1. The American Red Cross and the Niagara County Sheriff's Office are sponsoring two blood drives for Deputy Allen Gerhardt, who lost both his legs after an accident in which he lost control of his car while responding to a call July 19. The blood drives will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. in the South Lockport Fire Hall, 5666 South Transit Road, Lockport, and in Newfane Town Hall, 2896 Transit Road, Newfane. Gerhardt, the married father of three children, has been with the Sheriff's Office since August 2008. Prior to that, Gerhardt served as a line pilot in the Iraq War from 2006 to 2007.
2. There's a definite rhythm to Western New York's festival season. So when it's time for the Eden Corn Festival, you can be sure of two things, one good, one not so good: The corn is in, and the end of summer is in sight. The festival kicks off a four-day run on Route 62 at 5 p.m. when the midway opens. Today also features a pet show, chicken barbecue and pork dinners, agricultural exhibits and, at 6:30, music by the Hit & Run Band. The traditional highlights come Saturday with the corn-husking contest at 2 p.m., followed, logically enough, by the corn-eating contest at 3.
3. A country music/punk rock fusion band will produce the sounds of summer as Andrew J. Reimer's Country Punk Extravaganza takes the stage from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Delaware Park Marcy Casino, 199 Lincoln Parkway. Tonight's performance is part of the free, nine-week Summer Breeze by the Lake outdoor concert series sponsored by Delaware Park. Meanwhile, just yards away, Shakespeare in Delaware Park will immediately follow the concert with its production of "As You Like It."
4. Can we talk about "I Love Lucy"? That's what comedian Joan Rivers will be doing at the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy, which kicks off this evening in the Reg Lenna Civic Center, 116 E. Third St., Jamestown. Rivers, who conducted the last sit-down interview with the TV sitcom legend and iconic redhead from Jamestown, will take the stage at 8 p.m. The festival continues Friday, with a stand-up showcase presented by Rooftop Comedy, and concludes Saturday with the "Be a Lucy" event at Jamestown City Hall. For ticket information, go to www.lucy-desi.com and follow the Lucy Fest links.
5. Indie Toronto rock quartet Tokyo Police Club will close out this year's Thursday at the Square season. Opening will be local artist Potter's Field and alternative rockers The Sheila Divine. The music starts at 5 p.m. at the Central Wharf. The last note, at about 9, will wrap up the 25th anniversary season of the popular free series, which has seen its always strong attendance grow with the move to the waterfront.
6. Food trucks will be rolling into the portico of the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum for a sort of picnic on the run. The Historical Society's "Picnic on the Portico" is planned as an every-Thursday event through the end of summer. Between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., the Roaming Buffalo and Rolling Joe's Cafe lunch trucks will be on the portico. Other trucks featured on subsequent Thursdays may include Lloyd's Taco Truck, R&R BBQ and the Whole Hog. The stairs and other areas of the portico are great for impromptu seating, so take a load off, and bon appetit!
7. The economic fate of upstate New York, including our own Western New York region, will be the focus of a two-day conference of upstate leaders that begins today in downtown Buffalo. Erie County Executive Chris Collins and Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown will be meeting with their counterparts from across upstate, and others, to develop an action plan for moving forward with priority projects and spurring economic growth in the 40,000 square miles that comprise upstate. The Greater Buffalo Niagara Partnership organized the "Accelerate Upstate" conference after encountering universal frustration from local business leaders, municipal and school district leaders, farmers, environmentalists and members of nonprofit agencies. It all begins at noon in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.