Commentary: It's a whole new look for Buffalo's biggest local music festival, founded and organized annually by Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac. The destination shifts for the first time from the lawn of the Albright-Knox to Buffalo RiverWorks, and now incorporates a vendor fair on Sept. 8 and 10 in addition to the full day of music in between.
On Saturday, the versatile riverfront venue will feature 15 indoor and outdoor stages, while Madd Tat2's 716 Sideshow allows attendees to take a brief respite from the music with magicians, jugglers and other eclectic entertainers.
Commentary: Fun. vocalist Jack Antonoff's solo project, Bleachers, has become an indie-radio favorite in Buffalo, and he'll stop by Lewiston Friday in support of his second Bleachers album, "Gone Now," released in June. The album has guest appearances by Lorde and Carly Rae Jepsen, but the live show is all Antonoff.
When Bleachers played Kerfuffle in 2014, Antonoff offered fond remarks about Buffalo, praising Mohawk Place and Voelker's, although he did not mention the latter by name.
3) Lewiston Peach Festival, 5 to 11 p.m. Sept. 8, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 9 and noon to 11 p.m. Sept. 10 at Academy Park (890 Center St., Lewiston). Admission is free, but rides require payment. There is also an amusement rides preview from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday.
Commentary: How come vegetables rarely get their own festival? Hey, a green bean festival could work. But peaches are king in Lewiston this weekend, as Lewiston Kiwanis' three-day festival, replete with rides, contests and an assortment of entertainment, returns for another year.
It's the 39th running of the Peach Festival 5K, too; registration begins at 7 a.m. Saturday before the race rolls at 9. More details on the USATF-certified race here. (The cost is $5 cheaper if you register before the end of the day Thursday).
Speaking of peaches, The News' Mary Kunz Goldman dedicated an entire 100 Things Plus to the fuzzy fruit, exploring Tower Orchards' Niagara County farm and covering a sweet new breed: the sugary doughnut peach.
Commentary: The former Pink Floyd lead singer and prog-rock legend's last stop, in which he performed "The Wall" in its entirety, was well received by The News' Jeff Miers, and Waters returns to Buffalo on his Us & Them Tour, a few months after releasing "Is This the Life We Really Want?", a project co-written with Nigel Godrich, songwriter for Beck and Radiohead.
The new disc received a respectable 6.9 rating on Pitchfork, with credit largely given to the influence of the new co-writer rather than a resurgence from Waters.
5) Crash-A-Rama, 4 to 10 p.m. Sept. 9 at Holland International Speedway (11586 Holland Glenwood Road, Holland). Tickets are $20 in advance here or $25 (cash) at the gate. Students between the ages of 8 and 15 pay $10, while children 7 and under are free.
Commentary: If you were sad that the Ultimate Night of Destruction at the Erie County Fair is over, Holland Speedway's Crash-A-Rama should satisfy desires for loud collisions, pure power and tasty races in its last run of the summer. The 100-lap Compact Enduro is one highlight, while the Double-Decker Race is back by popular demand.
6) Lauren Alaina and Caitlin Koch, 7 p.m. Sept. 8 at VENU (75 W. Chippewa St.). Tickets are $15 in advance here or $20 at the door. The show was previously slated for Waiting Room before that venue closed.
Commentary: "American Idol: Season 10" runner-up Lauren Alaina pays her first visit to Buffalo with a familiar face in tow, as opener Caitlin Koch - who's taken her country career to Nashville - is a well-known expat. Earlier this week, Alaina was nominated by the Country Music Association for Best New Artist, along with Luke Combs, Old Dominion, Brett Young and Jon Pardi.
Read more about Koch's decision to go to Nashville and her career aspirations below.
7) Taste of East Aurora, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 9 on Main Street between Olean Road and Riley Street. Free to attend, but individual food items range between $1 and $4. Check out the map of vendors and their offerings here.
Commentary: Twenty-six restaurants will participate in Saturday's Taste of East Aurora - both the village and the town are blessed with a variety of restaurants, from nationally-recognized Bar Bill Tavern to upscale Rick's on Main.
As we usually do with town-based taste events, here are three food items we'd try:
*Sweet corn succotash from Orchard Fresh, with arugula and Green Goddess dressing, $4
*Brown butter Rice Krispie Treat from Elm Street Bakery, $2
*Karaage chicken (marinated dark-meat chicken breaded in potato flour and fried crispy), $4
8) Winchester Fall Festival, 6 p.m. to midnight Sept. 8 and 9 at Winchester Fire Company (514 Harlem Road, West Seneca). Admission is $5 for each day.
Commentary: Friday's festivities in West Seneca include a beer-tent performance by party band Breakaway, while Saturday's highlight is a set by hometown breakout country artist Eric Van Houten after a gun raffle in the early afternoon, for which limited tickets are available at the fire hall.
The fire company touts the festival as offering the last beer tent of the summer, which certainly carries some weight in Western New York.
9) Buffalo Fitness Expo, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 9 in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin St.). Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids ages 6-17, available only at the door. Children 5 years and younger enter for free.
Commentary: Fitness enthusiasts should be enticed by the vendors, contests and special guests headed to the convention center on Saturday. The pound-for-pound arm wrestling champion of the world, Canadian Devon Larratt, will be in attendance, as well as World Bodybuilding men's physique champion Melvin Ortiz.
Big Frank Budelewski, who represents 5% Nutrition, is a major figure for his loss of 130 pounds and then rebuilding to a sculpted 350. He will compete against Larratt in an arm wrestling match. Here's a map of the vendors and a look at the layout of the second floor.
10) Onyx & Pearls: Under the Big Top, 5 to 10 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Adam's Mark Hotel (120 Church St.). Tickets are $50 general admission or $100 for VIP passes.
Commentary: Hair artist Brittany La Bella hosts a hair, fashion and art showcase on Sunday, featuring a runway show displaying the work of seven designers, some hailing from Western New York, as well as further entertainment from six others like Buffalo Aerial Dance, musicians 4B-LO and spoken-word artist Legendary.
BONUS: Arts on the Ridge, 2 to 8 p.m. Sept. 9 along Ridge Road between South Park Avenue and the Lackawanna Public Library. Free to attend.
Commentary: Support several local business owners - many from Lackawanna - as they set up at the street festival on Saturday afternoon. The Lackawanna Chamber of Commerce has highlighted many of the participating vendors on the discussion board of the Facebook event page.
Musicians, artisans and restaurants like Curly's and Mess Hall will all have a presence. The event kicks off with an 11-mile Bike Stampede at 12:30 p.m. (ride begins at 1) outside Curly's (647 Ridge Road, Lackawanna).