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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Dyngustock Mudfest

As sun warmed the East Side streets of old Polonia on the day after Dyngus Day, organizers were amused by what they found among the Tyskie beer cans, broken cell phone parts and plastic bead necklaces: a pair of shoes.

Ballet flats were embedded in the muddy "Pussy Willow Park," outside the Central Terminal on Memorial Drive.

It was there that hundreds of revelers danced to the polka rock of "Those Idiots," undeterred by this year's exceptionally rainy version of Buffalo's end-of-Lent, post-Easter celebration on Monday this week.

While the shoes were stuck, the dancer, obviously, was not the stick-in-the-mud type.


Flower play

You know that the Sabres have been an institution in Western New York for 40 years, but did you know that the Sabers also have been an institution for almost as long?

They would be Sabers Flower Shop in Alden, a family business started by Sylvia Sabers in her home back when a new hockey team was making itself at home in Memorial Auditorium.

People have been confusing the Sabers with the Sabres for years, said Carrie Sabers, who was born right around the time her mother started the business.

"For many, many years, we get the people who call for tickets from all over and from all different states," she said.

And do these misguided hockey fans find themselves on the receiving end of a suggestion that they purchase a dozen red roses?

"I try my darndest," she said with a laugh.

Sabers said she keeps the Sabres' number handy so she can point callers to the hockey team. And she is just as happy to talk house plants as -- a few years ago -- Derek Plante.

"It's the spirit of the community," she said. "You gotta go with it."


Getting chippy

Prison humor sounds like an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or being a devout atheist.

Yet the story -- reported in Friday's Buffalo News -- of the inmate at Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden who lost a tooth while breaking up a fight between two guards has given rise to a jocular comment.

The battle between the guards reportedly was prompted by a dispute over a bag of potato chips. The flavor of the snack item that sparked the confrontation: Assault and vinegar.

And please, no cracks about the inmates running the asylum.


The seats of discontent

The battles in the Lewiston Town Board room might not be legendary across the region, but Supervisor Steven Reiter hopes that in these tight budget times, someone might deem its seats collectors items nonetheless.

The board will use a grant to update the chairs it uses for its meetings and Town Court, so it is working on a plan to take bids for the old ones.

"Those are relics you all are sitting on," Reiter said at this week's board meeting. "I have to declare them obsolete. Seats from Yankee Stadium, War Memorial Stadium and now Lewiston Town Hall."

Reiter suggested anyone who is interested drop by the Municipal Building and put their name on a favorite seat.

"I'm sure they will be going fast," he said. "What a deal."

Written by Bruce Andriatch with contributions from Michelle Kearns, Donn Esmonde and Nancy A. Fischer.


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