Friday is Cinco de Mayo, and Buffalo is more than ready to celebrate the Mexican Army's victory over France in 1862 (or maybe just to take advantage of themed parties and drink margaritas).
Browse 15 events to choose from - with some focused on roaring street parties, authentic Mexican fare and solid suburban options. The weekend doesn't stop on Friday, of course, so we've got you covered for the rest of the days.
1) Kentucky Derby party at Toutant, 4 p.m. May 6 at 437 Ellicott St. Free to attend.
Commentary: The Kentucky Derby - one of the few times each year that anyone intentionally orders a mint julep. As you might expect, Toutant breaks out the Woodford Reserve, but also trumpets some of its most beloved comfort food items: the late-night grilled bologna sandwich, Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich and BBQ sandwiches.
The bar boasts a 100-inch projection TV for the race, and prizes will be awarded for Best Hat, Best Dressed Male and Best Dressed Female at race time. Here's the list of Kentucky Derby horses; the 10's favorite thoroughbred is Fast & Accurate, whose 50-1 odds suggest the horse is not particularly fast or accurate.
2) Kentucky Derby party at MTK (Elmwood), 4 p.m. May 6 at 451 Elmwood Ave. Free to attend.
Commentary: Although you might not be able to take advantage of MTK's sprawling patio, expect the relatively new bar-restaurant to attract customers with its race-day spread.
Specials include $5 drinks - Lucky Lemonades, Racing Raspberry Tea, bourbon peach tea and Triple Crown Collins & Mint Juleps - plus $12 for a dozen of bourbon-glazed wings, $9 loaded nachos and an $8 sausage with peppers and onions.
3) Kentucky Derby party at SoHo Burger Bar, 4 to 7 p.m. at 64 W. Chippewa St. Tickets are $40, includes three hours of open bar, and can be purchased at the venue.
Commentary: Although SoHo's Kentucky Derby event is the only one with a price for admission, it also has the most perks. Three hours of open bar - including mint juleps made from Woodford Reserve, as well as bellinis - plus unlimited food are the major draws of the event.
A portion of the proceeds benefit the Erie County Sheriff's Office's Mounted Reserves Unit, in memory of Joe Joseph.
Commentary: The Buffalo garage-rock trio has fans abuzz with the announcement of its first material in over a year, and Friday's gig upstairs in Waiting Room serves as a tune-up for Made Violent's tour with Philadelphia band Cheerleader. Sixties Future and Buffalo's Ugly Sun are the two openers for Friday's show.
Read Mac McGuire's preview in his "3 Can't Miss Show," where he dubs this a contender for "Local Show of the Year."
5) Hipster Dance Party, 9 p.m. May 6 at Milkie's on Elmwood (522 Elmwood Ave.). $5 cash at the door; event is 21+.
Commentary: The cliche is "you call a spade, a spade," and that applies with the hipster dance party. Hey, at least they proudly admit that it's hipster. Flannel is encouraged, Pabst Blue Ribbon cans will swigged and music from Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Daft Punk and other alleged "hipster" bands will be pumped through the speakers.
A slew of local musicians will take turns spinning tracks, while the proceeds from the event benefit Planned Parenthood.
Commentary: The staff at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda has taken great lengths to make the venue's 90th anniversary special. On the evening's schedule is a screening of "Upstage," the same movie aired opening night, Dec. 30, 1926.
Read The News' Toni Ruberto's story on the Riviera's hunt for the old film, plus more on tap - like the highlight reel through the theater's history - for the anniversary party.
7) Fairy and Gnome Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 6 in Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens (2655 South Park Ave.). Cost for the event is included in museum admission, which is $11 for adults, $10 for seniors, $9 for students and $6 for kids from 3-12 years old, paid for at the door.
Commentary: How could a gnome not bring a smile to your face? The wizened, often portly creatures who protect/adorn gardens and driveways are one of the two central themes, as well as fairies, at the Botanical Gardens' family-centered event on Saturday. Fairy-based arts and crafts, a scavenger hunt and a chance to judge fairy house submissions are also on the docket.
Anyone who wears a costume receives $1 off admission.
8) Check out Paracosm Arts, 7 to 11 p.m. May 5; 7 to 10 p.m. May 6 in the Barrel Factory (65 Vandalia St.). No cost is listed for Friday's art exhibition opening; a suggested donation of $10 is encouraged for Saturday's poetry and dance event.
Commentary: Friday night marks the first major event in the Barrel Factory's new arts space: the opening of a co-exhibition by Buffalo's Thomas Webb and Rochester's Sean Madden, entitled "Graphic Intercourse." The two artists will talk at 8 p.m. - there's a nice teaser interview with both at the Paracosm website - with acid-jazz trio FlashBamPow performing from 8:30 to 10.
Saturday's event, called "American Blasphemies," highlights the work of five spoken-word artists and four dancers - and where the two art forms intermingle. Read The News' Colin Dabkowski's introduction to Paracosm Arts here.
Commentary: Credit to the fundraisers for the AIDS Walk, as the goal of $90,000 has been eclipsed with a day in hand. The 5K walk around Delaware Park might not be the driest time of your life, but the solidarity in fighting against AIDS and HIV is worth donning a raincoat.
A free lunch awaits all participants following the walk, while all receive a t-shirt.
10) Night Nation Run, 5 to 10:30 p.m. May 6 at Buffalo's Outer Harbor (225 Fuhrmann Blvd.). Tickets range from $29.99 to $49.99 and can be purchased here. Race packet pickup is free between 4 and 8 p.m. May 5 at the Outer Harbor. Packet pickup on the day of the event costs an additional $5.
Commentary: The event premise mixes the live concert experience with fitness, and attendees bound around a course that takes them by several stages with electronic dance music DJs. The first heat of the run starts at 8 p.m. - partiers are encouraged to stay in any area as long as they like, so it's not a timed race. The after-party stage at the conclusion of the race will be headlined by a "surprise" DJ.
BONUS DERBY OPTION: Derby Day at Thin Man Brewery, 11 a.m. to midnight May 6 at 492 Elmwood Ave. Free to attend.
Commentary: Like Toutant, Thin Man trots out some terrific food options on race day: Nashville Hot Chicken and Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches. Unlike the other Derby event hosts, Thin Man entrusts Four Roses Bourbon for its mint juleps.
Note: The Boom Days Festival at Silo City Row has been canceled due to anticipated inclement weather.