We are loathe to say goodbye to summer (especially since spying cinnamon scented pine cones and Halloween candy in the stores).
Summer technically ends Sept. 22, yet we begrudgingly acknowledge Labor Day as the unofficial finale. Here are a few fun and food events near and far to keep the good vibrations going.
The Chautauqua Food and Film Festival at the Chautauqua Institution closes out its weeklong events Aug. 23-24 with demonstrations at the Bestor Plaza stage. Enjoy food truck fare and food vendors. Movies continue at the Chautauqua Cinema. Films run at 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6:40 p.m. Gate pass prices in effect for the event. Films are $11.
Ru's Pierogi Flight Night happens at Flying Bison Brewery, (840 Seneca St.) Aug. 24. Get a flight of four beers and four pierogi for $15; two flights of four beers and two flights of four pierogi for $25. Return from 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 2 for the Tour de Cask, a fundraiser for the Buffalo Beer Goddesses Cicerone Scholarship Fund for WNY Women.
Egyptian Festival, opens at 4 p.m. Aug. 24 and noon Aug. 25, 26. St. Mary and St. Moses Coptic Orthodox Church, 350 Wheatfield St., North Tonawanda. Explore the Egyptian culture through Middle Eastern food, family and kids activities, Egyptian art and souvenirs, plus church tours at this 10th annual festival. Free.
Scharfs German Restaurant and Bar (2683 Clinton St.) BierFest starts at 3 p.m. Aug. 25 with $7 admission. There are free beer tastings. Food and drink available for purchase. Music by the Auslanders from 7 to 10 p.m.
Festival of India, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 25 at Canalside. This festival celebrates Indian arts, culture and heritage with Indian food, traditional Indian and Bollywood dancing, plus face painting for the kids, henna and family yoga.
Steampunk Festival, 5 to 10 p.m. Aug. 25 at Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, 10609 Ridge Road. Take a quick jaunt to Medina and get into s for this festival that celebrates the creativity of steampunk with interactive experiences and performances by Buffalo Aerial Group, Troupe Nissa for dancing, and, to heat things up a bit Pyromancy.
Ellicottville Brewing (57 Lakeside Dr., Bemus Point) will host an "Ecliptian" Egyptian New Moon Party to celebrate the new moon and beer on Aug. 25. Battling DJs begin at 9 p.m., with prizes for the best costume.
Ukrainian Independence Day Festival on Aug. 26 at the Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center (562 Genesee St.) starts at 1 p.m. Event is free. Along with Ukrainian dancing and crafts, enjoy Ukrainian food, desserts and "Ukrainian/American/Euro" beer.
The Wild Wing Festival (not to be confused with the Buffalo wing) is Aug. 26 at Gooseneck Hill Waterfowl Sanctuary (4067 Townline Road, Delevan). In addition to tours ($2) under the covered aviary to see exotic water birds from around the world, there will be a giant 10-foot rubber ducky. The Colden Mill will serve ribs, pulled pork, hot dogs, barbecued chicken and more. Admission to the festival is $5. The quacky fundraiser starts at noon and goes until 5 p.m.
The Tonawanda Gateway Park Pizza & More Fest takes place 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 30 on Young Street, with promises of more "pizza-ish" items and variety. Free admission, tickets for food and beverages.
The Sunflowers of Sanborn Food Trucks in The Field happens Sept. 1., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 3311 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn. See glorious sunflowers and enjoy delicious food from some favorite food trucks like Dirty Bird Chicken & Waffles, Coyote Cafe and the Cheesecake Guy.
[Read more about the Sunflowers of Sanborn's Year 2 happenings]
The Taste of Niagara Falls is noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 1-2 along Old Falls Street with more than 30 restaurants participating. Tickets for food and beverages.
The German Heritage Festival also happens Sept. 1-2, at Cheektowaga Town Park. Enjoy German food (think sausage platters and sauerbraten), beer (German) and music. Admission is $5.
The big festival of Labor Day weekend is the National Buffalo Wing Festival, Sept. 1-2, opening at noon at Coca Cola Field in downtown Buffalo. Admission is $5, and food tickets are $1 each.
There's plenty of great music still to happen outdoors.
Northwest Jazz Festival, Aug. 24-25 in the Village of Lewiston. This annual event draws thousands of jazz lovers to the picturesque village. Music starts at 5:45 p.m. Aug. 24 and noon on Aug. 25. Veronica Swift and the Benny Green Trio are the headliners on Aug. 24; Elio Villafranca and the Jass Syncopators headline Aug. 25.
In addition to music, enjoy food, wine and art vendors. The concerts are free although this year there is preferred seating option offered for headlining acts for $20 (lewistonjazz.com).
Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Festival, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 26 at Silo City. This is the second year of this festival, returning with a full day of music (30 performers on multiple stages), art installations, cultural exhibits, a silent disco, poetry, comedy and too much else to write here.
What’s great about this fest is its multicultural bent. You’ll hear hip-hop (B.E.N.N.Y., Chae Hawk), R&B (Maya By Name), jazz/funk (Intreprid Travelers), Latin music (RNSM) and rock (Talking in my Sleep) among other genres. There will be a family fun zone, plus food trucks, a vendors village and more.
Boy George and Culture Club, B-52s and Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, 6 p.m. Aug. 28 at Artpark. If summer is all about fun and relaxation, I can't think of a better concert to end the Artpark Tuesdays in the Park Season than with this trio of musical acts. There's sure to be a party atmosphere so put on your dancing shoes.
There’s still time to watch movies under the stars. Not only is the Transit Drive-In open with plans on going as deep into the fall as possible, many of the free movie series around towns are just winding down.
Here’s what’s coming: “Beauty and the Beast,” Aug. 24 at Island Park (5577 Main St., Williamsville); “Shrek,” Aug. 25 at Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park; “Boss Baby,” Aug. 28 at Canalside; “Black Panther,” Aug. 31 as part of Movies in the Meadow in Delaware Park.
Flicks on Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls has two more movies: “Wonder” on Aug. 23 and “Early Man” on Aug. 30. All movies start around dusk.
Summer sailing excursions
Canalside Cocktail Cruises still set sail 6:30-8:30 p.m. Fridays, through September. Cost is $28 per person for cruise and live music. Drinks are cash bar. For adults 21 and older.
The Spirit of Buffalo hosts Wine in the Wind Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m., then 8:30-10:30 p.m. and Craft Brew Cruises 6-8 p.m., Tuesdays. Both events are $42 and 21 and older. Book online or call. Dinner & Sail ($57 adult; $27 12 and under) can be added to any public cruise, with dinner on dry land at Pearl Street Brewery. Call 796-7210 for reservations and availability.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Grand Lady Cruises offers lunch and dinner cruises throughout September (dinner through the first week of October). Lunch boards at 11:30 a.m. with dates before Labor Day of Aug. 25 and Aug. 31. Adults are $45; 12 and younger are $23. Limited availability for dinner cruise ($60 per person) on Aug. 29. Call 873-4630 or go online to book.
Are you a picky person? Meaning do you like to pick fruits? Well, if you find yourself with some time to spare and you'd like to take a ride, you can still U-pick.
Call ahead before heading out, as some seasons are ending (like blueberries), others are going strong (peaches) or just beginning (like fall raspberries and apples).
We recommend Abers Acres (Route 394 Kennedy, 267-2432); Awald Farms (10692 Walnut Ave., North Collins, 337-3162); Becker Farms (3724 Quaker Road, Gasport); Child's Blueberries (3172 Cooper Hill Road, Hinsdale); Greg's U-Pick (9270 Lapp Road, Clarence Center, 741-4239).
Combine a U-pick with luncheon at Hurd Orchards (17260 Ridge Road, Holley; 585-638-8838). It's true farm-to-table dining in a 200-year-old barn. While events continue through the holidays, upcoming events include Butterfly Garden luncheon (Aug. 29); Monarch Fiesta luncheon (Aug. 30) and End of Summer luncheon (Aug. 31). Call (585) 638-8838 for pricing and reservations.
Stretch out summer to the bitter end
Post Labor Day food-ish festivals to keep on your radar include the Niagara County Peach Festival in Lewiston, (Sept. 6-9); Schlachtfest at Spring Garden (Sept. 9); Dozynki Polish Harvest Festival at Corpus Christi Church (Sept. 14-16); the Cuba Garlic Festival (Sept. 15-16) in Cuba, NY; and Southern Tier Brewing Company's Pumkingfest (Sept. 22).