Update: The week-long event for Canal Fest has officially been canceled. Click here for more details. 

One of the biggest annual events in Western New York has been canceled this year. 

Canal Fest is held in North Tonawanda, typically every year, though the pandemic gave the festival some challenges. This year, many Western New Yorkers were excited to hear that the week-long event would return as normal this July…especially since it was canceled last year. 

However, the Canal Fest website has not been updated with much information for 2023. 

The homepage says, “Canal Fest 2023, July 16th thru the 23th, Welcoming Back Our Canal Fest Parade!

As you scroll through the website, you will see this message: “You can expect a new look and feel to this year’s event.  Our campus layout will be changing with a new refreshing atmosphere.  More music, new foods, same good time! So, stay tuned for updates.”

Unfortunately, our update is not what we hoped: the Canal Fest parade for this year, which would have been their 40th, has been canceled.

After the Canal Fest parade was canceled in 2022, Rick Maier, the Canal Fest Vice President, posted the reasons on Facebook. 

He said, “Due to budget constraints and very low registration numbers, the 2022 Canal Fest Parade has been canceled.”

Although he promised to bring Canal Fest as we know it back this year, those budget constraints have proved problematic once again, and the Canal Fest planning team does not think it will be possible to make up the deficit by July. 

People asked what the budget constraints were, and VP Maier elaborated in the comments section last year, saying that “closing roads, police overtime and insurance” still costs money. 

You also have to think about the bands and people in the parade, too, which costs money. 

At this time, it looks like just the parade is being canceled, and the rest of Canal Fest will begin as scheduled on July 17. 

We will update you if there are any other changes to Canal Fest this year.  

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