Spring and summer in Buffalo feel significantly shorter than fall and winter. The seasons are obviously the same length, but warm weather tends to vanish in a flash - and, err, take its time arriving - which limits the period we can bask in the sun while absorbing Buffalo's wealth of admittedly jammed-together summer events.
From a food truck event centered on world cuisines and the return of trusty Shakespeare in the Park to a reconfigured cocktail party and a free concert series, this week bustles with outdoor activities. Take advantage while the opportunity is here.
Prepare for the approaching World Refugee Day (June 29 and 30) and the Taste of Diversity by supporting the International Institute's Eat the World food truck event, which will include Ms. Judi's, Falafel Bar, Great Aussie Bite, Niagara Cafe and more serving ethnic fare. Tickets include two drinks from Community Beer Works, too, which could help spur hunger. Here's a gallery of Smiles from 2017 for an idea what to expect.
[Read more about the Great Aussie Bite in this food truck feature]
Picnic in the Parkway, 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 at Bidwell Park at Elmwood Avenue. Free to attend.
More free weekly concerts! The Elmwood Village Association returns its popular concert series in Bidwell Park, kicking off the season with the Struggle. Bring a blanket and perhaps a leashed pet, then pick from a lineup of local vendors (beer, wine and food) around the perimeter of the concert to munch on something during the roughly two hours of music.
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Shakespeare in the Park opens, 7:15 p.m. Thursday, June 20 at Shakespeare Hill (199 Lincoln Parkway). Free to attend, while the RSVP deadline for the opening reception has already passed.
"The Tempest" kicks off its run on Shakespeare Hill in Delaware Park, as the free production of Shakespeare in the Park - a charming Buffalo pastime - gets in gear for 2019.
Productions run Tuesday through Sunday through July 14: it must be emotionally exhausting for protagonist Prospero, who must conjure magic night after night, but the overall amount of sympathy you feel for him is entirely up to you.
Look back at a review of "The Tempest" at Delaware Park from a decade ago.
The summer Cocktails on the Lawn series has been tailored to be more approachable, with admission dropping dramatically, and a $10 food-and-drink voucher included in admission.
It's a rare chance to hang out on the patio of the glamorous Mansion on Delaware, usually reserved for hotel patrons, and enjoy seasonal cocktails and foods at the elegant setting. "Botanicals" is the theme for the first gathering, followed by "Flowers" and "Heirloom" for the next two months.
Science After Hours: Tifft at Twilight, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 20 at Tifft Nature Preserve (1200 Fuhrmann Blvd.). Cost is $40 in advance, and tickets include one drink voucher. Buffalo Museum Science members receive 10% off.
Buffalo is blessed with terrific parks and green spaces (even though they're a touch muddy this year), and Tifft Nature Preserve is expansive and well-maintained. If there's an especially classy way to experience nature, the Museum of Science's Tifft at Twilight weaves in cocktails from Share Kitchen, a strategic treasure hunt around the preserve, live music from classic rock cover band Crash Pad and options from a few food trucks.
Kiss the Summer Hello, 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, June 20 at Canalside (44 Prime St.). General admission is $30 in advance, while premium view passes cost $70 and VIP runs for $300; see all ticket details.
Kiss 98.5 FM's annual summer bonanza welcomes a slew of artists familiar to the station's listeners. Ava Max, who sings that catchy "hot but a psycho" song that gets stuck in your head, Buffalo regular Jake Miller, up-and-coming boy bands in Why Don't We and the Drax Project, and plenty of others are featured on the bill. Expect a heavy dose of pop and dancing on Thursday along the water.
Iroquois High School grad Nick Chiari - now better known as Los Angeles-based producer Grabbitz - will play a homecoming show Thursday in perhaps Buffalo's hottest new venue.
As far as Buffalo musicians go, Grabbitz's 39,000 SoundCloud listeners and 26,000 Instagram followers give him greater reach than most, and his collaborations with Deadmau5 and Shaquille O'Neal lend serious street cred. Look back at Smiles from Grabbitz's 2017 show.
[Related: Grabbitz featured in Buffalove From Afar]
It's possible you've seen the term FeedMore WNY over the last few weeks but been puzzled over its origin. The organization is a collaborative effort between the Food Bank of WNY and Meals on Wheels, and it will benefit from Patina 250's opulent fundraiser on Thursday.
An open bar, hors d'oeuvres by local chefs and dessert stations should fill your stomach; Hutch's, Ristorante Lombardo, The Black Sheep and more are among the restaurants with a presence.
The O'Jays found themselves rather unexpectedly back in the limelight when Coors Light picked "Love Train" as the theme song for several commercials. But identifying the three-piece band with a domestic beer advertisement is unfair, almost mean; they're Rock & Roll Hall of Famers who just rolled out their final studio album, "The Last Word," in April. Celebrate one of the band's final forays at this outdoor gig in Lewiston.
BONUS: M&T Bank Plaza Event Series: Buffalo News week, noon to 1 p.m. weekdays in front of M&T Bank (One M&T Plaza). Free to attend. Buffalo News personalities such as Lou Michel, Geoff Nason and more will emcee the free concert series downtown this week.
5 quick hitters for this week
The Cheesy Chick opens in Williamsville
North Buffalo Farmers Market season debut
Williamsville Strawberry Festival at Island Park
Solar Celebration at Duende at Silo City
Nickel City Forum at Thin Man Brewery
5 events to look forward to this weekend
Kerfuffle at Canalside
Strawberry Moon Festival at Artpark
New Kids on the Block at KeyBank Center
BBQ & Blues Bash at River Fest Park
Ride for Roswell at UB North Campus