1) National Buffalo Wing Fest, noon to 9 p.m. Sept. 2 and noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at Coca-Cola Field (275 Washington St.). Tickets are $5 each day. Children 8 years and younger get in for free. The festival guide PDF will answer your questions.
Commentary: While the focus is on spicy sauces, creative flavors and eating as messily as possible, the Buffalo Wing Fest has packed two days full of events to hold your attention as you mill from booth to booth gnawing on wings.
There's the Buffalo Wing 5K (11 a.m. Sunday, best not to gnaw wings during this), a blue-cheese bobbing contest (3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, not for the faint of heart), a live performance by country musician Eric Van Houten (7:30 p.m. Saturday) and the U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Championship at 5 p.m. Sunday.
For what it's worth, here's my list of "5 crazy wings to try if you're crazy," plus a quick peek at last year's winners:
*Scorpion Blood wings from Odis 12 Bar & Grill (Erie, Pa.)
*Maple Bacon Rum wings from Millie's Cafe (Ottoville, Ohio)
*Spicy Peanut Sauce wings from Fire on the Mountain (Portland, Ore.)
*Tamarindo wings from Wing's Army (Mexico)
*El Diablo from Greene's Ale House (Oswego, N.Y.)
Commentary: Through the site Fanbassador, Buffalo music promoter Chris Ring put the lineup of the late-summer music festival in the hands of local music fans.
Rappers Travis Scott and 2 Chainz were announced immediately as headliners, but voters picked the other seven bands gracing the hip-hop/electronic dance music festival at Canalside.
Waka Flocka Flame, Keys N Krates, DVBBS and the amusingly named Smokepurrp are among the artists who pulled through in the fan vote.
Commentary: As the turnout at the Buffalo Brunch Festival at the Outer Harbor proved earlier this summer, Western New York takes its weekend tweener meal seriously.
Iron Works will handle much of the brunch fare, according to the Facebook event page, while Lockhouse Distillery will offer a cash bar of cocktails, including mimosas, Bloody Marys and spiked coffee.
Great Lakes Brewing Company stepped in and donated five beers for guests to try for free, including newer brews like Rally Drum Red and Steady Rollin' Session IPA. While the food remains a bit of a mystery, there's at least a solid liquid brunch in store.
Commentary: The energetic, passionate Buffalo Beer Goddesses return their event that sold out last year, offering half-pints from each of the eight cask ales with the cost of admission.
Gene McCarthy's/Old First Ward Brewing, Flying Bison, Community Beer Works, 12 Gates, Big Ditch, Resurgence and RiverWorks are among the participating local breweries, while the Beer Goddesses will have pairing foods in tow, too.
Money raised from the event will benefit the Buffalo Beer Goddesses' Cicerone Scholarship Fund for WNY Women, which propels bartenders and beer enthusiasts forward in their certification process.
Commentary: This is not your every-day theater, especially because it involves massive floating puppets. Les Plasticiens Volants – which is French for "The Flying Plastics" – will take over Artpark on Saturday for their interpretation of how the universe began.
It sounds a little unbelievable in writing, but William Close and his Earth Harp Collective assemble an Earth Harp, built specifically for each venue. In an interview with The News' Colin Dabkowski, Close explained the cello-esque sound of his hard-to-picture instrument.
"The whole reason I do this and travel the world playing a giant harp is that the sound is amazing," Close said. "We've had some really powerful experiences. The sound is from around you and it encompasses you."
6) Taste of Niagara Falls, noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 2 and 3 at 101 Old Falls St. in Niagara Falls. Free to attend.
Commentary: Corey McGowan Productions presents this annual Niagara Falls street food event, welcoming a bundle of Falls restaurants (including 755, highly touted by The News' Andrew Galarneau), food trucks like Cheesecake Guy and the Dirty Bird, and non-food vendors from the vicinity. The full list of vendors can be found at the Facebook event page.
Stroll down Old Falls Street to enjoy the people-watching and scour the various products and treats available.
7) Taste of West Seneca, noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 3 at West Seneca Town Hall (1250 Union Road, West Seneca). Free to attend.
Commentary: While the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce lists precious little information on its site about Sunday's food fest, the West Seneca Bee comes through in the clutch with myriad details.
The local media organization notes that 12 local restaurants and 14 businesses are slated to attend, and the Police Benevolent Association Car Show – an annual draw – will be free to observe. Union Road will be closed between Main Street and Center Road, the Bee added.
8) M&T First Fridays, featuring Squeaky Wheel Animation Fest, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 1 at Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Ave.). First Fridays are free for museum entry and for the vast majority of mini events. The schedule for Friday's "Create" can be found here.
Commentary: The highlight of this First Friday is Squeaky Wheel's 14th annual Animation Fest, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Albright-Knox auditorium. The submission-based art and film production is 49 minutes of various forms of animation, including stop motion, open-source custom software, analogue effects and hand-drawn creations.
The family-friendly event will test your creative boundaries; read more about the event here at Squeaky Wheel's website.
9) Flow Fest 2, 3 p.m. Sept. 2 at Woodlawn Beach Tiki Bar (3580 Lake Shore Road, Blasdell). Cost is $15 at the event (plus $7 park fee) and is open only to 21+.
Commentary: Buffalo-based reggae, funk and rock band Funktional Flow throws its second beach party of the summer on Sunday, with two sets scheduled: 9-10:15 p.m., then 10:45 p.m. to midnight.
Tony DeRosa, Sunshine Dream and Intrepid Travelers are the three acts that will open the full day of music on the beach.
10) Reggae Beach Party No. 2, noon to 9 p.m. Sept. 4 at Woodlawn Beach (3580 Lake Shore Road, Blasdell). $10 for the event, plus $7 to get into the park.
Commentary: Mother Nature didn't cooperate with the first iteration of the Reggae Beach Party this summer, so Kinetic Entertainment will try again on Labor Day, presenting two reggae bands, two deejays and authentic Jamaican food. There's not a more chill, positive genre of music than reggae to close out the summer.
BONUS: Labor of Love Luau, 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar (253 Allen St.). Free to attend.
Commentary: Sunday night's party on Allen celebrates the efforts of Buffalo's restaurant and bar workers, with a Hawaiian pig roast and DJ-driven music keeping the entertainment rolling until 4 a.m.
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