering building a rock climbing gym in one of the silos which sounds super cool (and SCARY), so I think there will be more events in the future. There’s definitely a growing interest in turning them into something that’s actually used by the community.

  8. On April 9, 2013 at 12:24 pm Montecristo Travels (Sonja) said:

    That looks like fun! Spring is a way away yet for us. As in … another month. Think May 24 weekend. *sigh* but it’s nice to know it is on the way. Our crocuses are still far below ground. It can snow until the end of April so I think that’s smart of them really. I can’t blame the poor flowers for not wanting to have to deal with grumpy old man winters hard grip on the North.

    I have to say, I was very surprised at how pretty the grain silos are inside. That’s kinda special awesome. Thanks for sharing the unusual once again.
    Montecristo Travels (Sonja) recently posted..Dog Friendly Local Treasures: The Wakefield Spring – Wakefield – Quebec

  9. On April 11, 2013 at 7:11 am Naomi said:

    no Spring here, no Autumn or Winter either, just hot and hotter, and slightly cold with occasional rain. We do have a Sunshine Festival (I guess to celebrate the end of the winter rain, a measly 400mm per year) which is a bit of a joke given we get so much sunshine here we ought to have a Rain Festival to celebrate the rain instead.
    Naomi recently posted..March flies by

    • On April 11, 2013 at 7:45 am Sally said:

      After all the months of snow (and now rain — blergh!), I think I could deal with living in an area that has way too much sunshine. Yes, indeedy, that sounds great!

  10. On April 15, 2013 at 10:26 pm choi kum fook said:

    It seems to sound very nice in seasonal country during spring! I only came across in autumn and summer in cold cold country so far! Chinese always planning their whole year programe during spring. So I must try a trip to Buffalo next year in spring!I Hope my dream will come true!

  11. On June 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm Ceri said:

    I love the little traditions that occur in your town. 😀 I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s back in their hometown after living abroad and taking in the funny little things that are unique just to this place.
    Ceri recently posted..NY Bucket List: #1 – Visit Central Park

    • On June 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm Sally said:

      I love it! I really do think living abroad gives you a new perspective and appreciation of the quirky stuff you never noticed about your hometown.


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