Commentary: Sixteen breweries, six wineries and five distilleries, and maybe more, will congregate in RiverWorks on Saturday for a festival to celebrate the melting of the ice rinks in the venue and the pulling of the ice boom in the Buffalo River.
Kurt & the Loders will provide the live music, while Sabres-Panthers will be televised on the 25-foot TV screen. Look back at last year's Smiles gallery from Thawfest.
2) Buffalo Bisons opening weekend, 1:05 p.m. April 8, then a doubleheader - 12:35 p.m. and following - on April 9 in Coca-Cola Field (275 Washington St.). Tickets vary in price and can be purchased here.
Commentary: The suspense has grown for the first pitch of the Buffalo Bisons season, which has been delayed two days due to the weather. Fortunately, the weather Saturday and Sunday should be splendid, and new manager Bobby Meacham can finally make his debut in the dugout.
Commentary: Hop from station to station in Statler City to cross items off your bucket list. Walk the red carpet with WGRZ's Stephanie Barnes, have your fortune told, experience virtual reality, take part in a game show, learn how to be a brewmaster and much more.
Enjoy an open bar through the duration of the event, too. Browse Smiles at the 2016 Bucket List Bash for a deeper look.
Commentary: The Ultimate Fighting Championship, king of the mixed martial arts world, rolls to Buffalo after two decades of absence due to New York State law. It will be a long night of fights - two preliminary cards (6 and 8 p.m.) set the stage for the main card, which begins at 10 p.m. and closes with the headline fight: Anthony "Rumble" Johnson vs. Daniel "DC" Cormier.
Read The Buffalo News' Tim Graham's profile of a UFC debutante inspired by an Islamic warlord, then check out Bucky Gleason's chronicling of major personality Dana White's career. CBS Sports' 10 Things to Know post about UFC 210 is also worth a gander.
Commentary: This Rotary Club of Buffalo event raises money for the group distribute small grants to local non-profits; the wine, beer and food-focused party will take place in the elegant Mary Seaton Room inside Kleinhans. A basket auction and 50-50 split are planned, too. Check out the event page to see what organizations benefited from donations raised at the 2016 event.
Commentary: Three-piece Buffalo band The Traditional - fronted by Anthony Musior - will officially release its album, "The Queen of Heaven," on Saturday in the more-intimate area of Waiting Room.
Support will come from Super American, Younger Then, Cooler, Southpaw and Michael Brady of American Low.
7) Kidabaloo, two sessions - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. April 8 in Hamburg Fairgrounds (5600 McKinley Pkwy., Hamburg). Tickets are $8 individual or $25 for a four-pack in advance here, or $10 at the door with a four-pack for $35.
Commentary: In terms of "fun-to-say" event names, Kidabaloo is practically Kerfuffle's younger sibling. The Fairgrounds host a major Easter-themed party, with a giant Easter egg hunt, bounce houses, free pictures with the Easter Bunny and appearances from princesses, superheroes, storybook characters and much more.
8) IPA Your Face Off, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 8 in Resurgence Brewing Company (1250 Niagara St.). Free to attend.
Commentary: Resurgence will have 10 India pale ales for bargoers to try as part of the West Side brewery's in-house competition. Four Northeast-style IPAs and four West Coast-style versions will be tapped, plus two cask ales.
Hopheads will appreciate the subtle differences between IPA styles (and among the styles, too), and noting the pros and cons of all the entrants is part of the fun.
9) M&T First Friday, featuring Shantell Martin, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. April 7 in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Ave.). Free to attend, although some smaller events may require admission.
Commentary: Artist Shantell Martin's tools may be simple - her works are exclusively black ink on white objects, but her ability to construct narratives through images has hastened her route to stardom.
Her exhibition, "Someday We Can," is on display now at the Albright-Knox, and the major free event at First Friday is a discussion between AKAG curator Aaron Ott and Martin. The evening's Art of Drink features Bootleg Bucha, which will have various flavors of kombucha to sample.
10) Ten Cent Howl, Leroy Townes, Uncle Ben's Remedy, The Hawkeyes, 8 p.m. in Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.). Tickets are $5 at the door.
Commentary: An Americana-bluegrass lineup you'd typically see at Black Rock's Sportsmen's Tavern swings downtown for a stop at Mohawk Place. The Hawkeyes, a Pittsburgh rock 'n' roll-Americana group, is the only band traveling in from out of town, while the other three perform regularly at bars, music venues and events.
BONUS: Buffalo Breweries Conquer Coles, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. April 8 in Coles (1104 Elmwood Ave.). Free to attend.
Commentary: Thirty-two different locally brewed beers will be available at Coles on Saturday, with 12 Gates, 42 North, Big Ditch, Blackbird, Community Beer Works, Flying Bison, New York Beer Project and Thin Man all offering at least two of their products.
Standouts, from our perspective, include CBW's Local, Local, Local Session IPA, the exclusive Big Ditch Lock Porter and Thin Man's Bliss.