Busker Festival of street performers will be part of Ale in Autumn in Medina

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 19 September 2022 at 9:49 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Chris Busch, left, and Rob Robinson look at one of the T-shirts designed for the entertainers participating in the first ever Busker Festival in Medina, scheduled to coincide with Ale in Autumn this Saturday.

MEDINA – A tradition which dates back to the Medieval ages is about to make its debut in Medina.

A busker is a street performer who entertains crowds with their musical, unusual or comedic acts for tips in public areas. Busking has a long history dating back centuries when local merchants would invite buskers to their storefronts, plazas or public squares to attract new business.

On Saturday, Medina’s annual Ale in Autumn will be enhanced by 17 buskers throughout the downtown.

The idea was brought to the Orleans Renaissance Group before Covid by Rob Robinson, a local musician, said Chris Busch, president of ORG.

Robinson said he has buskered a lot, in places including Toronto and Olcott.

Once things got back to normal after Covid hit, the idea was brought up again. Robinson laid out a map of downtown and determined places where a busker could perform.

“We started reaching out to businesses and made 17 Xs on the potential spots on the map,” Busch said. “Buskers will be spread out throughout the downtown.”

The buskers will provide a variety of entertainment, including country, blues and gospel music, hula hoop girls and magicians. They will be on the streets from 1 to 6 p.m. and people are encouraged to visit downtown and tip the performers.

“It’s going to be fun,” Busch said. “It’s unusual and people will like it. It’s another first for Medina.”

Robinson said the only other time he knew of anything like this was in the early 2000s, when Middleport had buskers at their Labor Day celebration.

“I could just see its vision,” Robinson said. “It’s an old idea, but new in Medina. I see it becoming an annual thing. There are a lot of street performers in Western New York, but no actual buskers.”

The annual Ale in Autumn will be from 1 to 6 p.m., with time slots staggered at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to prevent congestion. Check-in is at the Medina Senior Center on West Avenue, said event coordinator Ann Fisher-Bale. Twenty-one local businesses have signed up to take part.

Beers and ciders have been ordered from around the world, Fisher-Bale said.