1) SkyRide, day-of registration begins at 6 a.m., with bicyclists taking part in the City Loop departing at 8 a.m., then the Skyway Loop leaving at 8:25 on May 20 from LaSalle Park (intersection of Porter Avenue and AmVets Drive). Register from 4 to 8 p.m. May 18 and 19 for $40, then day-of for $50.
Commentary: The Skyway's closures have been a thorny issue for drivers over the last few weeks, but Sunday morning's annual bike ride for GObike Buffalo presents a reason to look fondly upon what Colin Dabkowski (among others) has called a "concrete monstrosity." What a view!
Two loops, which both go over the Skyway at different intervals, are available for bicyclists, with the 18-mile City Loop and 10-mile Skyway Loop the options. A post-ride festival in LaSalle Park, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., features mountain bike trials, a BMX Jam and Reddy Bike demos, plus food and drinks. See the full schedule here.
Commentary: Stroll through the Buffalo Zoo to treasure prominent Buffalo-born businesses, from breweries to 55 artisans to 25 food trucks to two solid musical acts: XOXO, a lively local pop cover group, and the Keith James Band.
Plus, the zoo's animals might be anxious to impress the swarms of visitors (or they might not care; I don't know what happens in the minds of animals). Look back at last year's Smiles gallery, to the right, and hope it doesn't rain on Friday night.
3) Nickel City Con, 4 to 8 p.m. May 18 in Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin St.). Admission is $15 in advance here. The festival continues from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 19 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 20. Saturday tickets run for $20 in advance, while Sunday costs $15 ahead of time. Costs rise at the door.
Commentary: Wrestling legend Hulk Hogan - who described a few of his fond memories from bouts in Buffalo in our interview - is perhaps the biggest celebrity headed to Nickel City Con, but others such as Lou Ferrigno ("The Hulk"), Richard Dreyfuss ("Jaws"), Jon Heder ("Napoleon Dynamite") and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett in "Star Wars") have their own appeal.
4) Buffalo Pizza Fest Family Food Affair, noon to 7 p.m. May 19 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Admission is $7 at the door, with food samples available for $1 apiece. A family rate is $10 for 3-5 people.
Commentary: Here's a new event that took off on Facebook, exceeding 10,000 people interested; the first iteration of the event was postponed for months due to the need for a larger venue, the event page explained.
Awesome Buffalo, essentially a Facebook page attempting to organize pro-Buffalo food events, presents a family-focused pizza and taco party on Saturday in RiverWorks. There's no list of vendors and precious few other details, but pizza and tacos seem to be big enough selling points.
5) South Buffalo Walk for Hope, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 19 in Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo. The walk is free, but a $5 or $10 donation is encouraged; the money will go to local mental health groups chosen by families affected by depression-related deaths or accidental overdoses.
Commentary: Mental health is a serious topic that remains tough to grapple with, and the subject hits close to home for many throughout the area. A collection of affected families in South Buffalo, including former Buffalo News sales representative Joe Camizzi and his wife, Susan, began the Walk for Hope in 2016, and the event returns to Cazenovia Park for a third year on Saturday.
The 1.5-mile walk begins at 11 a.m., with on-site registration beginning two hours prior. The News' Scott Scanlon wrote about the event's origin in the post below.
6) Hospice Memorial Walk, day-of registration at 9 a.m., walk begins at 11 a.m. May 20 at Canalside (44 Prime St.). Individual registration is $40, while kids ages 12 and under can participate for free. Online registration has closed.
Commentary: A 5K walk or 1-mile "fun walk" (hey, the longer walk can be fun, too!) are the two choices for Sunday's event that raises funds for Hospice, a foundation that cares for and educates those with life-threatening illnesses, not just the elderly. A post-walk picnic, catered by Wegmans, at Canalside is a solid way to enjoy the beginning of a Sunday afternoon.
In the fundraising efforts so far, Hospice has raised roughly $215,000 of its $310,000.
Commentary: Quidditch, the sport played on flying broomsticks in the Harry Potter series, will be the theme of this Chippewa Street bar crawl Saturday. Drink specials, a commemorative mug and admission into the participating venues will be available to even the Hufflepuffs of the world. Harry Potter entire is encouraged, as you might have anticipated.
Drivers are encouraged to be mindful of stumbling Snapes on Saturday.
8) Buffalo Porchfest, 1 to 6 p.m. May 19 at locations throughout the Elmwood Village. Shows are free to attend; find the full schedule here.
Commentary: Craving acoustic on Norwood? What about Americana on Ripley Place? Those combinations and many more will take place Saturday afternoon, as the Elmwood Village Association presents its annual grassroots music festival, Porchfest. Bryant, Claremont, Richmond, St. James Place, Highland and Ashland are among the streets that'll ring with local tunes.
Witty Tarbox, The Buffalo Brass Machine, The Spin Wires, Pine Fever and Marigold are bands The News has written about recently that have sets scheduled.
Commentary: When Every Time I Die has a break from touring, lead singer Keith Buckley often returns to his hometown and jams with Soul Patch, a Buffalo-based side project. Over the years, the '90s alternative cover band has cultivated a rather raucous following - Friday's show in Iron Works is on pace to sell out.
Soul Patch's 2015 show on Beggar's Night stands out as one of its more memorable shows - here are the Smiles and performance shots.
Commentary: The Saucies and Dollies both captured wins during the Queen City Roller Girls' house league season, but they weren't enough to overcome the regular season champion Alley Kats, who automatically advance to the QCRG Cup Championship on June 1.
The Kats' foe will be determined at a Friday playoff bout; in their last meeting, the Saucies downed the Dollies, 187-142.
BONUS: Farm to Pint 2018, noon to 5 p.m. May 20 in Hamburg Brewing Company (6553 Boston State Road, Hamburg). Cost is $30 pre-sale here or $40 day-of. Limited tickets are available - read more about what's happening in Farm to Pint Week, below.