Something’s baking somewhere. But where is that amazing aroma coming from? Ah, here it is: Duke’s Donuts. The sign says it all: “Fresh. Hot. Homemade.” A perfect way to start a summer day at Gentner’s Commission Market – or what’s always been known to locals in southern Erie County as the Springville Auction.
Held every Wednesday – rain or shine – since 1939, the Springville Auction is part farmers’ market, part flea market, part live animal auction (yep, you can bid on your very own pet goat or Thanksgiving turkey) and a very generous helping of old-fashioned day in town for the region’s vital agricultural community. Amish farmers and members of the Seneca Nation from the nearby Cattaraugus Reservation mingle with shoppers from far and near looking for fresh produce, a homemade pie, or a deal on dishes, tools or tires. It’s a general store and happy rural melting pot that has kept them coming back for more than 75 years. Located on Main Street in the heart of Springville (just a 35-minute drive from downtown Buffalo), this is a Wednesday-only affair that starts in the early morning and runs throughout the day.
When you’re done with the action at the auction, stop by the Springville Center for the Arts at 37 North Buffalo Street to take in a photography exhibit in the beautifully restored gallery space or a play or concert in the nave of the former Baptist Church. While still a work-in-progress, the restoration of this red brick Gothic Revival building is an inspirational story of a community coming together to preserve its heritage and historic architecture while creating a vibrant home for arts and culture. A schedule of its programs, events and exhibits can be found here. You should also make a point to stroll across the street to charming Fiddler’s Green Park (circa 1818!) and its impressive Civil War monument. It’s as lovely a village green as you’ll find anywhere.
The Center for the Arts has also played a role in reviving Springville’s Main Street, with the restoration of a nearby abandoned building that became the home of Art’s Café, a not-for-profit coffee house, performance space and home for artists-in-residence. Complete with a rooftop garden where they grow their own herbs and other edibles, the new café has become an anchor for an already appealing strip of retail shops, restaurants and small businesses.
“The arts have always been a critical component of a thriving, vibrant community,” says Seth Wochensky, Executive Director of the Center for the Arts. “With the activity generated at our main building and the Art’s Cafe, we see the Arts Center as a key piece of making this community a living rural center that’s appealing to visitors. Being able to attend a theater production, participate in a workshop or simply stroll into a beautiful exhibit space gives one more level of interest to our downtown.”