It will be hard to miss the pungent scent of frying chicken wings this weekend in downtown Buffalo. Heck, 30 tons of wings -- that's 60,000 pounds! -- have been delivered by truck to Buffalo's Coca-Cola Field for Wing Fest, which runs Saturday and Sunday.
If you're a local TV watcher, you've probably already seen "Wing King" Drew Cerza, the festival's founder, gallivanting around with his chicken wing hat on. If you haven't here he is, again.
Let's get to The 10, where I will inevitably write more about Wing Fest because people in Buffalo tend to like wings.
1 ) Wing Fest, noon to 9 p.m. Sept. 5, noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at Coca-Cola Field (275 Washington St.). Entrance costs $5, and admission is free for children 8 and under.
Commentary: There are more festival perks than what I can fit in this little snippet, but note that the experience is in the flavors, not the chicken, as each of the 30 vendors uses the same wings. So, pay more attention to the sauces and the creativity, and maybe leave your comfort zone a bit. Competitive eating legend Joey "Jaws" Chestnut will reportedly be on hand Sunday to participate in the chicken wing competition -- he set a world record last year after missing 2013 -- and he'll have a chip on his shoulder after losing the Coney Island hot-dog eating crown this summer. If you don't care about paid gluttony, then here's a handy list of festival vendors.
2 ) Allentown First Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 4 in Allentown. As usual, this is free to attend.
Commentary: Small neighborhood galleries thrive during Allentown First Fridays, and this week is particularly notable, as Colin Dabkowski highlights three separate exhibitions: Michael Mulley's at 64 College St., Gerald Mead's curated "Unclad" at Studio Hart and Joseph Scheer's moth scans at Indigo Art.
3 ) MNM Presents' Patio Party, 6 p.m. to midnight on Sept. 6 at Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). It's free to attend.
Commentary: MNM Presents' Summer Beach series leaves the sand for the 2015 finale, instead choosing RiverWorks as Sunday's party spot. Performing DJs include Swagglerock, Eyes Everywhere, Brother Bear and Jolly Wailer. If you've never been to RiverWorks, there's a seemingly never-ending stretch of patio space (including a nice elevated deck, too) and several bars from which to snag a beer. Plus, you won't have to wash annoying grains of sand off your feet.
4 ) South Buffalo Irish Feis, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 5 in Cazenovia Park. Free to attend.
Commentary: While not exclusive to the Irish in Buffalo, it's noteworthy to see the South Buffalo community hold more authentic versions of other Buffalo events that tend to span more of Western New York (think the Delaware Avenue St. Patrick's Day parade vs. the Old First Ward parade the day prior). I'm not saying that's a bad thing.
While the Irish Festival was held at RiverWorks last weekend, the South Buffalo Feis invades Caz Park with a broad lineup of musicians, performances by local Irish dance schools and end-of-festival fireworks on Saturday. Here's the entertainment schedule.
5 ) Steve-O, 7:30 and 10 p.m. performances Sept. 4, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Sept. 5 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6, at Helium Comedy Club (30 Mississippi St.). Tickets range between $25 and $35 and can be purchased here.
Commentary: The Instagram photo below might take a little explaining, I get it. "Jackass" star Steve-O picked up a handful of charges recently over his anti-SeaWorld exploits, which were off-limits in his interview with Mark Ciemcioch for legal reasons. But, to continue his resistance, the actor-comedian hung out with a few members of One Direction, before their Orchard Park show, to pose with an inflated orca. (If you're not up on your celebrities-tackle-social-issues fodder, 1D has been outspoken in urging fans to boycott SeaWorld, too.)
Commentary: Now in its third year as pre-game entertainment for the University at Buffalo football team, the Tailgate Concert Series invites another country-heavy lineup to Stampede Square. At noon before the Bulls' season opener against Albany (which begins at 3:30 p.m.; read Mark Gaughan's preview), duo Thompson Square will take the stage; listen below to one of the songs for which they're best known.
Commentary: The only thing better than one night of Luke Bryan is
Carrie Underwood two nights of Luke Bryan. The 39-year-old from Georgia will go back-to-back, and this time, he won't have to compete with One Direction. (Could Bryan take the four 1D-ers in a cage match? Undoubtedly. Is that even a question?) His "Strip It Down" drew more than 3.5 million views in less than two months. You can add to that below.
8 ) Buffalo German Festival, noon to 10 p.m. Sept. 5 and 6, Cheektowaga Town Park (2600 Harlem Road., Cheektowaga). Tickets are $4 pre-sale, and you can print this voucher to make sure you don't have to pay the full day-of cost.
Commentary: Since I don't really understand much German, the language on the event page -- run by the Federation of the German American Societies of Buffalo -- suggests this weekend's two-day party will be authentic. Two of the best German party bands from Buffalo -- The Auslanders (Saturday) and the Frankfurters (Sunday), who annually star at WaldFest -- are on the bill, and there's a sauerkraut eating contest (which I want nothing to do with. Sorry.)
9 ) Taste of Niagara Falls, noon to 10 p.m. Sept. 5 and 6, at 101 Old Falls St. Free to attend, and food tickets are available in increments of one dollar.
Commentary: Thanks to the Niagara Gazette, we have fresh information on the Taste of Niagara Falls. Here's a quote from festival organizer Corey McGowan, who names several vendors: "...long-time local favorites such as Fortuna’s, Viola’s, Buzzy’s and Scipione’s are already on board along with newer area restaurants such as La Galera, Carmine’s, Rainforest Cafe, Soliday’s and more." Sounds scrumptious!
10 ) The Biggest Loser RunWalk, 8 a.m. Sept. 6 at Canalside (44 Prime St.) Tickets for the half-marathon ($99) and the 5k ($45) can be purchased at race registration, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin St.)
Commentary: If you're a "Biggest Loser" fan, Dan and Jackie Evans from the show's first season will show their support in Buffalo, and several perks accompany registration (branded t-shirts, medals, drawstring backpacks and more). The 5K bends along the waterfront, while the half-marathon course goes up and down Delaware Avenue.
Email Ben Tsujimoto, who only knows how to pronounce "feis" because of S.J. Velasquez, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Story topics: Allentown First Fridays/ cheektowaga/ Cheektowaga Town Park/ chicken wings/ country concerts/ country music/ Darien Lake/ Drew Cerza/ German Festival/ Helium Comedy Club/ Jackass/ Luke Bryan/ MNM Presents/ niagara falls/ Steve-O/ Taste of Niagara Falls/ The Biggest Loser/ Thompson Square/ UB Tailgate Concert Series/ Wing Fest