1) Buffalo Beer Week kickoff parties:
NYS Fall Beer Fest at 6 p.m. Sept. 22 in Woodcock Brothers Brewery (638 Lake St., Wilson).
Beer Week Opening Gala at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 in Adam Mickiewicz Library (612 Fillmore Ave.).
Ballpark Brew Bash, 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 23 at Coca-Cola Field (275 Washington St.).
Commentary: It's fitting that Buffalo's Beer Week is 10 days long. Something about that makes too much sense.
The festivities get underway Friday night with two prime options - an outdoor-indoor party in Wilson where all of Buffalo's craft brewers will have a presence, and a smaller gathering at the Mickiewicz Library, which boasts rare Polish beers but also an appreciation for those locally brewed.
Saturday, Coca-Cola Field will be invaded by more than 50 brewers from Buffalo and across the country; see the full list of Ballpark Brew Bash participants here. Tickets remain available for the VIP experience at Pub at the Park - the reinvented Pettibones Grille - where a slew of rare beers are complemented by upscale food options.
The News' Scott Scanlon covered the pioneers of Buffalo's craft-beer scene in depth below, but also suggested further events - like the Ballpark Brew Bash and special beers in this second post.
2) Oinktoberfest at the Great Pumpkin Farm, 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 22, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 24 at 11199 Main St., Clarence. Admission is $7 at the gate, like all seven weekends, and children 2 and under get in free.
Commentary: Grab some thick napkins and don't eat breakfast in advance of the barbecue bonanza, as the Great Pumpkin Farm welcomes a Kansas City Barbecue-sanctioned grill-off on Saturday, then follows with a Whole Hog outdoor cooking contest, plus a rib-off, on Sunday at the sprawling Clarence event site.
Miller & the Other Sinners are the prime-time performing band on Friday night, with Strictly Hip slated for a Sunday afternoon performance. You can see the lineup of entertainment and cooking challenges here.
Commentary: Following the Nikola Tesla theme, Se2 Silent Disco and the Amplify organizers present four different stages of music and three areas for Silent Disco, running late into the night at the cavernous Ukrainian Center.
Multiple bars, a vendor market entitled Shakedown Street, water stations (a thoughtful addition that should please aggressive dancers) and an interactive art installation by Ricky Runfola add to the music-heavy marathon.
4) Sponge Candy 5K, 3 p.m. registration, 4:30 p.m. sanctioned race on Sept. 23 begins on Ohio Street (next to Niagara Falls Boulevard) and ends at Platter's Chocolates in the Wurlitzer Building (908 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda). Participation fee is $30 for the race and can be done here or on-site. Here's the course map.
Commentary: I know, a three-mile race and Buffalo's signature sweet seem a little incongruous, but bear with me. The 5K is just one of the highlights of Sponge Candy Fest with Platter's, as Sept. 21 is officially National Sponge Candy Day (there's free samples at Platter's on Thursday, if you're eager).
The rationale is that, if you take advantage of the race, you'll feel better about trying a few extra pieces of sponge candy as you take the Wurlitzer tour or enjoy some of the other activities. The Facebook event page for the three-day sponge candy festival should answer any further questions.
Read more about sponge candy's place in Buffalo's hearts and stomachs:
5) Light the Night Walk, 5 p.m. registration, 7:30 p.m. walk around Delaware Park on Sept. 22. The Leukemia Society encourages a minimum $100 donation to become a "Champion of the Cure," but anyone can take part in the walk.
Commentary: The Buffalo branch of the Leukemia & Lymphoma is halfway to its $600,000 fundraising goal for Friday night's event, which features a 1.75-mile walk around Delaware Park.
A remembrance pavilion, selfie station, live music from the New York Rockin' Revue and a grand-finale laser light show sandwich the walk itself.
The best way to get a feel for the event is to peek through last year's Smiles gallery, then read The News' Scott Scanlon's story about a young cancer survivor who participated in the second walk.
Commentary: Pop/hip-hop artist Jake Miller is becoming a Buffalo mainstay, and judging by his glowing reviews on Twitter and Instagram, the engaging 24-year-old Florida musician seems to have enjoyed his visits.
A February stop at Rapids on his The Overnight Tour was canceled, but he's made up the engagement early this fall. In terms of love from Billboard.com, Miller's "Overnight" EP received his lowest peak ranking of any album so far, but he did place on the Top 200 one week.
7) Tesla Fest, 8 p.m. to midnight Sept. 22 in the Lakeward Spirits Event Center in the Barrel Factory (65 Vandalia St.). Tickets for this portion are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. A VIP session runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and costs $50 per person or $75 per couple.
Commentary: Inspired by Nikola Tesla's impact on Western New York through his taming of Niagara Falls' energy and the birth of the hydroelectric power plant, the founders of City of Night introduce Tesla Fest, a night dedicated to creative exploration and how it's expressed through electricity.
The News' Colin Dabkowski spoke with organizer Dana Saylor about what to expect - hint: there will be frighteningly accurate Tesla doppleganger - as well as the organizers' and others' eagerness to see a Tesla-focused museum planned for Niagara Falls. The general admission portion (8-12) will boast a space for dancing, food trucks and a cash bar from Lakeward Spirits.
Commentary: A fundraiser for the Matt Urban Hope Center, a Broadway-based organized committed to serving the east side of the city, Buffalonia is a simple party predicated on food from Lloyd Taco, drinks from Labatt and Buffalo Iron Works, and music spun by local DJ Jickster.
Commentary: There are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon than with a bunch of friendly dogs milling about Grand Island. Goodie bags, contests for dogs and a canine agility challenge are among the activities in addition to the two-mile walk.
More than $30,000 has already been raised for the SPCA Serving Erie County, and you can look back at the smiling faces (and ample dog photos) from the 2016 event. Here's the wrap-up video from the event:
10) Williamsville Oktoberfest, 3:30 to 10 p.m. Sept. 22, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 23 in Island Park (5565 Main St., Williamsville). The event is free until 5 p.m.; after that there's a $5 cover for the stage and beer tent.
Commentary: Williamsville turns German on Friday night and all day Saturday, with a short parade from the village hall to Island Park getting things in motion at 3:30, and then live music from the Frankfurters and Nerds Gone Wild continues throughout the evening. The Sam Adams-sponsored Great Hoist Off is slated for 7 p.m.
On Saturday, one highlight is the Follow the Lederhosen 5K ($25 for the full race before 5 p.m. Sept. 22, and for a 1-mile fun run), and if you don't want to run, supporters may hang out in the post-race tent for $10, which includes a hot dog, a beer and a t-shirt.
The festival beer tent opens at noon Saturday, and party band Hit-N-Run will play a set from 7 to 10 p.m. Find the full schedule of events here.
BONUS No. 1: Country Harvest Festival, 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Buffalo Zoo (300 Parkside Ave.). Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for kids 2 to 12 years old, and children 23 months and under get in free. No idea what happens if you're in your 24th month of life.
Commentary: The zoo and local country music station WYRK join forces for a Saturday evening event focused on barbecue and country music. West Seneca-based Eric Van Houten will perform, and seasonal beer will also be available for purchase.
BONUS No. 2: Niagara Wine Trail Harvest Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 23, noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 24 at participating wineries. Tickets are $22 through 9 p.m. Sept. 21, then $27 thereafter.
Commentary: Twenty-one Niagara County wineries will take part in this well-balanced tour where participants can sample local wines and munch on a morsel which, judging from their food listings, seem enticing.