1) Thawfest, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 7 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Tickets are $39 in advance here, $59 for VIP, which includes entry an hour before everyone else, plus rare beers and a selection of finger foods.
Commentary: An impressive list of breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries will be represented in sprawling RiverWorks. Rochester's Iron Smoke Distilling, MackJac cidery, Sato Brewpub, MyCity Brew, Windy Brew and Honeoye Falls Distilling are among the relatively new or fairly unfamiliar names on the list.
Sure, there's a little twisted humor in the title since it insists on snowing outside, so pick up the commemorative sampling glass and enjoy an evening of supporting local businesses. RiverWorks is limiting tickets to 1,500, so it's possible the event will sell out before doors open.
[Related: Look back at Smiles from the 2017 Thawfest, also in RiverWorks]
2) Buffalo Wine Festival, two sessions - 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. April 7 in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin St.). Tickets are $35 for advance general admission, $45 for VIP advance; further details here.
Commentary: Local wine lovers have likely had this date circled aggressively on their calendars for months, as the annual adventure through wine styles and regions swoops back to the convention center on Saturday.
Tickets remain for both the afternoon and evening sessions, with VIP guests granted an extra hour of tasting. Find the complete list of participating wineries here.
3) Boom Days, 1 to 9 p.m. April 7 in the Old First Ward, including Gene McCarthy's, the Barrel Factory, Undergrounds and Old First Ward Community Center. There's no cost.
Commentary: The site of Boom Days shifts from Silo City to Old First Ward businesses, with mini events spread throughout the day. The early afternoon is dedicated to family friendly activities before the action moves to the bars and taverns - a respite for fireworks gives everyone a break around 8 p.m. The News' Mary Kunz Goldman interviewed Tod Kniazuk, below, about further aspects of the event.
Commentary: The four-piece North London grunge/alt-rock band fronted by fierce Ellie Rowsell toured with Buffalo's Made Violent back in 2015, played at Alternative Buffalo's Kerfuffle Before Christmas and has seen its profile rise since (is there a connection there? Perhaps).
The group is more of a household name across the pond than in the U.S., as the reception to September 2017's "Visions of a Life" - No. 2 on the UK Billboard chart and No. 190 in America - but it won't take much for that second number to rise.
5) "School of Rock," 7:30 p.m. April 5, 8 p.m. April 6, 2 and 8 p.m. April 7, 2 and 7 p.m. April 8 in Shea's Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.). Tickets range from $32 to $72 and may be purchased here.
Commentary: Film director Richard Linklater might owe a lot to a sterling performance by Jack Black in "School of Rock," but the storyline - even when moved from screen to stage - holds up well.
The News' Melinda Miller praised the touring musical at Shea's, which rolls through a number of recognizable songs and, despite being a little long, you get to say the name "Ned Schneebly" to yourself a few times, which can't help but prompt a chuckle or two. There's plenty of showtime options, too, making this musical a little easier to squeeze into your weekend.
Commentary: As The News' Colin Dabkowski cleverly quips, art lovers will be on the hunt for "free wine, cubed cheese and intellectual stimulation" on Friday at the first Allentown First Friday walk for the season. Cafe Taza, Caffeology, Pausa Art House, new music venue Georgette and the Pine Apple Company are among the neighborhood spots taking part.
Over on Elmwood Avenue, the Albright-Knox's First Friday theme is Revolution, a reference to the existing "We Wanted a Revolution" exhibit, which examines the political, social, cultural and aesthetic priorities of radical black women from 1965-85.
It's the subject of gallery talks by curatorial fellow Andrea Alvarez at 6 p.m. and then Jasmine Magana at 7, but also the focus of the Art of Food and Drink, led by Chef Shetice Williams, who runs Cake Crazy Bakery.
7) Canadian-American Beer Festival - WNY Beta, noon April 8 in Pizza Plant Amherst (7770 Transit Road, East Amherst). Free to attend, with special prices on collaborative beers.
Commentary: Although many organizers wish plans for the event had gone differently, the Canadian-American Beer Festival will go on in separate parts, with the American side celebrating on Sunday in East Amherst.
The News' Scott Scanlon explained the purpose of the event, as well as three collaborative beers to try, in his Gusto cover story, linked below, but If You Must, the joint effort between 12 Gates, Nickel Brook (Burlington, Ont.) and Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, sounds like it's a must-try.
Commentary: 103.3 FM The Edge wants to introduce local music fans to quality-if-unheralded bands for cheap prices, and Friday night's show in Rapids Theatre features new indie pop band Superorganism, fronted by Orono Noguchi, for just $1.03 in advance.
Newsday wrote an extensive profile on the "too-good-to-be-true" lead singer, including the word "fizzy" to describe one of Superorganism's singles. More things need to be described as "fizzy."
Commentary: Call the Buffalo Museum of Science's event, which might necessitate a shower at some point, the premier family outing of the weekend (with apologies to "School of Rock"). For many, the highlight is the Messtacular! stage show, 40 minutes of wacky experiments with elephant toothpaste, Mentos fountains, liquid nitrogen explosions and more. Performances are at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 and 4:30 and cost an extra $5.
New this year is an Adult Messfest, too, a 21+ event which runs 6 to 9 p.m. April 6, featuring tie-dye, slime and paint. Don't wear your fanciest attire, that's for sure. [Update, April 5, 1:15 p.m.: Adult Messfest is now sold-out. Welp.]
Commentary: Silent discos aren't brand-new to Buffalo, but their perseverance is a sign that the wave isn't a fleeting fad. For those unfamiliar, headphone-wearing attendees can choose between three channels - 1990s hip-hop and pop, 2000s hip-hop and pop, and electronic dance music and remixes.
Personal control over the music and the odd scenes of noiseless gyration make for an entertaining evening.