Fall's arrival seems to be reason to imbibe, as many of Buffalo's events this weekend center around alcohol. (This isn't news, but there's some class to all of these happenings.)
A baseball stadium introduces you to craft beers from around the country, a distillery's new downtown location opens and Niagara Wine Trail thrives in its busiest season, just to name a few.
Let's get started with The 10:
Commentary: Consumer's Beverages and Coca-Cola Field partner in this annual outdoor craft-beer bash in the Bisons' friendly confines. The event is simple -- patrons walk to vendor stations in the ballpark and sample a huge assortment of beers. If you're a little wobbly as you approach home plate, then it'd be wise to call a friend or a cab (but you'd still probably beat Celery there). Below is the list of participating breweries and the varieties of beer they'll have on hand.
2) Lockhouse Distillery opening, 4 p.m. to midnight at 41 Columbia St. Free to attend, but you have to pay for drinks.
Commentary: Buffalo's first distillery since Prohibition has finally made its long-rumored move to the Cobblestone District, as Friday marks the first time Lockhouse will open its doors to the general public on Columbia Street. First thing's first: there's now a bar for you to drink at, and it's the first in the area to serve exclusively WNY-produced beer, cider, wine and spirits.
If you're a regular bar-goer in Buffalo, you've probably stumbled across the brand's vodka and gin, but relatively new is a limited release of barrel-aged gin. Live music featuring Marcos Udagawa begins at 8 p.m. Friday, while Malik Von Saint provides the entertainment Saturday.
3) Buffalo Humanities Festival, 8 p.m. Sept. 25 featuring author Jill Lepore in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 26. in the Burchfield Penney auditorium and Buffalo State College's Ketchum Hall. Tickets for Lepore's talk are $20, but $15 for students. Adult festival pass for all of the speakers Saturday runs for $15, while students can enjoy for $10. Online purchasing opportunities have passed, but tickets can be bought at the door.
Commentary: After reading (or in my case, writing) the last paragraph, it's clear there's a lot going on at the Buffalo Humanities Festival, which Colin Dabkowski previews here.
The hot topic of gender is at the forefront of the weekend's discussion, which is highlighted by the appearance of Harvard professor and New Yorker writer Jill Lepore, who authored "The Secret History of Wonder Woman." (Regardless of where Wonder Woman falls into your comic book character power rankings, it's undeniable that she has some terrific qualities.) Details into Saturday's speakers and multimedia mini-events can be found in the full event program.
4) Williamsville Oktoberfest, 3:30 to 10 p.m. Sept. 25, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 26 and noon until 8 p.m. Sunday on Main Street in Williamsville, between South Long and Island Park. Event is free except for events on the main stage after 5 p.m. Saturday.
Commentary: I half-jokingly drew attention to the part-creative, part-creepy promo video for the Williamsville Octoberfest, but the character of Wilhelm is starting to grow on me.
This digital leaflet -- hey, I didn't know what else to call it -- gives all the pertinent details for the festival. From a keg tapping to a farmers market to the crowning of Miss Williamsville to live music to a hoist-off competition to Bills-Dolphins on the big screen on Sunday evening, the festival has constant activity.
Commentary: Canadian rock bands may seem like they're here on a weekly basis -- and they probably are -- but they're cool, in my mind, for a few reasons: A) their fans are called "Trewbadours" B) their guitarist's first name is John-Angus and C) they've almost survived 20 years as a band.
6) Sleepy Hahas with The Tins, MA.G.S. and Deadwolf, 9:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in Nietzsche's (248 Allen St.). There's no price listed on the Facebook event page, but expect a cover ~$5.
Commentary: We trust buffaBLOG's Mac McGuire and his understanding of the local music scene, and he's recently profiled Sleepy Hahas (and interviewed Pat Butler), The Tins and M.A.G.S. -- and all three are on this particular bill! Consider this an opportunity to explore a nice cross-section of local music in a belovedly grungy Allentown haunt.
7) Black Rock Riverside Oktoberfest, 3 p.m. Sept. 26 to 1 a.m. Sept. 27, begins at Artisan Kitchens and Baths (200 Amherst St.). Free to attend, but you have to pay for drinks at the participating venues.
Commentary: The premise to this is simple, too -- head out to Artisan Kitchens and Baths in Black Rock for the ceremonial keg tapping, then take the shuttle buses to several other participating venues that you've probably never heard of, or at least not spent much time at. There's even one bar called The Unknown Club, which is about as anti-mainstream as you can get. The Skiffle Minstrels will provide music at the keg tapping.
8) Lewiston Harvest Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 26 and 27 along Center Street in Lewiston, including a collaboration with the Wildlife Festival.
Commentary: The Lewiston Peach Festival was met with rainy weather and a glut of mud, but this weekend should offer wondrous weather for the Harvest Festival, which is first and foremost an art party on the street, with roughly 115 artists expected to be present. It's the time of year for fresh cider, wine, mums, honey and more. Sounds sweet and sticky.
9) Niagara Wine Trail Harvest Festival, 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at several Niagara Wine Trail wineries. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased from any of the participating wineries.
Commentary: It's wine trail season to begin with, but this weekend there's an even better reason to gather your fermented grape enthusiast friends together for a jaunt to the north (if you just thought, "Wow, Ben has a career in wine tour public relations," then you get a cyber fist-pound.) Food pairings at all participating wineries -- see those here -- and a souvenir wine glass from your starting spot are the major perks.
Commentary: Congratulations to Artvoice for producing a quality free weekly for 25 years, and to celebrate, the newspaper will hold a party at a long-unused venue, an old denim-dying facility on South Park Avenue. DJs, immensely popular cover band Soul Patch, dancers and visual artists will perform throughout the evening. Read Jeff Miers' full preview here.