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OFF MAIN STREET / The offbeat side of the news

Food for the soul

Garden Walk Buffalo, a two-day event that begins today, is that rare Western New York festival that can draw thousands of people to the city with nary a deep fryer or ice cream scoop.

Unlike other summer rituals, the garden walk does not have kettle corn, pulled pork sandwiches or ice cream sundaes, just the occasional cup of lemonade offered on participants’ front lawns.

But this year, it will have a re-enactor, sure to appeal to those green thumbs who don’t require fried dough and are also history buffs.

The Fargo Estate Neighborhood Association is distinguishing itself from the nearly 400 gardens on the map by including a man dressed as the city’s 27th mayor, William G. Fargo, to greet visitors from noon to 2 p.m. at a community garden at 350 West Ave.

Seems like a healthier pursuit than eating an Italian sausage.

A film to Twitter about

Tweeters, you asked for it.

“Sharknado,” the made-for-TV movie with the absurd premise that became the talk of Twitter literally overnight, has made it to the big screen.

You can catch the movie, which aired on the SyFy channel earlier this month, at midnight next Friday at Regal theaters on Transit Road and Elmwood Avenue.

Though the impressive social media chatter about the film – nearly 400,000 mentions – didn’t lead to a ratings bounce, producers must think that there are enough fans of Tara Reid, Ian Ziering and flying sharks to make it worth their while.

Leaves a bad taste

If you’re in the vodka business, there apparently is no such thing as bad publicity.

The Buffalo-based maker of ONE ROQ vodka, J. Garrett Green, spread the news that actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was spotted buying it at her local liquor store, as documented in the National Enquirer.

Zeta-Jones’ struggles with alcohol abuse and bipolar disorder did not stop Green from scanning the article and sending it to a dozen other media outlets.

She’s described as “downing the hard stuff” during a dinner with her actor husband, Michael Douglas, while he sipped a single glass of white wine. (The dinner ended with her yelling at Douglas with a finger pointed at his face.)

The article had this obvious tidbit: “Some people fear the mom of two may have been self-medicating to cope with her mental problems.”

A hair-raising event

Officers in the Town of Tonawanda Police Department are prepared to deal with hairy situations daily. That now includes every look in the mirror.

Most members of the force are participating in a beard-growing contest to help out Officer Tim Day, who is waiting for a heart transplant.

Officers paid $50 each to get the exemption from the department’s normal grooming standards, said Day’s friend and fellow officer, Vinnie Christiano, sporting a handsome salt-and-pepper beard and mustache.

And judgment day is coming, at a benefit planned for Day from 1 to 7 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Ellwood Fire Hall, 1000 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda.

Tickets to the event, which includes food, beverages, raffles and music from Strictly Hip from 4 to 7 p.m., are $20 presale and $25 at the door; call Christiano at 874-4339, or Day’s nephew, Kevin Day, at 875-8807. The whisker-judging categories will include best groomed, longest, best growth, most colorful and “most Tim-like.”

“I have no idea what that means,” quipped Day, who has a bristly gray and white beard.

The men plan to keep growing their beards until Day gets a donated heart. Although everyone hopes that happens soon, Christiano says with a laugh, “I’d love to look like ZZ Top!”

Written by Jill Terreri, with contributions from Samantha Maziarz Christmann and Anne Neville. email: