For several years, the unofficial start date of Buffalo's wild warm-weather event schedule was the M*A*S*H* Bash, later renamed the Buffalo Bash, in the first week of June. But in light of that event changing hands and moving back this year, and the abundance of quality events slated for this weekend, we'd argue May 17-19 should become the new unofficial summer kickoff.
From the Hamburg Music Festival and Nickel City Con to Full Circle Fest and the SkyRide, there's so much action in the Buffalo area. Here are our top picks for the weekend:
Hamburg Music Festival, 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at Memorial Park and venues throughout Hamburg. A $10 wristband is required, may be purchased in advance, and allows for access to the main stage, all venues with live music and rides in the shuttle.
Memorial Park is the headquarters for the Hamburg Music Festival, with a full day of music headlined by Geno McManus and Stoneflower, The Leroy Townes Band and Funktional Flow. Food trucks, a cash bar and a kids zone (2 to 6 p.m.) add to the atmosphere in the park, but the musical revelry reverberates all around the village, including a few non-restaurants/cafes in Staub Square and Rise Fitness. See the full schedule.
This video, published a year ago, introduces the Hamburg Music Festival's founders, in playful fashion. Here are Smiles from last year's event.
One of the final events of Farm to Pint Week is hosted by East Aurora brewery 42 North, with a special focus on the path from "plant to pint to plate." For the last four years, the brewery has sent spent grain to a local farmer, Gubi (Gabor Bertalan), to use as animal feed - an extension of the farm-to-pint process not often highlighted.
Saturday, 42 North will celebrate the process with a pig roast, beer samplings from 15 local breweries and one meadery, live music and a souvenir sampling glass.
SkyRide, on-site registration, for $50, is at LaSalle Park from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 17-18; 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. Sunday, May 19; full loop begins at 9 a.m.
GObike Buffalo's annual ride has three separate loops: an 18-mile full loop, which includes the Skyway, Kensington and Scajaquada, or shorter loops that traverse the Skyway only (10 miles) and the Kensington and Scajaquada (11 miles). The after party in LaSalle Park is always a sweaty mass of fun.
The hashtag #BiketheHighways says a lot about GObike's approach to transportation and sustainability. Take a look back at Smiles from last year's SkyRide for a sense of what to expect.
Nickel City Con, 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 17; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 18; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin St.). Daily costs range between $20-$30, while a three-day pass costs $55.
Get ready for three days of celebrities, comic book artists, movie memorabilia and much more at the annual Nickel City Con. Even though the list of guests has been in flux leading up to the event, The News' Toni Ruberto details the characters expected to be in attendance, plus the offshoot screenings associated.
"Boondock Saints" is a great movie for viewers who can stand a lot of violence. A LOT of violence. The plot isn't overly complicated, but there are many scenes where gangsters are crushed in epic, nonchalant fashion.
The screening of the movie at North Park Theatre is presented by Nickel City Con, and actor Sean Patrick Flanery - who plays Conner in the film - will engage in a Q&A after the showing. We're sure he's much more peaceful in real life.
Hospice is crucial to end-of-life care, and few degrees separate most Buffalonians and the local organization. Sunday's Canalside walk - which can be done in 5K or 1-mile lengths - allows participants to cherish lost loved ones who've received hospice treatment, or those with family members in hospice care currently. A post-walk picnic and awards ceremony add a heartfelt cap to the event.
Sneaker Ball for Beau Fleuve, 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at the Imagine Event Center (71 Military Road). Admission is $20 in advance, closing at 6:30 p.m. May 17. Tickets will be available at the door for $25.
The inaugural Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Foundation Gala pairs formal attire with sneakers in the Imagine Event Center. A night of "art, fashion and urban philanthropy" for inner-city youth is expected, with Billie Essco and Courtney Hill acting as hosts. A silent auction, live performances and more entertainment are slated for the evening.
SpaceFest, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at Buffalo Museum of Science (1020 Humboldt Parkway). Cost is $15 for adults, $10 for children and free for Museum of Science members; here are the ticket details.
This might surprise you, but this weekend marks the first-ever SpaceFest hosted by the Buffalo Museum of Science. Perks of the event include solar viewing on the roof using a variety of solar telescopes, planetarium shows, space-related activities with museum staff and discussions with the Buffalo Astronomical Association.
Also consider Science After Hours: SpaceFest on Friday, which costs $16, is exclusively focused on adults and gives rooftop access for celestial viewing. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will offer sliders and sides, while beer and wine will be available for purchase.
Buffalo Field of Artisan and Craft Dreams, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at Fontana's Grove (2299 Clinton St.). Free to attend.
Saturday's market in Fontana's Grove - which boasts a pavilion to protect from potential rain - is limited to only handmade crafts and gifts, with an emphasis on local vendors. Food and drinks will be available at this family friendly event, a seasonal market production by Teddy C. Hanes.
Buffalo Porchfest, 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at houses throughout the Elmwood Village. Free to attend.
There are two tools useful for Saturday's grassroots music festival in the Elmwood Village: A map and a list of performers. Since we're suckers for a good band name, here are our top three from the list: The Buttered Goods, Houndstooth Hobo, and Russian Hands and Roman Fingers, with honorable mention to Dark Sarcasm.
Porchfest's premise is simple: keep the map open on your phone, walk around the village, stop at various porches and enjoy live music.
5 rapid-fire events worthy of note:
Sold out: "Dear Evan Hansen" at Shea's. Read the review of the musical production.
5 events to look forward to next week
Passion Pit in Rapids Theatre
Dark Star Orchestra in Town Ballroom
Food Truck Tuesday at Larkin Square
Buffalo River Fest Park Summer Concert Series kickoff
Templeton Landing patio opening party