Commentary: The Buffalo Zoo opens its doors for an evening of food trucks, live music and Buffalo-themed craft vendors. The Tommy Z Band, The Alison Pipitone Band and Keith James are the trio of performers slated to entertain, while the full list of 26 food trucks can be found here.
Look back at the Smiles gallery from last year's BuffaLoveFest for a taste of what to expect.
2) Totally Buffalo Festival, noon to 9 p.m. May 27 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Admission is $5 at the door, while children 5 years old and younger get in for free.
Commentary: The inaugural year of the Totally Buffalo Festival unites 85 Buffalo vendors inside cavernous Buffalo RiverWorks. Locally produced beer from Hamburg, Resurgence, Ellicottville, Big Ditch and Flying Bison, plus wine from Vizcarra, Arrowhead and Leonard Oakes, will quench thirsts, while carefully curated food - like Eckl's roast beef on weck, Salumeria Belsito's stuffed peppers and Imperial Pizza - represents the city's tastes.
A photo booth, Silent Disco and a variety of games - including Buffalo creation First-N-Ten - will be offered on the second floor, free with admission. Live music will run all day, capped by the Scott Celani Band at 7:45 p.m.
3) Flow Fest, noon May 27 until 1:30 a.m. May 28 at Woodlawn Beach Tiki Bar (3580 Lake Shore Road, Blasdell). Admission is $15 at the door.
Commentary: Reggae-funk five-piece Funktional Flow invades Woodlawn for an all-day music festival on the beach. The Buffalo-based headliner will play two sets - from 8:30 p.m. to midnight, altogether - with Space Junk taking the baton for the late-night leg. The gig is dependent on the weather, so keep an eye on the Facebook event page for updates.
Not convinced? Here's a line from The News' Jeff Miers in 2014: "If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, I recommend you grab the chance to catch Buffalo’s Funktional Flow in concert. Over the past two years, I’ve been lucky enough to watch this group develop into one of the most exciting improv-based rock bands out there."
Commentary: After a whopping 16 years without releasing a record, Bell Biv DeVoe emerged from the shadows with "Three Stripes" in January 2017, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard.com's Top Hip-Hop and R&B Albums list the following month.
The trio - Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe - heads to Niagara Falls with Guy, En Vogue (who closed the Canalside Thursday series in 2015) and SVW on Saturday night.
5) Crazy Jake's Summer Kickoff, 9:30 p.m. May 26 until 1:30 a.m. May 27 at 26 Webster St., North Tonawanda. Free to attend.
Commentary: The popular North Tonawanda bar, blessed with a sizable outdoor space, will begin its summer festivities Friday night with show band Nerds Gone Wild playing New Wave and some of their classics. The characters of The Vid-Man, Shamus, Gilbert, Milton and Eugene will channel their inner and outer geek in typical fun-loving, quirky fashion.
6) Waterfront Carnival, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 27 and 28; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 29 at Buffalo Outer Harbor (225 Fuhrmann Blvd.). Tickets are $20 apiece.
Commentary: Formerly the Boardwalk Carnival at Canalside, the event has shifted to the Outer Harbor this year for a three-day festival boasting more than 16 rides, kids activities, food, a beer tent, live music and more.
All-day ride specials run for $20 apiece, while fireworks will add color to the night at 9 Sunday. Balloon art, face painting are free with a festival wristband. Look back at the Smiles gallery from the Boardwalk Carnival last year.
7) Volunteer, support friends at the Buffalo Marathon, race begins at 6:30 a.m. May 28, post-race party, in Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin St.), begins after racers finish, although beer is not served until 9 a.m. See the map of the full and half marathon here if you're looking for a spectating point.
Commentary: Buffalo Marathon race coordinators are still accepting volunteers for Saturday's 5K and Sunday's full and half marathons - you can find details here. The race route encompasses the vast majority of the city, which means there's ample traffic to direct and runners to protect.
For spectators, the race begins and ends very close to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, in which the post-race party celebrates and refuels those who endured the race. Look through the Smiles gallery from last year's Buffalo Marathon to see the expressions of relief, joy and exhaustion.
8) Paddle Fest, registration begins at 9:30 a.m., the paddles at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 27 at Sunset Bay and Cabana Sam's (1028 South Shore Dr., Irving). Paddle boards and kayaks are for available to rent for $25 on the day of the event. A suggested donation of $5 to SUP Erie Adventures, which has offered free paddle days for youth, is encouraged.
Commentary: Whether you're in for the competition - a five-mile course - or the social paddle (just 2.5 miles), head to Sunset Bay on Saturday with your kayak, paddle board or canoe (or rent one there) to spend some time on the water. Life vests are mandatory.
Participants in the race receive a $5 coupon for food and $3.50 drink specials, while a happy hour from 2 to 4 p.m. permits two-for-one drinks.
9) MNM Sunset Sundays, 8:30 p.m. May 28 to 1 a.m. May 29 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Free to attend.
Commentary: The first of MNM Presents' Sunday night summer series starts on Memorial Day Weekend, when RiverWorks will host DJs Brandon Chase, Owski, Drop D and Ryan Lidell for the first of five monthly events through early September. It's free of charge to attend, and both the outdoor and indoor areas will be open for attendees. Find the remaining dates at the Facebook event here.
Commentary: If you're a regular visitor to the Allen Street-Medical Campus subway station downtown, you may have been startled by a colorful piece of public art during your stop.
The News' Colin Dabkowski delves into Shasti O'Leary Soudant's "Gut Flora," which is a not-particularly-appetizing name for a truly eye-catching piece of work. The shape and colors reflect the excitement and progress at the nearby Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, which includes the sizable University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
BONUS No. 1: Taste of Lewiston, noon to 8 p.m. May 27 on Center Street, between 4th and 5th streets, in Lewiston. Individual food tickets are $1 apiece.
Commentary: Six wineries and 21 food vendors, such as the Spicey Pickle, Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen, Brickyard Pub and Water Street Landing, will set up shop outdoors on Saturday. Read The News' Anne Neville's description of the event here.
BONUS No. 2: Clarence Bark in the Park, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 27 in Clarence Town Park (10405 Main St., Clarence). Donation of $5 per person or $10 per family includes a goodie bag from participating vendors.
Commentary: Dogs take center stage in Clarence on Saturday, where a Doxie Derby, dock jumping, an agility demo, off-leash play and a sheep-herding demo are unusual, compelling activities taking place in the town park.
Dozens of local pet-focused vendors will be on hand, too, including cleverly named Notorious DOG. A list of contests and demonstrations can be found here.
BONUS No. 3: Jiu Jitsu Tournament, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 27 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Admission is $5, which supports the non-profit Vector Jiu Jitsu.
Commentary: Both RiverWorks rinks will be taken over by martial arts events: a Jiu Jitsu tournament at one and a Can-Am Judo tournament on the other. Kids, adults and masters have been separated into divisions, which you can see here.