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The 10: Small Business Saturday, Great Lakes ice carving, Polar Express

The World's Largest Disco will likely be the best attended of any event this weekend - except for the home Bills game, of course - but the throwback dance party sold out earlier this week, making it ineligible for inclusion in The 10. We have rules here.

But, if you're really excited about the World's Largest Disco, be sure to read Mary Kunz Goldman's entry in 100 Things Every Western New Yorker Should Do At Least Once.

1) Small Business Saturday Market, 3 to 7 p.m. Nov. 26 in Tommyrotter Distillery (500 Seneca St.). Free to attend.

Commentary: Small Business Saturday is not isolated to the event at Tommyrotter, but the Larkinville distillery does boast a nice collection of vendors and some quality perks. Wrafterbuilt, Peg's Hardware, Butter Block, Alpine Made and Buffalo Black Book are among those posting up, while Tommyrotter's tasting room, with an appearance from Public Espresso + Coffee, will be open beginning at noon.

Free cocktails from Vera Pizzeria and a visit from OG Woodfire are additional perks. For another Small Business Saturday event in Buffalo, check out what Rise Collaborative is up to. It eventually involves french fries and gravy. Horsefeathers Winter Market has plans, too.

[Related: 10 things to do and places to visit when you're home for the holidays]


2) Great Lakes International Ice Carving Competition and opening of Festival of Lights, 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 25 through 27 in Hamburg Fairgrounds (5600 McKinley Pkwy., Hamburg). Admission is $25 per carload and can be purchased at the gate.

Commentary: What happens when you combine 11 teams of two and challenge each team to chisel a cohesive design from 2,600 pounds of ice over a span of three days? Presumably magic, but we're not really sure, so the Great Lakes International Ice Carving Competition - the GLIICC, to us - is worth checking out.

[Related: Browse Robert Kirkham's gallery from 2015]

The ice-carving event dovetails with the opening of the annual Festival of Lights, where the Fairgrounds are transformed into a winter wonderland, replete with holiday characters and ornery reindeer. It remains open for the next two weekends, then Dec. 16 through 23.

A finished product - a fish! - from the 2015 Great Lakes Ice Carving Competition. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News file photo)

A finished product - a fish! - from the 2015 Great Lakes Ice Carving Competition. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News file photo)


3) Well-Rounded People's Party, 10 p.m. Nov. 25 in New Skateland Arena (33 E. Ferry St.). $10 to get in.

Commentary: The WASH Project, which uses art as a unifier among communities and actively supports the growing Burmese population of the West Side, hosts a skate party in the New Skateland Arena on Friday as a means of "decompressing" from election stress while showing "love and inclusivity." DJs Cove, Sike and Trev Thorne will spin, which meshes nicely with rollerskating.


4) Medina Railroad Polar Express, departure times for the hourlong ride are 11:45 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:15, 3:30, 4:45 and 6 on Nov. 26 and Nov. 27 from Medina Railroad Museum (530 West Ave.). Tickets are $50 for first-class seating and $35 for coach. Children under 2 ride for free. Rides continue for the first three weekends in December.

Commentary: Roll up to Medina for a family-friendly train bonanza, as families will enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, Christmas carols, storytelling and a chance to hang out with a Santa that isn't plagued by motion sickness. The difference between first class and coach is that the former receives a ceramic Polar Express mug, as well as whipped cream on their hot chocolate.


5) Lancaster Christmasville Fire Truck Parade, 6 p.m. Nov. 26 at Lancaster High School, parade route heads south on Central Avenue to Broadway. Free to watch.

Commentary: The visual spectacular in the Southtowns drew 144 emergency vehicles decked out in Christmas lights last year, which is awe-inspiring if you're a kid (or an adult keen on shiny objects - guilty!). From Corfu to Wales to North Amherst, Kenilworth and even the Niagara Falls Air Force Base, decorated trucks will descend upon Lancaster HS for a 5 p.m. lineup.

A cast of local media and event organizers will judge the participating trucks for their holiday decor. The event is a major part of the annual Lancaster tree-lighting ceremony, which begins at 7.


6) Bootleg Kombucha's first anniversary, 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 26 at 1250 Niagara St. Free to attend, and beverages and food will be available for purchase.

Commentary: Congratulations to Bootleg Kombucha, which celebrates a year of existence as well as a new location inside 1250 Niagara St. The small business, predicated on fermented tea and active cultures that boost the immune system, previously operated out of a window inside Horsefeathers' winter market.

Live music from Bill Smith of Ten Cent Howl, a spirited kombucha cocktail competition involving local breweries and distilleries and food from Ru's Pierogi and Marco's Italian Restaurant are some of the perks. For more on what kombucha is, go here.


7) Black Tiger Sex Machine, 8 p.m. Nov. 26 at Town Ballroom (681 S. Main St.). Tickets are $20 in advance or $24 at the door.

Commentary: I swear, I didn't just include this event because of the band's name, even if it is evocative. BTSM is actually a Canadian trio specializing in dark electronic music, memorable for their black tiger helmets worn during each performance. Black Tiger Sex Machine's well-tuned light show augments the masks even further.


8) Christmas in Ellicottville, noon to 7 p.m. Nov. 25, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 26 and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 27. Free to attend.

Commentary: Santa must be shaking his head and slugging gingerbread protein shakes at the thought of his weekend schedule in Ellicottville, because the big fellow dressed in red will be omnipresent.

You can peek at the full schedule here, but the weekend is littered with family-friendly activities like horse and wagon rides, face painting, s'mores and hot chocolate, two performances by the Ellicottville Sound Chorus and a tree lighting on Friday night.


9) "Home Alone," 7 p.m. Nov. 25 and 26; "It's a Wonderful Life," 11:30 a.m. Nov. 26 and 27 in North Park Theatre (1428 Hertel Ave.). Tickets are $5 for the latter; prices not listed for "Home Alone."

Commentary: Fans of Harry, Marv and Mr. Potter - or even the protagonists! - can head to Hertel all weekend to catch one of these holiday classic movies. "Home Alone" will even remind Macaulay Culkin himself of better days, while "It's a Wonderful Life" proved popular at the theater during the last holiday season.


10) Steam Donkeys' 25th Anniversary Hootenanny, 8:30 p.m. Nov. 25 in Sportsmen's Tavern (326 Amherst St.). Admission is $10 at the door.

Commentary: Back in April, News contributor Michael Farrell asked Buck Quigley, lead singer of the Steam Donkeys, what kept his Buffalo-based band going for so long. Quigley's answer: "Well, being alive, for one. That’s important. Not disbanding. Other than that, it’s probably friendship, respect, things like that.

"It helps that we built up a big catalog of original songs early on, so we have a deep well to draw from. Now, every show is different and we improvise a lot of banter to have fun with the audience."

[Related: 10 Buffalo expat bands performing locally over the holidays]

Given its support for the Steam Donkeys and other alt-country bands over the years, Black Rock's Sportsmen's Tavern is the perfect locale for Friday's anniversary party.

Email Ben Tsujimoto, "Buzz, your girlfriend...", at


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