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The Weekend in WNY: A dazzling three days of events

This is an elite concert and festival weekend in Buffalo, as it's entirely reasonable to hit four major happenings in the span of three days.

For those who acted fast for the sold-out Taste of Country, that accounts for Friday night, with a prospective doubleheader of Juneteenth and Thin Man's Summer Solstice a diverse selection on Saturday. Cap the weekend with Death Cab For Cutie at Rockin' at the Knox, and it's hard to plan a more epic time away from work.

Let's look at little deeper at this weekend's events; also, don't forget that Sunday is Father's Day. If you haven't subscribed to the News' email newsletters yet, here are the options.

Rockin' at the Knox 2019, 4 to 11 p.m. Sunday, June 16 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Ave.). Cost is $60 in advance, or $65 day of show.

The profile of reincarnate Rockin' at the Knox has soared since its 2017 return, with Beck last year and Death Cab For Cutie coming Sunday. The only major concert at Buffalo's most prestigious art gallery is worth the lofty admission, especially with solid support in Phosphorescent, teased by News contributor Michael Farrell as a band with whom you'll fall in love, and Tank and the Bangas.

Frontman Ben Gibbard is the band's maestro, perhaps known best for the ethereal album "Transatlanticism" in 2003; Death Cab's most recent release, "Thank You For Today," was dedicated to Scott Hutchison, the frontman for Frightened Rabbit who died last May.

[Related: Smiles at Rockin' at the Knox 2017 | Review of Beck's performance]


Thin Man Summer Solstice, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at Thin Man Brewery (492 Elmwood Ave.). Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door; VIP has sold out.

The brewery's main summer spectacle shuts down Elmwood Avenue between West Utica and Hodge for a whirlwind of local live music, craft beer and comfort food. At least 11 bands are scheduled to grace the outdoor stage, including Humble Braggers, Uncle Ben's Remedy, Witty Tarbox and others, while an outdoor bar will help keep up with demand.

Allen Burger Venture is the guest food vendor again, an alternative to Thin Man's home kitchen, with sumptuous burgers on the menu.


Juneteenth Festival, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 15, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 16 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park (1517 Genesee St.). Free to attend.

This African-American cultural celebration caps Sankofa Days, an eight-day span spent quietly reflecting on struggles plaguing the community. The time of introspection is a healthy annual look at African-Americans' progress in Buffalo and the United States as a whole, but at Juneteenth's root is pride in identity and community.

There's a little of everything at Juneteenth: a colorful parade (11 a.m. Saturday, begins at Genesee Street and Moselle), vendors of all kinds, live music, a food court, kids activities and tours of the underground railroad.


Wine About 2019, 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at Ten Thousand Vines, Alchemy and the Southtowns Chamber of Commerce; with tents near the roundabout. Cost is $15 in advance, $20 day-of; includes a souvenir wine tasting glass.

Small tents will be set up near the roundabout at Main and Buffalo streets in Hamburg, with wine vendors from around the area pouring samples and bringing bottles for purchase.

The village's wine vendors - Alchemy and Ten Thousand Vines - will also be hot spots for the event, and the official post-event party will be held at the former, at 20 Union St., with live music by the Alison Pipitone Band.


Buffalo FieriCon, noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 15 along Hertel Avenue, including the Garage, Public House, Gramma Mora's, Gecko's, Sterling. No cost to take part in the crawl.

Spiky bleach-blonde hair, flashy sports cars and exuberant personalities will fill Hertel Avenue on Saturday, as "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" host Guy Fieri is the model for North Buffalo bar-goers to imitate. Fieri is a frequent target for mockery among the food community, but his restaurant explorations around America have highlighted strong businesses and enlightened eaters.

A philanthropic initiative will be held at Gramma Mora's, where food items will be collected for FeedMore of WNY. Cereal, peanut butter, boxed macaroni and cheese, canned fruit and vegetables and more are among the desired donations.

[Related: Bruce Smith, Fieri team up for a "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"]


Zac Brown Band, 7 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at Darien Lake Amphitheatre (9993 Allegheny Road, Corfu). Tickets begin at $60.

Few major country acts are more anticipated than Zac Brown, who's already filled the lawn for Saturday night's Darien Lake gig. Brown and his band are consistently outstanding live, with some unpredictability mixed in.

Will Brown play a number of covers? Has his sound veered more toward folk and rock than true country? Does that even matter if it's fun, you wear plaid and there's a few hours of tailgating?


Doors Open Buffalo, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at buildings throughout downtown Buffalo. Free to take part.

Buffalo tour organizer Explore Buffalo brings a national concept to lovers of both architecture and the Queen City. Some of Buffalo's best-known buildings will open their doors on Saturday, allowing urban explorers to snoop around - for free - with the perk of some awe-inducing vantage points.

All of the participating buildings will be within a one-mile radius of the Central Library, the event hub, and a map with further details is available.


Discover Kenmore, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 15 in Kenmore, with Delaware Avenue closed between LaSalle and Victoria. Free to attend.

The Kenmore Business Association draws attention to more than 80 neighborhood businesses Saturday, with live music, food trucks, lawn games and more as a complement. Snag a special passport to enter a raffle, then wander the village peeking at everything from Tupperware to Greek food to nail salons. Kenmore is blessed with diverse businesses in a fairly dense area.


Hope Chest Dragon Boat Festival, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). No cost to spectate.

Regardless of the approach to the Dragon Boat Festival, there's immense value. Hope Chest Buffalo fosters a support group for breast cancer survivors, whether they're just beginning treatment or deep into recovery, and the event itself is a visual wonder, with majestically decorated boats, housing 20 paddlers apiece, going head to head in a race down the Buffalo River.

Adopted from the southern Chinese, dragon boat is one of America's fastest-growing water sports, according to event organizers. While it's too late to register a boat, watching the races should be enticing.


Sold out:

WYRK's Taste of Country, gates at 4 p.m. Friday, June 14 at Sahlen Field (275 Washington St.).

Burchfield Penney Art Auction and Gala, at 1300 Elmwood Ave. on June 15.


5 quick hitters for this weekend

Party for Prep at Soho Buffalo
Gigi's sixth anniversary in Kenmore
Buffalo Metal Festival at Woodlawn Beach
"Nine" at Shea's Smith Theatre
Taste of Niagara Falls on Third Street


5 things to do for next week

Picnic in the Parkway kicks off at Bidwell
Science After Hours: Tifft at Twilight
Kiss the Summer Hello at Canalside
Eat the World for International Institute
The O'Jays at Artpark


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