Two prevailing questions remain about this weekend, at least in my (fairly bizarre) mind.
A) Is the weather going to be nightmarish again?
B) Why are there so many Octoberfest celebrations in September?
The answers to both are fairly simple: For A, the Saturday forecast has rain for much of the region, especially as the day progresses. Sunday is supposed to be cool and dry, though, which are supposedly great conditions for loud noises.
For B, the official Octoberfest website (it's in German, so you know it's official) explains that the festival has been moved up to insure warmer evenings for the celebration -- it's no fun when your stein shatters due to frigid temperatures -- as well as to extend the festivities (if you've seen the movie "Octoberfest," you probably understand).
Considering our region is known for its wildly unpredictable October weather, September Octoberfests make sense, even though it sounds weird.
Finally! On to The 10:
Commentary: The first Octoberfest takes us to the Cobblestone District, where Iron Works will host a party both outdoors and indoors, which gives them an edge over the weather. The music lineup is elite as far as local German festivals go: Buffalo's Big German Band, Die Auslanders, the Alphorns and the Schuhplatter Dancers will all perform, the highlighted beer will be Hofbräukeller München and traditional German food will be available from Lagerhaus 95. Official performance schedule below:
1:00pm: Doors Open
2:00pm - 4:10pm: Buffalo's BIG German Band
4:10pm - 4:30pm: Alphorns
4:30pm - 5:30pm: Buffalo's BIG German Band
5:30pm - 5:50pm: Alphorns
5:50pm - 6:45pm: Buffalo's BIG German Band
7:00pm: Keg Tapping Ceremony (Buffalo’s BIG German Band Plays & SGTV Edelweiss Dancers Support Keg Tapping Ceremony)
7:30pm - 7:00pm: SGTV Edelweiss Dancers
8:00pm - 9:00pm: Die Auslanders
9:00pm - 9:15pm: SGTV Edelweiss Dancers
9:15pm - 10:15pm: Die Auslanders
10:15pm - 10:30pm: SGTV Edelweiss Dancers
10:30pm - 11:30pm: Die Auslander
2) Resurgence Brewing Company's Octoberfest, noon to midnight Sept. 19 at the brewery (1250 Niagara St.) Free to attend, but you have to buy your beer and food.
Commentary: The West Side brewery is taking its Octoberfest celebration seriously, offering an Octoberfest beer, WNY Octoberfest beer, made with all local ingredients, as well as HOPtoberfest, which will assuage craft-beer drinkers who aren't yet ready to delve into dark beers. For further information on the beers available, read Resurgence's recent blogs.
Since you'll inevitably get hungry, Ru's Pierogi will be on site from 1 p.m. until they sell out, while Resurgence will roast a full pig and offer a limited menu from its kitchen. There's even a stein-hoisting competition, which I anticipate will be cutthroat.
3) Oinktoberfest, 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 18; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 19; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Great Pumpkin Farm (11199 Main St., Clarence). Friday night is free, admission on Saturday and Sunday is $7. See the schedule of events here.
Commentary: Did you know that Oinktoberfest welcomes the longest-running barbecue competition in New York state? Saturday's competition is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and draws competitors from all over Western New York, with categories ranging from chicken to pork ribs to brisket to the whole hog. This is serious barbecue business. Sunday's contest is not KCBS sanctioned, but there is an "outdoor cooking contest" for many barbecue specialists, and an Oink Rib-Off at 2:30 p.m.
4) Bubblefest, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 19 at Buffalo Museum of Science (1020 Humboldt Pkwy.). For admission to the event only, tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for children ages 2 to 17 and $9 for seniors. For event admission plus a Bubblemania performance the price rises to $13 for adults, $11 for children ages 2 to 17 and $12 for seniors.
*Bubblefest is included with regular admission to the museum on Saturday, and free for Buffalo Museum of Science members. Bubblemania performances by Doug Rougeux (a UB graduate!) are scheduled for 11 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., 2:30 and 3:30.
Commentary: It's hard not to have a fond view of bubbles, regardless of whether you're a child or an adult. They remind you of bubble baths, bubble gum and The Bubble Guy at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Allen Street. Saturday, four floors of the Museum of Science will be occupied with bubble-related activities -- geared towards children -- including life-size bubbles (don't get trapped!). Read more about Rougeux's Bubblemania performance (he went to clown school!).
5) Silo City Tapped: Again, 3 to 11 p.m. Sept. 19 at Silo City (100 Silo City Row). $5 entry, tickets purchased on site.
Commentary: With City of Night moved to the Old First Ward this year, few summer extravaganzas have been hosted at Silo City. Saturday night, though, a five-band bill -- headlined by the Alison Pipitone Band -- as well as a trio of Buffalo festival musts: beer, wine and food trucks -- will post up near the grain elevators. Curious about your surroundings? Take a free silo tour while you're there. [Check out photos from last year's event for a taste.]
6) Elmwood Village 20-Block Bash, 5 to 10 p.m. Sept. 19 on Elmwood Avenue between W. Utica and Hodge. Free to attend, plenty of vendors on hand.
Commentary: This end-of-summer celebration hearkens back to the original 20 blocks that made up the Elmwood Village, recognizing the history of the bustling commercial area. The street party will boast neighborhood vendors like Mythos, Newbury Street, Monaco by Ashker's, and Erbert and Gerbert's, as well as cool guests like Abyssinia Ethiopian (in West Side Bazaar), Colombiana WNY and Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs food truck. A cornhole tournament and putt-putt are also draws.
Commentary: North Carolina folk rockers drop by Lewiston for what feels like an annual visit. Though alliterative brothers Seth and Scott have not released a full-length album since 2013's "Magpie and the Dandelion," a new album with producer Rick Rubin is tentatively planned for late 2015 or early 2016. It's likely that, if Saturday is anything like the band's show last week in St. Louis, you'll hear new Avett Brothers tracks.
8) Hamburg Brewing Company Anniversary, noon to 10 p.m. Sept. 19 at the brewery (6553 Boston State Road, Hamburg.)
Commentary: The Hamburg brewery's second anniversary is celebrated by the Second Anniversary Ale, and there will be a pig roast ($10) as well as a half-dozen oysters ($10) and a half-dozen clams ($5) for the food (but, if you're feeling thrifty, just go hard on the complimentary appetizers). Note that the outdoor bar is cash only, and no flights will be available. BUT, here are the beer offerings, and remember, Hamburg has an absolutely killer patio.
9) Curtain Up! theater quiz, anytime, anywhere you want
Commentary: After Shea's, the rest of Buffalo's theater scene can be a little overwhelming. There are a LOT of local theaters, many of which branch off in various directions of subject matter. How do you pick? Colin Dabkowski published an interactive quiz -- predicated on your answers to amusing pop culture questions -- to help match you with a fitting local theater. Give it a whirl below, and then see the Curtain Up! schedule.
10) Buffalo Bills tailgate, 8 a.m. Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium Commentary: It's been a wild week of preparation for Sunday's Bills vs. Patriots game, which is undoubtedly the top event of this weekend. We've seen anti-Brady digital billboards on the 190, ESPN SportsCenter anchors coming to town, Delta Sonic inflating tires for free, the usual jabs in the press between players and, perhaps most crazily, the one fan who organized a GoFundMe that resulted in over $9,000 raised to fly in the Guinness Book of World Records to determine if the Ralph is louder than any other NFL stadium. I'm almost positive I'm missing something from this list, too. (It's too bad Wegmans skipped the "DeflateCakes" this time around.) Heck, last weekend, The News' Tim O'Shei penned this feature on Scott Kemper, the musician who originally wrote and performed the famous Bills "Shout" song, so you should read that, too.
I freaking love Buffalo pic.twitter.com/G8F0aWhha3
— Kristin Sullivan (@kristnsullivan) September 18, 2015
Email Ben Tsujimoto, who's unnerved by a blood-curdling howl coming from The News' elevators, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Story topics: Avett Brothers/ BBQ competitions/ Bills Mafia/ Bubblefest/ Buffalo Iron Works/ Buffalo Museum of Science/ Curtain Up!/ German festivals/ Great Pumpkin Farm/ Hamburg Brewing/ Hamburg Brewing Company/ Museum of Science/ Octoberfest/ Oinktoberfest/ resurgence/ Resurgence Brewing/ Silo City/ Silo City Tapped/ theater