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MAY CALENDAR
FIRST SUNDAY'S GUIDE TO AN EXCELLENT MONTH

Sunday

1 This year's Decorators' Show House opens its doors to visitors this weekend. Located at 100 Lincoln Parkway, the "Century House" underwent a spectacular transformation by area decorators, craftsmen and landscapers. The public can view the former single-family dwelling daily except Mondays until May 22. The Show House is sponsored by the Junior League of Buffalo and The Buffalo News. The last Show House in 2003 raised more than $460,000, to build a new Haven House. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door, and are available at the Junior League headquarters at 45 Elmwood Ave. Call 884-8865 or log on to www.jlbuffalo.org.

Tuesday

3 Graycliff Estate, Frank Lloyd Wright's other local masterpiece, has already begun its tour season. Docent-led tours of the Derby estate are offered daily except Monday throughout the summer. Then there are the specialty tours. Architectural tours are given at 1:15 p.m. Saturdays until November. The twilight summer tours on selected Friday evenings (the first is July 8) highlight Graycliff's scenic location on the Lake Erie shore. Summer in the Country tours feature brunch at the Roycroft Inn in East Aurora, an old-fashioned trolley ride to Graycliff and an insider's tour of the building (they begin June 19). There are also Penn Dixie/

Graycliff Rocks tours (beginning July 14) that let kids hunt fossils at the Penn Dixie site in Hamburg and return to Graycliff to spot the fossils Wright deliberately left visible in the mansion's walls. Preregister for all tours. Call 947-9217 or visit www.graycliff.bfn.org.

Friday

6 Thomas the Tank Engine, a real train converted to a popular children's book character, visits the Medina Railroad Museum in Orleans County for two weekends, today through May 8 and May 13 to 15. "Day Out With Thomas" includes an imagination station, children's games, a video-viewing and storytelling area, photo opportunities and guest appearances by Sir Topham Hatt, railway chairman. All take place in and around the museum at 530 West Ave., Medina (about 45 minutes from downtown Buffalo). The event runs 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day. Half-hour train rides start at 9 a.m. and continue every 45 minutes until 5:15 p.m. Ride tickets are going fast, especially for weekends, but some walk-on tickets are available. The museum itself, the largest railroad and toy train museum in New York State, features a 192-foot operating train layout and more than 6,000 railroad artifacts. Call (585) 798-6106 or log on to www.railroadmuseum.net.

* The Niagara Regional Theatre Guild presents the ever-popular musical "Nunsense" at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda. Shows are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday until May 21, with 3 p.m. Sunday matinees May 8 (special price for all moms) and 15. 692-2413.

Saturday

7 Here's the perfect Mother's Day gift (Mother's Day is, like, the next day, May 8). Let the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens guide you through the steps to a stunning May Day basket featuring fresh spring flowers from their reserves. It's $8 per child in the domed building at 2655 South Park Ave., and includes all materials; the expertise and encouragement from Gardens staff is free. Call 827-1584, Ext. 291, to register. Gardens staff are asking for paid registration two weeks before class, so call soon or beg for an extension.

* Premier Gourmet continues to push the limits of food retail when LeeRon Zydeco performs noon to 3 p.m. in the store at 3465 Delaware Ave. in Kenmore. Join LeeRon and his band, the Hot Tamales, for a free food-tasting party featuring "A Bite of the Bayou," LeeRon's line of Cajun New Orleans gourmet specialties. 877-3574.

Tuesday

Shea's Performing Arts Center continues its line of big hits with "Chicago," the sexy, brassy tale of love and crime and Bob Fosse-style choreography that was a Broadway and Hollywood smash. There are eight performances in the beautiful landmark theater at 646 Main St. today to May 15. Call 852-5000 for tickets or log on to www.sheas.org for details.

Sunday

15 The Grand Island Historical Society holds its open house 2 to 4 p.m. at River Lea, the Victorian house in Beaver Island State Park that serves as the society's headquarters. Costumed docents will share history, give tours of the building and serve refreshments. Free and open to the public. Call 773-5025.

* Artist Phil Burke, whose work appears in national magazines as well as on the opposite page, gives a painting demonstration 6 to 9 p.m. today and May 16 at Wyland Galleries located in the Niagara Fallsview Casino, Niagara Falls, Ont. Burke will sign paintings and discuss his work. Call 856-7597 or (905) 354-7474

Saturday

21 The Buffalo & Erie County Central Library presents the intriguing Frederick Busch discussing an equally intriguing topic. Busch talks on "How to Read a Novel." He explores novel-writing from the author's perspective and how to understand the goals of a literary novel. First Sunday should require all its writers to attend. It's 1 p.m. in the West Room of the downtown library. Free and open to the public. 858-7181.

Sunday

22 The Parkside Community Association holds its popular tour of homes 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It's a friendly, fun way to get an inside look at the architecturally distinguished homes in the neighborhood. And the Darwin D. Martin House, anchoring all architectural offspring, will be open for abbreviated tours for all with tickets. They're $15, $13 in advance and $11 for members. Visit the PCA office at 2318 Main St., or call 838-1240. Tickets, maps and assistance will be available at the start of the tour, the Church of Good Shepherd, corner of Jewett Parkway and Summit Avenue. The event is held rain or shine.

* Find a great quilt and help a noble cause by attending "A Celebration of Hope," a quilt auction hosted by the Eden Quilt Guild at the Eden Junior-Senior High School. Proceeds benefit cancer research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Doors open 11 a.m. with a 1 p.m. live auction. Preview the quilts 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 21. Call 337-2605 or 947-5756.

June

Friday

3 Lockport's Kenan Center in Lockport gears up for its biggest event of the year, the 100 Craftsmen Festival, held on the beautiful Kenan Center grounds on Beattie Avenue. The contemporary craft art festival features original works in numerous media from June 3 to 5. There's craft-browsing, live jazz, a children's artspace and an herbal plant sale (June 4). Call 433-2517 or log on to

www.kenancenter.org.

* The Irish Classical Theatre Company presents "Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris," the caberet-style musical of touching and bittersweet songs performed by four actors. Shows continue Thursday to Sunday until June 26 at the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. Call 853-4282.

First Sunday struggles with its impresario instincts when compiling its Guide to an Excellent Month. Send events six weeks in advance of our publication date to: First Sunday, c/o The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240. Events with the widest or in some cases most intriguing appeal will be selected. Remember, information is subject to change.

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