Save your energy this weekend for Dyngus Day, the annual Polish celebration on the Monday after Easter - April 17 - that seems to get bigger each year.
If the last sentence left you scratching your head, read Mary Kunz Goldman's 100 Things feature on Dyngus Day's origin locally, why it's celebrated and some of the quirks.
The major news for 2017 is a return to the Buffalo Central Terminal, formerly the heart of the festivities before renovations pushed the celebration outside, as part of the unofficial Dyngus Day activities.
As usual, the official Dyngus Day schedule - facilitated by shuttles and the Pussy Willow Party Pass - offers an abundance of venues in which you can yell Na Zdrowie! (Hint: The "w" is not said like the "w" in "wet" or "walrus." More of a "v" sound, like "velvet" or "vaccinate.")
Commentary: The Central Terminal will throw its own Dyngus Day fundraiser separate from the Pussy Willow Party Tent, but the Terminal folks have lured the energetic-and-talented polka band Those Idiots from the tent to the indoor stage for an elaborate 7 p.m. show, while Potts Deli will offer beer and a smattering of authentic Polish food.
The Buffalo transportation landmark is a contender for a new train station, as architects hotly debate the best location.
2) Dyngus Day Parade, registration at 2 p.m. at intersection of Memorial and Paderewski drives; parade at 5 - departure site is from the Corpus Christi Church. It's free to watch.
Commentary: Polonia will glisten with red and white Monday evening, as a long line of floats will wind through the historic neighborhood. Six different prizes - including the challenging Russ Pawlak Award, which honors the float that best cherishes the past while representing hope for the future - will be awarded to the best among the 130+ participants. That's stiff competition.
3) Revel in the Pussy Willow Party Tent, 2 to 11 p.m. on the grass near Memorial Drive. The Pussy Willow Park Pass, which costs $10 and is available at Wegmans, several other local outlets as well as on-site, allows for $2 entry into the tent. Otherwise, admission is $10.
Commentary: Texas polka-rock band Brave Combo, winner of two Grammy Awards for Best Polka Album (1999, 2004), will be the star of the tent beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The party gets started much earlier, though, as the pussy willows and squirt guns will be brandished, Quality Sounds will perform at 3 p.m. and the tent area offers a strong vantage point to see the parade at 5. A line of food trucks nearby will keep hungry stomachs at bay.
4) Shuttle to other Dyngus Day parties, morning through 11 p.m., depending on venue. The Pussy Willow Park Pass ($10, discussed above) allows for either free or $2 entry into these restaurants, bars and social halls. With the pass, shuttle rides are free until they stop at midnight.
Commentary: One of the perks of purchasing a Pussy Willow Park Pass is the opportunity to explore several other official Dyngus Day venues for free or just $2 apiece.
Corpus Christi Church, Polish Villa 2, Babcia's Elks Club, Leonard Post VFW in Cheektowaga and more are on the list - check out the Dyngus Day guide to see details on each participating stop.
5) Celebrate in the Adam Mickiewicz Library, opens at 3 p.m. at 612 Fillmore Ave. Entry is $10 or $2 with proof of attending another event (say, the Pussy Willow Park Pass, or a ticket stub from Central Terminal).
Commentary: A few hours in Mickie's - which eventually erupts into a Polish dance party - lends partygoers a greater sense of history (there's an actual library upstairs) in one of Polonia's underappreciated gems.
The 25th anniversary of Mickie's first Dyngus Day celebration features a complimentary buffet, live music from True Colors and Hocus Polkas, and Polish beverages like Zywiec (beer) and Krupnik (a honey liqueur).
6) Go Grodziskie crazy with 12 Gates, 4 to 10 p.m. at 80 Earhardt Dr., Amherst. Free to attend.
Commentary: The Amherst craft brewery is brewing its own Dyngus Day beer - a Polish Grodziskie, which is made from smoked black wheat and carries a low alcohol-by-volume.
Community Beer Works and New York Beer Project will have their own versions of Grodziskie on hand, too. Ru's Pierogi Food Truck will be on hand to give the event even more ethnic flair, while Half a Heard will supply live music from 5 to 8 p.m.
7) Start early with the Broadway Market, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 999 Broadway. Free to attend, official party begins at noon.
Commentary: While the market employees might be running on fumes after a crazy Easter Week, the activity rumbles on through Dyngus Day, with the vaunted Buffalo's Best Kielbasa Contest and a three-hour performance by The Knewz Polka Band between 1 and 4.
[PHOTOS: Smiles at the Broadway Market during Easter Week 2017]
8) Val B.'s 28th annual party, 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. in Salvatore's Hospitality (6461 Transit Road, Depew). Tickets are $10 at the door, or $7.50 if you snag a coupon from Key Liquors (97 S. Rossler Ave.) or McKinley Liquors (3820 McKinley Pkwy., Blasdell).
Commentary: Live polka music all night, a cash bar and food are hallmarks of the party, which extends across two rooms and is headlined by West of the Mark, a popular cover band. A Pre-Dyngus Day party runs from 6 p.m. to late in the evening Sunday to whet palates for the Buffalo pseudo-holiday.
9) Be merry in the Millennium Hotel, 6 p.m. at 2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. No cost listed.
Commentary: Tackle Dyngus Day with an alt concert, as the hotel will host country performers 90 West and pop artists NyRockin Revue.
10) Extend the festivities at Gypsy Parlor, 7 p.m. to 4 p.m. at (376 Grant St.) and at DBGB, 3 p.m. to 4 a.m. at 253 Allen St. Free shuttle trip to and from the Pussy Willow Park Party Tent in Polonia, as well as to and from DBGB.
Commentary: Although most Dyngus Day celebrants can barely persevere to 8 or 9 p.m. before wanting to curl up with a cheese-stuffed pierogi, the after-party specialists at Gypsy and DBGB keep the Polish flavor going deep into the evening. Gypsy Parlor will offer free kielbasa beginning at 8 p.m., and Krupnik will flow throughout the evening.
DBGB touts Happy Davis & The Polka Chips, which is a cool name for a band, plus pierogi, pussy willows and squirt guns, the ingredients for an enjoyable Dyngus evening.