There’s little doubt that Allentown, Buffalo’s comfortably gritty and historically artist-friendly neighborhood, is in the first phase of a radical transformation. As the shadow of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus extends farther over Allen Street and rents rise accordingly, scraggly venues and quirky ventures like College Street Gallery and Rust Belt Books are closing down or decamping for browner pastures.
But even as the bohemian enclave slowly gives itself over to the craft-beer-focused demands of the new Buffalo, at least one neighborhood tradition isn’t going away anytime soon: The Allentown Art Festival, now in its 58th year, will transform Allentown and its environs into a seething mass of humanity in search of the perfect bedazzled lawn sprinkler or landscape photograph to hang over the couch. Or the perfect, sugar-dusted piece of fried dough.
This year, the festival will feature more than 400 exhibitors from across the United States selling everything from ceramic bowls that look like grapefruits to retro illustrations in the style of classic propaganda posters.
The festival runs along Delaware Avenue from North Street to West Tupper Street, along Allen Street from Elmwood Avenue to Franklin Street and in a rectangular loop on Franklin Street from Allen Street to Virginia Street and west along Virginia Street to Delaware Avenue. It runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. More information is at allentownartfestival.com.
The concurrent Allen West Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from Elmwood Avenue to Wadsworth Street. Visit allentown.org for more info.