1) T-Mobile Backyard Classic, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 20, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Ice at Canalside (Marine Drive). It's free to spectate, although registration is full.
Commentary: Slide over to Canalside on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy small-sided hockey games featuring both kids and adults. Schedules for the 10th anniversary of the event - which is separate from the Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament - can be found here. Adults play 3-vs.-3 with a goalie protecting a full-size net; spectators will have a minimum of three opportunities to see each team in action.
Proceeds from the tournament benefit the WNY Physically Challenged Youth Sports Organization.
Commentary: Rusty Nickel returns its popular Sausage Fest on Saturday, in tandem with local sausage veterans Mineo & Sapio, inviting proud local grill masters to enter for free - but register here - and compete to win Best in Show, Best Venison Sausage, Best Breakfast Sausage and Best Sausage and Beer Pairing.
The brewery's line of beers, a bonfire, games and more are perks of an event that runs deep into the night. Get Linked, a sausage and meat company based alongside Rusty Nickel on Seneca Street, will make its anticipated debut as well.
3) Niagara Icewine Festival, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 19-28 at wineries across southern Ontario, focused on Niagara-on-the-Lake. A Discovery Pass runs for $45 and may be purchased here, while special events such as a Sparkle & Ice Gala (8 to 11 p.m. Jan. 19) and a cocktail competition (9 to 11 p.m. Jan. 20) also are scheduled.
Commentary: Embrace a sweeter blend of wine at Niagara-on-the-Lake, which highlights its deep roster of wineries and also presents a few formal events.
News contributor Emeri Krawczyk dropped by the festival last year, and many of her wine takes and food pairings remain relevant a year later. A Discovery Pass entitles the purchaser to eight experience vouchers in total, which typically run for $10 individually.
Commentary: A buzz has built surrounding Snapcase's downtown show, as the '90s hardcore band somehow has preserved its on-stage
lunacy verve despite disbanding roughly 10 years ago.
It's possible to likely that Saturday's reunion show will sell out before doors open; peek back at photos of fans and Snapcase, right, from the group's performance last year, then read more about the gig via Michael Farrell and Mac McGuire.
Commentary: From throwback hardcore in Snapcase to jazz classics by renowned trumpet player Byron Stripling, a variety of concert options abound for Saturday night. Those who attended Stripling's performance in June 2015 will remember the feud he started with Syracuse, which The News' Mary Kunz Goldman described, below:
"[Stripling] also started what could be a permanent feud with Syracuse. It started with a story about how he was singing in Syracuse, and a guy in the front row was snoring. That story escalated through the night until it was established that anyone from Syracuse was stupid and not up to the sophistication of Buffalo.
"'For anyone from Syracuse, that’s a piano,' Stripling said, pointing. 'Bet you didn’t ever see something that big that didn’t have ‘John Deere’ written on it."
6) Winter Wonderland, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 20 in Hampton Inn (49 Olean St., East Aurora). The event is free, but attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable item to donate to Child & Family Services' Haven House.
Commentary: Drive carefully to East Aurora for a family event in the Hampton Inn. A whirlwind of activity is planned: Pony rides, a bounce house, a balloon artist, costumed characters, exotic animals, line dancing, a photo booth, movies and popcorn courtesy of Aurora Theatre, and much more will be stationed throughout the inn. The gallery to the right is a related event, hosted at the Adam's Mark, in 2016.
7) Take advantage of local theater, various venues and costs throughout the Buffalo area.
Commentary: The Gusto print cover story this week is a roundup of the best local theater for the 2018 season, ranging from shows at Paul Robeson Theatre to Shea's production of "Waitress" in early February.
News critic Colin Dabkowski lends feedback on several of these shows, plus teases a few coming highlights. Don't miss the card presentation of the theater season, too, if you'd rather digest information visually.
8) Lake Effect Furies' soup and chili cook-off, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in Appliance Associates of Buffalo (200 Amherst St.). Cost is $10 and may be purchased at the door. Prospective competitors are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commentary: Whether it's red-hot with spice, jam-packed with vegetables or tweaked subtly with chocolate, chili is one of the premier winter dishes, and hearty soups are not far behind.
The Lake Effect Furies, the travel team of the Queen City Roller Girls, hosts a cook-off fundraiser on Saturday night in the venue formerly known as Artisan Kitchens & Baths in Black Rock.
Attendees double as judges, awarding the winners in the following categories: Best Soup, Best Chili and Best Vegetarian.
9) Winter Blast, 11 a.m. Jan. 20 in Martin Luther King Jr. Park (778 Best St.). Free to attend.
Commentary: Temperatures permitting, the ice at Martin Luther King Jr. Park will open for skating on Saturday, where BlueCross BlueShield and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy tag team a family-friendly event that includes free skate rentals, balloon art, face painting, activities with the Buffalo Museum of Science and free refreshments from a slew of local vendors. That was one tremendously long sentence.
Commentary: There's debate over the origin of the cliche "a picture is worth a thousand words," but when it comes to former Black Flag frontman-turned-travel photographer Henry Rollins, it's a suitable description of his work.
The multi-talented performer, who recently was a guest actor on "Portlandia," will tell some of the stories behind his archive of images on Sunday in downtown Buffalo.
*Get a Clue, an annual event at the Buffalo Museum of Science, sold out in advance, or else it would have been included in The 10.