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Third Eye Blind to headline ESG opening ceremonies

Local organizers for this summer's Empire State Games continue to bring the Games back with a bang. 

The local organizing committee has announced that Third Eye Blind, best known for the single "Semi-Charmed Life," will headline the July 21 ceremonies at the University at Buffalo (see The Games' release here).

The Games, which were canceled last year, had had big-name opening acts for its opening ceremonies in the past. Ray Charles performed in 1993, which were the first Games for Rochester (as well as this reporter).

However, in the last decade or so, it was more likely to see a notable athlete or coach giving a speech during a toned-down opening ceremonies which focused on athletes -- and were less expensive to put together. I can't remember the last time a well-known national act has been part of the Games.

I've always liked even the scaled-down opening ceremonies, because there was always that Olympic-type feel -- the athletes march in, a ceremonial torch is run into the stadium and a large cauldron is lit.

But this year's ceremonies at UB Stadium are definitely not scaled down. Among other details announced by the local committee:

* Local Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops will lead the athletes.

* There will be a military flyover and color guard.

* An original music score will be performed.

* A fireworks display will cap off the evening concert.

* Time Warner Cable, one of the major sponsors of this year's Games, will broadcast opening ceremonies live. 

* Prior to the ceremonies, an "Empire Family Village" adjacent to UB Stadium will feature athletic competitions, live entertainment and foods from local Buffalo restaurants. The village will be open from 3:30-6:30 p.m. and is free to the public. Ryan Miller's Steadfast Foundation will bring MYESPN and the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres will feature sport challenges for all ages.

Opening ceremonies tickets are on sale now at and all Ticketmaster locations. Presale tickets purchased on or before July 8 are $10 for adults and $5 for children between five and nine years old. Children under five years old are free. Regular sale ticket prices after July 8 are $20 for adults and $10 for children.

"Because of the generosity of First Niagara, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York and all of our partner sponsors we are able to bring to life an amazing opening ceremonies celebration never seen before in Buffalo for the Games," Ralph Galanti, chairman of the local organizing committee, said in a release. "We have lowered the ticket prices to encourage everyone in Western New York and throughout the state to join us and help us congratulate today's great athletes who will become the stars of the future. This truly is something that shouldn't be missed."

---Keith McShea


Empire State Games
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN |