1) Hamburg Music Festival, 2 p.m. to midnight May 14 in Memorial Park and the Village of Hamburg. $12 in cash at the event gets you a wristband for all of the music; you can find the full music schedule here.
Commentary: Festival organizers did an impressive job curating the music lineup, as a wealth of different genres -- focused on local talent -- are featured in the daylong event. From heralded Tommy Z to Black Rock Zydeco to Gravy, sounds of all kinds will resonate around 14075.
Beer, wine and hard cider will be available for purchase in Memorial Park, but be warned that open container laws will be enforced for outdoor spaces beyond that area. Several food trucks will vend in the park, too.
[Read: 10 minutes with Tommy Z]
Commentary: India Pale Ale fanatics, unite and rejoice! All 12 local breweries will present IPAs to a thirsty crowd on Saturday, which should prove just how different flavors can be within one genre of beer.
Plus, you can drink as much of that IPA as you'd like over the four-hour window, just in case you can't decide whether you like 42 North or Community Beer Works' offerings more. You can read more about the coming beer-focused events in Kevin Wise's weekly Beer Matters series.
3) Squeaky Wheel's 3oth anniversary, 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. May 13 in 617 Main St., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 14 in Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.).
Commentary: Squeaky Wheel has a two-pronged approach -- its own outside-the-box art installations and events, as well as community engagement through education on film and digital media.
Although former executive director Jax DeLuca has moved on to a new challenge, the organization has moved to a new space -- inside the Market Arcade building -- but continues to "celebrate freedom of expression and diversity of voice," as News Arts Critic Colin Dabkowski relays here.
4) Echo Art Fair, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 14, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 15 in old American Axle Plant (1001 East Delavan Ave.). Cost is $5, although there's a pre-party on May 13 for $50.
Commentary: Sometimes taking a year off can be a good thing, as Echo Art Fair seems reorganized and refreshed. Dabkowski broke down the art festival's move into a new location, which fair founder Frits Abell hopes will both diversify the crowd and spotlight an architectural treasure.
The collection of artists has expanded well beyond the bounds of Western New York, too, as only one-third hail from the surrounding area.
5) Holland's Tulip Festival, 6 t0 10 p.m. May 13, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 14 in the Town Parking Lot (near Holland Town Hall, 47 Pearl St., Holland).
Commentary: Focused around the theme "Small Town, Big Dreams," the rural town of Holland (roughly 4,000 people) celebrates its annual flowery festival with a slew of activities.
The rides and midway are at the heart of the evening activities, but a Saturday morning 5K, a used book sale, wine tasting, Krolick's chicken barbecue and the Big Tulip Festival Parade are among the smaller happenings on the schedule, which you can see in full here.
Commentary: It's worth remembering that, unlike many runs around the Buffalo area, national organization Color Me Rad 5K is very much a for-profit venture, although it does donate a portion of its proceeds to a charity.
With fluorescent cornstarch cascading through the air, showering runners in white shirts, Color Me Rad runs are wildly popular among participants, especially for the contrast of the before-and-after photos. If anything, it's one of the most cheerful, least competitive races you'll find.
Commentary: Buffalo's semi-pro soccer team opens its 2016 season with a home match against natural rival Rochester, which will play its first-ever match in the National Premier Soccer League. FC Buffalo blends local talent with a collection of NCAA Division I players, often resulting in an entertaining performance.
8) Shaw Festival, all weekend in Festival Theatre (10 Queen's Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake), Court House Theatre (26 Queen's St.) and Royal George Theatre (85 Queen St.). Prices vary by performance, time and other specifications, but U.S. residents are encouraged to pay using credit card to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate.
Commentary: Shaw Festival's artistic director Jackie Maxwell will step down after this season, but Dabkowski thinks she'll go out with a bang.
The News Theater Critic touches on the basics of the season, which kicks off with "Alice In Wonderland" and "Uncle Vanya," while laying out the festival's details here. You can also read about Tim Carroll, who will take over Maxwell's position on Dec. 1.
9) Browse The Buffalo News' food truck guide, various locations at various times.
Commentary: Food trucks in Buffalo have exploded in popularity since Lloyd Taco Truck debuted in 2010. Now, nearly 50 trucks roam the streets, serving breakfast through dinner and almost every cuisine imaginable, except Greek, which is odd.
For this week's Gusto cover story, contributor Elizabeth Carey and the Buffalo.com staff unveiled a guide to all of the city's food trucks, homing in on owners, popular dishes, frequent locations and more. (Also, Go, Whalers!)
Commentary: I've always had a soft spot for OGRE, the former Buffalo artist who's continued creating in Cincinnati. Maybe it's just his love-able broken prose. OGRE's new exhibit, entitled "HAREUHTICKS," depicts counter-cultural personalities from Galileo to Miley Cyrus.
Pittsburgh's John Pena writes letters to the ocean, which Dabkowski notes has been unresponsive thus far. There's always hope (have you ever put your ear up to a conch shell? Be careful, because sometimes there's actually a disgruntled conch inside).
Email Ben Tsujimoto, whose nickname was once "Disgruntled Conch," at firstname.lastname@example.org