Almost 200 years have passed since the Irish settled in Buffalo, but the City of Light still recognizes its proud Irish heritage, particularly in the Old First Ward and throughout South Buffalo.
Although St. Patrick's Day is an annual excuse to day-drink for many Western New Yorkers -- Michael Farrell calls it a "mass-marketed Halloween and Mardi Gras hybrid" -- Buffalo hasn't fully dismissed cultural elements that accompany the celebration.
Folk music, corned beef and cabbage, the occasional bodhran, Irish dancers and more traditions -- including drinking, of course -- remind us that Tuesday, and its preceding parties, isn't just about who can finish their Guinness first.
Comments: Following the parade through the streets of the Old First Ward feels more authentically Irish than standing on Delaware Avenue, and the whole community -- generations of families -- hang out and mingle with neighbors and visitors.
2) Downtown Buffalo St. Patrick's Day Parade, 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday on Delaware Avenue. It's free to watch.
Comments: Without question Buffalo's most popular parade, the United Irish-American Association brings the pomp and circumstance for the procession down Delaware Avenue. A stronger Buffalo Police presence is expected to crack down on public intoxication and open container laws this year -- a steep departure from past years -- and we'll see what kind of impact that has on the celebration (hopefully fewer fights, passed-out partiers and DWIs). Fortunately, MillerCoors has sponsored free Metro Rail rides for Sunday.
3) Kegs and Eggs pre-parade party, noon to 2 p.m. Sunday in Mr. Goodbar (1110 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo). Free to attend, with free food, Community Beer Works samples and drink specials at the bar.
Comments: Alternative Buffalo 107.7 is no stranger to hosting a cool event, and while this is no Kerfuffle, the Kegs and Eggs collaboration with Community Beer Works is a nice mix of trendy brands. CBW hasn't officially announced which brews they'll have in tow, but expect staples like Frank and the Whale, and maybe Stout Affective Disorder or Saison #3 if you're lucky. Alt Buffalo will air live from Goodbar.
4) More St. Patrick's Day weekend choices: Read Gusto's cover story this week on authentic Irish bars -- like Shannon Pub, the Blackthorn and D'Arcy McGee's -- that boast traditional celebrations and a plethora of live music.
5) Cure Me I'm Irish Scavenger Hunt and After-Party, 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Canalside Buffalo. Tickets are $20 for an individual and $55 for a team of four. Teams can register on-site and credit cards are accepted. Proceeds benefit Melina's White Light Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Comments: This new-age scavenger hunt is conquered through a smartphone app that's only open between 3 and 5 p.m., so you'll want to register (begins at 2 p.m.) and prepare to make the most of your time. The app will direct you on the walkable hunt -- which spans the Canalside District -- through hints and clues, testing your familiarity with the area (and obviously your ability to think on your feet). There's a beer tent and lots of live music scheduled after, which is how every scavenger hunt should end.
6) Fight for Air Climb, 7:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday in One Seneca Tower (the old HSBC Tower), with a post-climb party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the third floor of Pearl Street Grill and Brewery. Day-of registrations are allowed, which are $50 per participant with an additional $100 in fundraising expected of each.
Comments: Climbing stairs up 37 floors can be a grueling challenge, as the Fight for Air Climb leaves even the most fit specimen with Jello-legs for a few hours (read: days). When you see firefighters doing the climb in full gear, you won't feel quite as sorry for yourself. And hey, the view at the topic is wondrous, the money raised benefits the New York chapter of the American Lung Association and at least you won't have to work out for a few days after. Perks like free Tim Hortons coffee, the help of massage and fitness specialists before the climb, plus free food and drink specials at Pearl Street post-climb add to the appeal.
Comments: Electronic dance music haters may say "anyone with a laptop can do it!" and "but all of it's pre-mixed!", but EOTO comprises a musical duo that not only weaves guitar production in with drum-and-bass, but also refuses to use anything pre-recorded as part of its live set. Here's a photo gallery of EDM artist Excision and his fans in a recent appearance in Town Ballroom, to give you a taste of what to expect Saturday.
8) Buffalo Infringement Festival fundraiser, 8 p.m. Friday in Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St., Buffalo). $5 at the door.
Comments: Here's a fundraiser that won't gut you financially -- it's only five bucks to see the Infringement Festival's new poster unveiled, hear music from FolkFaces, Second Trip and Soul Butchers, as well as witness the Buffalo Burlesque Collective. Here's what BuffaBLOG has written about FolkFaces: "Walking a more roots-driven line down the broad paths of bluegrass, jazz, ragtime, and more, the folks of FolkFaces tout an array of instrumental talent. Dobro, banjo, upright bass, washboard and harmonica, just to name a few."
9) Pie Party in Hot Mama's Canteen (12 Military Road), 6 to 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. Free entry and drink specials.
Comments: With all of the St. Patrick's Day events hogging this weekend, it's easy to forget that Saturday is Pi Day (you know, 3.14 = March 14). Hot Mama's Canteen in Black Rock is one of the few local Pi Day celebrations, where Piehole Whiskey and pie-flavored craft-cocktails will recognize the day some call "Christmas for math nerds." (I've never actually heard anyone call it that, come to think of it.)
10) "After America: Wasteland 2015" by Road Less Traveled Productions, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Market Arcade Films and Arts Centre (639 Main St., Buffalo). Tickets range from $15 to $33, and online tickets are sold out for Friday evening's performance.
Comments: Written by Jon Elston and directed by RLTP founder Scott Behrend, "After America" intrigues as a post-apocalyptic thriller. News Arts and Theater Critic Colin Dabkowski calls the production a "different and more local flavor of apocalyptic terror" than AMC's "The Walking Dead." Even the plot -- which hinges on a former waitress, grad student and blogger exploring a post-Americana dystopia -- sounds rather captivating.
(Cursive and Taking Back Sunday have both sold out their respective venues, so that's why they're not listed in the 10.)
Story topics: 107.7/ Alternative Buffalo/ Buffalo Infringement Festival/ community beer works/ EOTO/ Fight for Air Climb/ Irish culture/ Old First Ward/ Old Neighborhood Parade/ parades/ St. Patrick's Day/ The 10