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The imposing, 40-foot-high sledding hill at Canalside is artificial. But everything else about the Snowzilla ride at Championship Village is real: The bitter-cold weather, the liability waivers that all riders have to sign and the 4-second plunge that is thrilling kids and former kids alike this week. "You're never too old to have fun," said Brandon Palmer, of Buffal…

Art

To get to the Festival of Lights at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, follow the star. The star shines in Lewiston, at the corner of Swann and Creek Roads. Turn when you see it, head down Swann, and drive for a little bit. There is no missing it, trust me. When I made the trip, on a Monday at around 6 p.m., it was dark, and snow was swirling. I worried I'd missed it, when -- …

Attractions

In September, celebrity vocal coach Andy Anselmo gave $500,000 to Canterbury Woods, the Amherst retirement community where he lives. The gift was a pledge toward a new arts center on the campus. Now, with Christmas in the air, Anselmo is announcing a new gift. He is pledging an additional $200,000. This new bequest will help fund a residency in the arts center by the ed…

Attractions

Rushing about our everyday business, we sometimes miss the treasures that hide in plain sight. One wintry day a couple of years ago reminded me of that. I had been at a lunch meeting with a colleague from Amherst. The wind and sleet had kicked in. "Let's cut through the Ellicott Square Building," I suggested. And in we went -- beneath the carved entranceway, throu…

Lifestyles

This is not only the most wonderful time of the year, it's the most Buffalo time of the year. Let's celebrate that in our holiday shopping. Museums, galleries, even hospitals have decked their gift shops for your shopping pleasure. Treat yourself to a stop at one of them. The reasons are many. First, it's fun. You might not have two hours to devote to perusing …

Attractions

The Niagara Parks Commission has announced several special events and activities for the holiday season, including the Winter Festival of Lights. “Niagara Parks’ Aura: Let it Glow” will feature several illumination-themed events for visitors that involve millions of lights throughout Niagara Parks. The displays will fan out from the centerpiece of the festival, Queen…

Gusto

Poinsettias aren't shy. They sport names like Luv U Hot Pink, Ruby Frost and Advantage Red. And at the annual Poinsettia Show at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens (2655 South Park Ave.), they don't just command center stage, filling the atrium under the big glass dome. They demand total control. They are everywhere. Follow them, and you discover a new wor…

Attractions

We're making a list and checking it twice. And we would like to invite you to join us. Because when the Christmas season ends, we don't want to have any regrets. The holidays are hectic. The days fly by. Too often, we don't have time to do the things we wanted to do. To bask in the beauty of a Christmas tree, say. To hear one of our town's magnificent choirs. To enjo…

Gusto

A yuletide or two ago, covering the 100 Things Every Western New Yorker should do at least once, we did our Christmas shopping on Elmwood Avenue. This year, we're hitting Hertel. Make no mistake, we'll find time for Elmwood too. You can't stay away. But Hertel Avenue, the jewel of North Buffalo, increasingly clamors for attention. The fun begins in earnest this weeke…

Attractions

Niagara Falls plans to jingle all the way through the three Saturdays – leading up to Christmas weekend with a new holiday celebration downtown that will feature a variety of free activities Saturday, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16. A Candlelight Stroll will launch Jingle Falls USA at 4:30 p.m. Saturday from the steps of Niagara Falls City Hall, 745 Main St. The procession will lea…

Local News

The big news for Canalside in 2018 is the expected opening of Explore & More Children's Museum in December. While that building takes shape, other projects now in the planning and design stages for Canalside are expected to make their debuts in 2019 and 2020. "I am excited about all the work we are doing, and all the potential that we have," said Tom Dee, preside…

Attractions

A cloudless sky brought beaming sun to the Ice at Canalside on Friday morning as ice skating kicked off for the season along Buffalo's downtown waterfront. Conditions were not ideal. Most of the chill was out of the air as the temperature approached 50 degrees shortly before noon. That didn't stop families and friends from lacing up their skates and hitting the ice. …

Gusto

Thanksgiving is a time for feasting, for enjoying the comforts of home. From family to football, from pumpkin pie to the mighty green bean casserole, there's plenty to keep us content. But let's talk turkey. At some point, you will need to get out. Wouldn't it be fun, with all the expats and relatives back on the scene, to celebrate things that are going well in our …

Health and Fitness

Jennifer Bardrof squeezed in lots of stuff in the spring of 2016, during the weeks she helped move her family from the Florida Gulf Coast back to her native Western New York: The Goofy, a 10K run followed by a half-marathon at Disney World; landing a new job as a substitute teacher; buying a new house. She didn't have time to bother with the flu-like symptoms that dogge…

Attractions

A Polar Stop with toy train layouts provided by local model railroad clubs, a building competition with canned goods to benefit the Food Bank of Western New York, and Kandy Kane's Holiday Magic Show are among the new sights this year at the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg. The 13th annual festival opens from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Frid…