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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…

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1) SantaCon Buffalo, 1:30 to 6 p.m. Dec. 9 in 11 bars in the downtown Buffalo area, mostly on Chippewa. Cost is $11.54 online or $10 in-person at D'Arcy McGee's or VENU. Must be 21+ to take part. Commentary: Few sights scream "the holidays" like hundreds of Santas frolicking around the Chippewa District, bouncing jovially from bar to bar. Each costumed Santa is asked to…

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…

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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…

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1) Polar Plunge, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at Woodlawn Beach State Park (3580 Lake Shore Road, Blasdell). Minimum fundraising amount is $100; further details here. Commentary: The annual Special Olympics New York fundraiser is both a duel with the elements and a rousing good time. One of the day's highlights is a costume contest - the competition is stiff, often both lit…

Festivals

The World's Largest Disco is surely the marquee event of this weekend, but it's been sold out for some time. Same with the second of two visits by Lowest of the Low, Ron Hawkins' Canadian rock band beloved in Buffalo. Don't panic too much, however, as there's a wealth of big and small events to which to turn your attention. The vast majority of these have free admission…

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On Saturday, the World's Largest Disco will pulsate inside the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, where thousands of 1970s-themed celebrants roar with energy under the colorful lights of disco balls. Just outside, though, will be the World's Smallest Disco, a micro-pop-up dance party created by Choose Yer Own Adven-Tours founders Ron Ehmke and Paula Watkins. The amusing…

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While the Strictly Hip's performance at Tralf Music Hall and both nights of Lowest of the Low in Town Ballroom are sold out, there's no reason to panic for the ticket-less looking to go out Wednesday. Buffalo wholeheartedly embraces the reputation of the night before Thanksgiving — believed to be the biggest party night of the year — and several other venues are hosting…

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It's the most Buffalo time of the year. Spirits soar as we warm up for the Turkey Trot, one of the 100 Things every Western New Yorker should do at least once. And for the World's Largest Disco, another adventure on our bucket list. Friends and relatives flock in from out of town, craving wings and beef on weck. Thanksgiving is in the air. It's fun to celebrate this …

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1) UB Distinguished Speaker Series: Jesse Williams, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 in University at Buffalo's Alumni Arena, North Campus. Tickets range from $18-$42 and may be purchased here. Commentary: This visit by the undergraduate student-choice speaker is a big deal, even if the character he plays on "Grey's Anatomy," Dr. Jackson Avery, cannot be trusted because he has two fir…

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…

  YOUNGSTOWN - Soon thousands of tiny lights will illuminate the dark rural skies at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, 1023 Swann Road, paying homage to the spiritual aspect of the upcoming Christmas holy days and drawing hundreds of spectators.    The Barnabite Fathers are readying for their annual Festival of Lights, which begins Nov. 18 and runs from 5 to 9 p.m. each day …

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1) Janet Jackson, 8 p.m. Nov. 4 in KeyBank Center. Tickets range from $32.45 to $122.45 and may be purchased here. Commentary: It's a big deal that Janet Jackson is playing Buffalo, especially if you're like News contributor Ben Siegel, who had his 11-year-old heart set on seeing his beloved performer back in 1993, when she canceled her area show at the last minute due …

Music

1) The Witches Ball, 7 p.m. Oct. 28 in Statler City (107 Delaware Ave.). Tickets are $40 general admission, $120 VIP, and must be printed and brought to the event. They may be purchased here. Commentary: Eight performance spaces and five event stages will encompass the Statler for a night of spooky dancing and exploration. From Se2 Silent Disco to Dames of the Dead, a H…

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It is almost the witching hour -- but not quite. The weekend before Halloween offers a wealth of chances to celebrate this dark and atmospheric time of year with style and a touch of elegance. Here are some options to consider. This is the perfect time of year to try something different. Supernatural rumors swirl around the Buffalo Central Terminal, a place of awe-in…