Commentary: Whether you're OK with being called a wine and beer enthusiast or not, wine and beer enthusiasts will converge upon a spacious venue on Dick Road in Depew for two separate beverage-focused events.
While no ticket that overlaps the two, each gathering is broken into two sessions. Guests are given a complimentary wine glass or beer stein, then can mosey about between 15 wineries or 20 breweries present. Additional activities include corn hole, Giant Jenga, ping pong and Rummy.
Revisit Smiles from the 2017 Winter Brewfest, shot by Don Nieman here.
2) Alden Winterfest, 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 2, 8 a.m. to midnight Feb. 3 at various venues in Alden, including the village hall, community center and town park. Some, but not all of the events require a fee.
Commentary: The 10 hardly ever makes it to Alden - we usually get stuck somewhere on endless Bullis Road - but the two-day Winterfest would give us sufficient reason to make the jaunt.
The event is packed with activities for both adults and families, with highlights including food trucks and fireworks on Friday, then a hockey shootout, ice skating, euchre tournament, Snowball Dance and fiercely competitive box races on Saturday. Here's the full schedule, and a map below.
Commentary: Fill Saturday night with live music, as four bands - Buffalo's The Leones and dreambeaches, Richmond, Va.'s Minor Poet and Rochester's The Demos - take the stage in intimate Babeville.
The Virginia visitor, Andrew Carter, has a compelling backstory, spending two months recording every instrumental part on debut album "And How!" Read about more of this week's "3 can't-miss shows," below.
4) For the Love of Allentown, 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 2 in venues throughout Allentown. Free to attend.
Commentary: The start of the 2018 schedule for Allentown First Fridays, For the Love of Allentown - inspired by approaching Valentine's Day - is an evening where neighborhood businesses will remain open late and offer specials.
Among the attractions are the re-opening of Pine Apple Company, now at 65 Allen St., as well as a collection of Haitian art at Buffalo Big Print (78 Allen St.), from which proceeds will benefit the University at Buffalo Jacobs Institute's service trip to Haiti.
From a food and drink standpoint, Billy Club will offer $8 cocktails and $5 beer-and-shot combinations, while the Melting Point will sell heart-shaped grilled cheeses for just $1. Full list of participants can be found here.
Commentary: Critics might consider broomball to be a remarkably dumbed-down version of ice hockey, but it's more demanding than they think. The plastic sticks make solid contact a challenge, while balance on less-than-perfect ice is a chore within itself. It's a quality spectator sport, especially if you consider the possible bloopers.
Healthy Buffalo hosts a 6-vs.-6 coed tournament on the Ice at Canalside on Sunday, with Feb. 1 set as the final date to register a team. Two women must be on the ice for all teams at all times. Teams are guaranteed five 25-minute games, and the tournament will conclude well before the Super Bowl kicks off.
6) Lumagination, 6 p.m. Feb. 1-3 in the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens (2655 South Park Ave.). Tickets are $14 for adults, but cheaper for students, seniors and kids, and can be purchased here.
Commentary: The Botanical Gardens' vibrant exhibition, in tandem with Luminated Landscapes and some help from University at Buffalo students, is on display only through the end of February, and on specific dates at that.
News staff photographer Sharon Cantillon gives you an idea what to expect from her gallery, right, but the sights are worth beholding in person. Here's a Smiles gallery from the Lumagination launch party, too.
7) "Light, Line, Color and Space," 6 p.m. Feb. 3 in UB Anderson Gallery (1 Martha Jackson Place, near Kenmore Avenue and Engelwood). Free to attend.
Commentary: More than 50 artists will have their works of sculpture, painting and photography on display at the Anderson Gallery, beginning Saturday night and running through April 15. The exhibition is meant to celebrate the highlights of the last five years of gifts to the University at Buffalo gallery's permanent collection.
8) M&T First Fridays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 2 in Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Ave.). Admission to the museum is free, although there is a cost required for some of the smaller events.
Commentary: While activities like gallery talks and kid-focused run throughout the day, the two standout options are a free East Coast swing dance performance and lesson by Lihann Jones of Ballroom Revolution, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., as well as the Art of Drink ($10 general admission, $5 for members), showcasing wine from the Winery of Ellicottville, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
9) Allen Street Poutine eating contest, 2 p.m. Feb. 3 at 242 Allen St. Cost to participate is $20, and a few spots remain open.
Commentary: Two waves of 12 competitors - a few spots still remain - will try to crush as much poutine as they can in a five-minute window, with half of the total entry fee doled out to the winner. The other half will support Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
While the monetary award is alluring, the pure joy of crushing foes in a fries-gravy-and-cheese-guzzling sprint sounds memorable, too.
10) Bentley's Big Game Brew Bash, 4 p.m. Feb. 4 in Thin Man Brewery (492 Elmwood Ave.). Free to attend.
Commentary: Watch the Eagles confound the Patriots with 103.3 The Edge personality Bentley, and enjoy $5 Thin Man drafts and food specials in the process. A 55" LG 4K Smart TV will be given away, too. To reserve a table, call 923-4100.
For a look at another Thin Man party, check out the Smiles gallery from the Bills' first playoff game since 1999.