MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The community is back together this week in Buffalo. It’s a town that’s seen a lot this year, showing their strength after a mass shooting, and surviving the pandemic.
Buffalo Days is going strong at Sturges Park along Lake Buffalo, featuring rides, games and food. It’s especially exciting given the recent past residents have had to live through.
A carnival kicked off Thursday night and people began showing up Friday even before it opened at noon.
The Chamber of Commerce, who puts it on, had to pause the annual Buffalo Days last year, and say they were thrilled the tradition could continue this year.
Records show the celebration going back at least 74 years. It started as a harvest festival, but always had a parade, the games and food and more fun was added later.
The chamber president told WCCO the community really needed this after last year’s cancellation.
“I think the public felt a loss, you know, and then we had what happened in February. It’s been a long, tragic kind of year for a lot of people, so not just the pandemic but that too,” Sue Olmscheid said. “I think that adds on to how much more the community wants to rally together and come to something like this and show their sense of community.”
The businesses in Buffalo are feeling the excitement of being back together, as well.
The community has kept What’s the Scoop dishing up ice cream, moving to online orders and curbside pick-up until customers could return in person.
“We have 40 different flavors on hand,” What’s the Scoop’s Brady Elsenpeter said. “The best part about that is we’re able to see the smile on their faces and see the kids and the enjoyment of having ice cream.”
Buffalo Books and Coffee remodeled while they were shut down, and figured out a model to continue getting beans and books to customers. Now, employee Bobbi Jimenez says it’s “like a party every day. People are coming out of the woodwork to come back to visit us.”
Buffalo Floral felt the weight of keeping people employed and delivering smiles. During a year where occasions for flowers like weddings were down, owner Patty Speckel said customers kept them busy, ordering for loved ones people couldn’t see in person.
“The whole reason we survived is because of our community,” Speckel said. “Flowers talk. Flowers are communication. Flowers say ‘I love you.’ Flowers say, ‘I’m sorry.’ Flowers say, ‘You’re going to get through this.’ Flowers say everything you can’t say in words.”
People have already started to line up their chairs in anticipation of Saturday’s parade. It’s another tradition to claim your spot early, so you have a good seat for the parade.
The carnival continues into the night Friday, with fireworks over the lake at 10 p.m.