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10 great beer tents of summer

Here is a new kind of bucket list.

This bucket has ice. And it’s full of bottles. It is designed to carry you through the summer on a cool, refreshing tide – celebrating culture, tradition and togetherness.

So raise your glass – or mug or stein – to the 10 great beer tents of summer.

Here is an entertainment that goes back to the beginning of time – family and friends, neighbors and strangers gathered in a group or, in some cases, packed in tight. A beer tent is a time-out from the outside world. It creates a special feeling of companionship.

Go annually to a particular beer tent, and you’ll be awash in memories of summers past. Even a new beer tent feels, somehow, familiar, with the pyramids of cups and cans and the laughing, shouting and bellowing. Bottle or draft? Blue or light? If only life were always this simple.

Enough philosophizing. A pitcher is worth a thousand words.

Mark your calendars and chill out.

1. Queen of Heaven Carnival

Electricity is in the air when, like comets, Taste of Buffalo and Queen of Heaven Carnival collide. Queen of Heaven, the legendary West Seneca lawn fete, takes place July 8-10. Enjoy live music – the Boneshakers, Jeremy Hoyle and the Strictly Hip, Hit ‘n Run and more. – and your basic Coors Lite and Molson Canadien. Queen of Heaven is at 4220 Seneca St. Free. Visit qofhcarnival.com.

2. Taste of Buffalo

Got to have something with which to wash down those tastes! Niagara East Beer Tent is open 12:30-11 p.m. July 9 and noon-6:30 p.m. July 10. There’s live music by the Doyle Brothers, Hit ’n Run and many more. And the cool beer provides refreshment and rest from the tumult that surrounds you. Free. tasteofbuffalo.com.

3. Williamsville Old Home Days

Williamsville is home not only to chic salons and cutesy gift shops but to such hallowed watering holes as the Creekbend and the Eagle House. Toast that spirit in the Old Home Days beer tent, which in raucousness, can give any Buffalo beer tent a run for its money. Free. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. July 12-15, Island Park. Speaking of homey, you get information from Ed Young’s Hardware by visiting edyoungs.com/ohd/index.html.

4. Galbani Italian Heritage Festival

OK, what we have in mind is a lively wine tent, wine being the Italian party beverage of choice. Drink responsibly. Remember the saying “Beer before wine, you’ll be fine; wine before beer, beware.” Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. July 14-17 on Hertel Avenue between Delaware and Colvin avenues. Free. buffaloitalianfestival.com.

5. Waldfest

This kegger in the woods is one big beer tent, complete with Lederhosen. Think of it: 5,000 people, you among them, gathering to toast Gemutlichkeit, which is being with the right people at the right time doing the right thing i.e., drinking beer and listening to the German-American Musicians and the Auslanders. Waldfest takes place noon-8 p..m. July 17, rain or shine, at Spring Garden Park, 3838 Two Rod Road, Marilla. $8 in advance, $15 at the gate. 310-6600.

6. Canal Fest

Oh, the E-RI-E was a risin’, And the drink was a gettin’ low! The drink will not be gettin’ low in this legendary beer tent filled with firefighters, hard-partying Tonawandans and North Tonawandans, Elks, Knights of Columbus and you. Canal Fest happens July 17-24 along the Erie Canal in Tonawanda and North Tonawanda. Free. canalfest.org.

7. Erie County Fair

To some, the fair means summer is winding down. Drown your sorrows at its legendary beer tent. Founded during the Monroe administration – there is a factoid to bring up over a beer – the fair takes place at the Hamburg Fairgrounds, as has been the case since 1868. Fair admission varies. For info, visit ecfair.org.

8. Eden Corn Festival

“Had my chicken and corn. Now beers,” someone wrote on the Eden Corn Festival Beer Tent’s Facebook page. We find it hard to add to that other than by saying Eden means paradise, and the folks at this festival have had 53 years to see that their beer tent lives up to that name. The website gives great directions but no address, but it does say to park by the ShurFine Food Mart Aug. 4–7. Visit edencornfest.com.

9. The South Buffalo Irish Festival

One of the bands performing is called Barleyjuice. Need we say more? And need we any more excuse to go and hoist a pint? The festival is free and takes place Sept. 3 11 a.m.-11 p.m. at Cazenovia Park, 25 Cazenovia St. 838-1249. For info, visit southbuffaloirishfestival.com.

10. The Buffalo German Fest

The beer tent – technically a beer shelter – could remind you of the Munich Hofbrauhaus. There will be tables of revelers, plus not only beer but food and wine, plus music by the Bergholz Blaskapelle (Gesundheit!) and other groups like the Frankfurters and the Auslanders. Sept. 3-4, Cheektowaga Town Park, 2600 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga. There is a small admission charge. Visit BuffaloGerman.com or call 674-1539.

email: mkunz@buffnews.com