The foundation of the Fourth of July holiday obviously harkens back to 1776, when the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain through Thomas Jefferson's
fine penmanship monumental document.
Unless you're roughly 240 years old, it's impossible to recreate the exhilaration, stemming from freedom from oppression, that our forefathers experienced, but we do our best to reenact the celebration with the same vigor each year. Plus, in Buffalo, it's proven that our fireworks celebrations are the best because they erupt over water and grain elevators!
Patriotic rambling aside, let's get to The 10:
Commentary: The country music festival in Varysburg is a summer highlight for many because it's a getaway; attendees jump at the chance to camp out for three days while enjoying a solid variety of music acts and a generous helping of food and beverages. See the lineup of performers here.
2) The Houghs, of Dancing with the Stars fame, perform "Move," 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Seneca Niagara Events Center (310 4th St., Niagara Falls). Tickets start at $55 and can be purchased here.
Commentary: If you're a fan of DWTS -- I am not an avid watcher, I'll admit -- you're likely familiar with five-time winner Derek Hough and two-time champ turned judge Julianne Hough, siblings that stumbled into some really, really good genes. Tickets aren't cheap to see the dancers perform on Independence Day Weekend, but they're premier entertainers. (Also, did you know Julianne Hough dated Ryan Seacrest?)
3) Fourth of July Celebration at Canalside, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. Free of charge. Russ Salvatore presents the fireworks at 10 p.m.
Commentary: According to Mark Sommer's News article, Canalside expects to welcome between 20,000 and 30,000 people to the waterfront for holiday activities on Saturday. Most of these fireworks extravaganzas across the area are family-friendly, but Canalside is one of the few that schedules a slew of kid-focused activities, which run from noon to 6 p.m. Chuck Alaimo's photo in the header must get you at least a little fired up for fireworks.
4) UB North fireworks, 7 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Baird Point at the University at Buffalo North Campus, Amherst. Free to attend.
Commentary: There are only so many clever ways to introduce fireworks -- I've so far accomplished zero -- but Baird Point will likely trump Canalside in terms of fireworks attendance. Honestly, it just comes down to location and preference. I won't try to tell you which one is better.
5) Find your closest fireworks, towns across Western New York. Almost all are free, except for the $7 gate fee to get into Woodlawn Beach State Park and the $35 to see the choreographed display in Ellicottville with the BPO.
Commentary: One of the fireworks displays left off the list -- Lyndonville's July 4 spectacular -- has a slightly bigger budget for 2015, and they're going all out. There's an obvious charm to watching fireworks over water, but watching them explode over an endless landscape of farmland isn't too bad either.
6) MNM Presents Beach Party, 2 to 11 p.m. Sunday at Woodlawn Beach Tiki Bar (3580 Lakeshore Road, Blasdell). Free to attend, although the gate admission to get into Woodlawn Beach is $7.
Commentary: Six DJs fill roughly nine hours of music, as Independence Day Weekend winds down Sunday at Woodlawn Beach Tiki Bar. Bonfires, light displays and the tiki bar are the main draws -- it's a chance to relax on the beach and maybe dance a little bit before the work week returns.
7) "Terminator: Genisys," theaters around Western New York (see Fandango link). Prices vary by theater.
Commentary: This week's Gusto cover story featured Jeff Simon's review of "Terminator: Genisys," as well as Toni Ruberto's neat breakdown of the rest of the "Terminator" series. If you have an Arnold-shaped void in your life, we have plenty of content to fill it.8) "Magic Mike XXL," theaters around Western New York (see Fandango link). Prices vary by theater.
Commentary: You'll probably be shocked -- maybe as pleasantly surprised as the cast looks, below -- when you see what Christopher Schobert rated "Magic Mike XXL." Maybe he secretly really likes Channing Tatum? His phrase "cinematic insanity" is brilliant.
Commentary: Shark Girl has been a waterfront attraction for nearly a year; despite her sharp teeth and presumed neck problems (it can't be ideal to constantly stare straight up), she's turned out to be more clever and quirky than dangerous predator. She's featured this week in the first edition of the Summer Life Top 100, a prestigious place if you ask us (and Colin Dabkowski, who, rumor has it, campaigned aggressively for this placement.)
But the Buffalo Brewers Series is even newer and frankly more refreshing; the well-designed cans are limited edition and definitely a collector's item. Don't forget there's locally brewed beer inside, too.
Commentary: How could you go wrong with minor league baseball, fireworks ignited over downtown and the swansong for BPO Pops guest conductor Paul Ferington? If you can't make the Bisons' bash on Friday, there are plenty of other chances to catch the BPO and the baseball team.
Email Ben Tsujimoto, who promises to never see "Magic Mike" in his lifetime, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Story topics: Buffalo Brewers Series/ canalside/ country music/ Derek Hough/ Fireworks/ Fourth of July/ Jam in the Valley/ Julianne Hough/ Magic Mike XXL/ MNM Presents/ Seneca Niagara Events Center/ shark girl/ Terminator: Genisys/ Varysburg/ Woodlawn Beach