1. It's been more than a century since the howl of a wild wolf was last heard in Western New York. But at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Genesee Country Nature Center, "Mission: Wolf" brings the predators home.
Mission: Wolf includes a slide show of smiling wolfie photos, but the real stars of this presentation are the fangsters themselves. A snout-to-face encounter with a breathing wolf is an experience that endures.
Mission: Wolf travels by bus across the country, reaching an estimated 50,000 people annually. Its goals are to develop respect for the wolf and to support the return of wild wolf populations worldwide.
Call 538-6822 for reservations. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 4 to 16. (The program, requiring sitting still for an extended period, is not recommended for children under 4.)
The nature center is located at 1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford, 45 miles east of Buffalo.
2. Hey, wagon ride. There's an Autumnfest at Sprague Brook Park in Glenwood this weekend sponsored by the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.
It features old-fashioned farmers and even older cars. To kick off the weekend, a 5-K run at 10 a.m. Saturday will beat feet through the woods and natural terrain of this Southern Tier park. Before that, a one-mile fun run for children age 14 and under will start at 9:30 a.m.
Free amusements and games will be conducted by the Recreation Department staff at the Kids Korral. Free shuttle-bus service will be provided to the Bureau of Forestry, where tours of the Saw Mill and Sugar Shanty will be offered.
The festival runs from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sprague Brook is located at 9674 Foote Road off Route 240 and past Kissing Bridge. Call 858-8355 for more information.
3. Weight watchers, unite!
Saturday's decathlon of gourd-growing occurs at Clarence's Great Pumpkin Farm, 11199 Main St., where the hunt for the heaviest pumpkin will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday.
The weigh-off - awarding $25,000 for the portliest pumpkin - kicks off another fall festival. Yessirree. For $3, and from 10 a.m. till dark Saturday and Sunday, pumpkin devotees may participate in scarecrow decorating and pie-eating contests, not to mention a slide on the inflatable Titanic.
Prizes of $5,000 and $2,000 will also be awarded for the second- and third-place pumpkins, respectively. At noon, the winning entries will be announced, with the top pumpkin flying to Ludwigsbury, Germany, for the world weigh-offs.
Last year a gourd from Windsor (pictured here) took first, weighing in at 1,061 pounds.
4. Marble orchards. Granite alleys. Mausoleum mambo.
Column as you see 'em, cemeteries are in demand this time of year.
Mount Calvary's annual fall tour on Saturday offers four time slots - from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the hour - for plotting a path through history. This tour will include shuttle stops at four of Mount Calvary's cemetery properties: Ridge Lawn, Mount Calvary, United German and French and Buffalo Cemetery. The tour will begin and end at Pine Lawn Chapel on Harlem Road and Genesee Street. Each tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours, with one disembarking at St. Ann's Chapel. Admission is free. Reservations vital at 892-6600.
Lewiston's Marble Orchard Historic Walking Tour - set for 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday - meets at the First Presbyterian Church of Lewiston, Cayuga and Fifth streets. Admission is $7 for adults. Children and students admitted free. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided.
5. Shake, rattle and roll from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Albright Knox Art Gallery during the season's first Family Day.
Filled with music-making, tours and hands-on art experiences, this family afternoon is free with gallery admission.
Discover how common household castoffs and snazzy bright art materials create a personal musical instrument that can be strummed, shaken or blown. Then take that instrument on a gallery tour, where an energetic instructor will lead families in a musical response to artwork.
Adult admission is $4. Students and senior citizens pay $3. Members and children under age 12 are admitted free. The Albright-Knox is located at 1285 Elmwood Ave.