1) Cobblestone Live!, 2 p.m. until late July 15 and 16 on main Cobblestone District stage, plus performances in Buffalo Iron Works and Lockhouse Distillery. A one-day pass is $25, while admission for both days can be purchased for $45. All ticket details here.
Commentary: It's exciting when a brand-new event finally arrives, especially when it's an indie music festival that spans two days in a blossoming section of downtown. Striving to become Buffalo's version of Lollapalooza might sound overly ambitious, but Kerfuffle aside, there simply aren't many all-day music festivals downtown.
Aqueous and Moon Taxi are two of the bigger names for Saturday, but Folkfaces, Lazlo Hollyfeld and Radarada are other names that jump out.
For Sunday, Real Estate should be popular at the main stage, while Vin DeRosa, The Tins and Aircraft might sway you to spend the day in Iron Works. Peruse the entire schedule here.
2) Galbani Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 13 through 16 at Buffalo's Outer Harbor (325 Fuhrmann Blvd.). Cost is $5 general admission, $2 for seniors. Children 12 and under get in for free. [Update: The start of the Italian Festival has been delayed to 5 p.m. July 13.]
Commentary: While Cobblestone Live! debuts, the Italian Festival dives away from Hertel Avenue to post up at the Outer Harbor for the first time, and you won't be able to waltz in for free. Should that mean expectations can be higher in regard to the experience? Probably, but the first year will undoubtedly be a transition.
The quirks of the festival can be pretty cool: Italian Idol and Miss Italian Festival competitions, street dancing, a Sicilian puppet show and grape stomping might all stop you in your tracks, and the carnival-esque atmosphere makes it a worthy trip for families.
Despite the location change, there will be plenty of fried ravioli, cannoli, beer and the other comfort food treats treasured during the festival's Hertel run.
Commentary: One of the beauties of Waldfest is that it rarely changes - it's an annual German-themed party in the woods, features traditional bands the Auslanders and the German-American Musicians, and flows liberally with beer.
4) Hamburg BurgerFest, 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. July 15 at intersection of Main and Buffalo streets, plus Village of Hamburg Municipal's parking lot. Event is free to attend, while food tickets run for 50 cents apiece.
Commentary: Given the relative dearth of hamburgers available at BurgerFest the last couple years, the event has evolved into more of a Taste of Hamburg than anything else. That's not a bad thing, but don't go in expecting to be drowned in hamburger options from every participating business.
A decent lineup of food vendors still graces the village, however, as Winfield's Pub, Babcia's Pierogi, Coyote Cafe, Lomo Lomo, Cheesecake Guy and Cruisin' Crepes will all have a presence.
For entertainment, area staples Terry Buchwald, Widow Maker and Hit N' Run will play the main stage, located close to the Labatt Blue Beer Tent.
5) Insane Inflatable 5K, waves fun from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. July 15 in Knox Farm State Park (437 Buffalo Road, East Aurora). Cost is $65 for general admission or $100 for an all-access pass. Further details here.
Commentary: These touring events can turn anything into a friendly competition that makes you forget you're actually exercising. Don't think of this as a timed race - it's more of an air-filled adventure with obstacles like giant bouncing balls, bubble walls to navigate, the awkward mattress section and a conclusion that weaves several of these obstacles together.
Browse through the Smiles gallery from 2016 for an idea of the barriers and some of the people who attended the event.
6) Canal Fest of the Tonawandas, noon to 11 p.m. July 16 - festival runs through July 23 - Niagara and Young streets in Tonawanda, Webster and Sweeney streets in North Tonawanda. Free to attend.
Commentary: Regardless which side of the canal you celebrate on, there's plenty of time to experience the annual Canal Fest, which rolls an impressive eight days. Souvlaki and pierogi are popular food choices, while live music is sprinkled throughout the week - that lineup is here.
Highlights Sunday are Chalk-It-Up, a street art contest, as well as a visit paid by a vintage fire truck. Read more about what's special this year from The News' Nancy Fischer.
Commentary: It's been a solid summer for country music: Zac Brown Band and Florida-Georgia Line drew giant crowds to Darien Lake, Toby Keith rocked a balmy Jam in the Valley, and WYRK's Taste of Country thrived due to pleasant weather, too.
Next on the docket is Stapleton, a late arrival to country-music stardom. The Kentucky-born artist released his second studio album, "From a Room: Volume 1," in May 2017; it sold 202,000 copies in its first week, the most in the genre since Luke Bryan's "Kill the Lights" in 2015, according to a Billboard post.
8) 716 Day, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 16 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Admission is free.
Commentary: From the BuffaLoveFest to the Human BuffaLove No. 4 to Sunday's 716 Day, events predicated on civic pride are more frequent than ever.
RiverWorks will trumpet the work of several local artists and craftspersons, draw attention to the new on-site brewery and beer garden, and encourage kayak and Hydrobike rentals. The rock climbing wall will be in use, too.
Commentary: If you've been planning a trip to Olean to check out Four Mile Brewing, Saturday afternoon's event lends a chance to try the brewery's beer and also do some further exploring.
While the vast majority of the Buffalo-based breweries will have a presence, other intriguing participants include FarmHouse, Windy Brew, Swiftwater, Stoneyard and Prison City. Beer brawts were be available for purchase, should hunger strike.
Commentary: RiverWorks will host the all-white attire fashion show, an event courtesy of Mr. D Wilson, who also hosts the Presidential All-Black Affair in the fall [Smiles gallery from the event here]. For Friday's festivities, music will be supplied by WBLK's DJ Big Rob and patio beats from DJ Eurowe will complement a night of sharp dress and a buzzing after-party.
Commentary: A bona fide family event rolls Sunday with the Bisons, as Princess Day is yet another popular promotion. I've always had a tough time deciding between Jasmine and Pocahontas for my favorite Disney princess, but I'm sure you'll see costumes of all sorts at Coca-Cola Field.
BONUS 2: Kurt & the Loders, 9 p.m. July 15 in Nietzsche's (248 Allen St.). Cost is $8 at the door.
Commentary: Along with In the Valley Below, Kurt & the Loders made Mac McGuire's trio of can't-miss shows for the end of this week. The local band will play Radiohead's "OK Computer" in its entirety to recognize the disc's 20th anniversary.
BONUS 3: See a Shaw Festival play, various times all weekend at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Prices vary as well.
Commentary: It's a sad day for supporters of the Shaw Festival, as news broke Wednesday that actor Jonah McIntosh had died. The Ontario native had roles in "1837: The Farmers' Revolt" and "Me and My Girl." To support the grieving casts, see more information on the 2017 Shaw Festival season here, via The News' Colin Dabkowski.
BONUS 4: Polish Festival, 4:30 to 10 p.m. July 14, 2 to 11 p.m. July 15 and 2 to 9 p.m. July 16 in Cheektowaga Town Park (2600 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga). There is no cost, but food and beer will be available for purchase.