For city dwellers, an occasional urge to escape clusters of buildings, traffic nuisances and cookie-cutter houses must be satisfied. Some fulfill their desire to get away by exploring the Buffalo-area's splendid parks, while others might schedule day trips to Niagara-on-the-Lake or Crystal Beach.
From an event standpoint, this week's lineup offers a chance to relax away from the city, with the start of the Eden Corn Festival, the arrival of Dierks Bentley in Darien and the Niagara County Fair in Lockport all presenting low-stress, rural-ish retreats.
Digging deeper into the concert slate, visits from two established Canadian performers stick out, with Halifax native Sarah McLachlan playing Artpark and Toronto's Ron Hawkins gracing Fountain Plaza. See the highlights of this week's events.
Eden Corn Festival, begins 3 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 at American Legion Grounds, 2912 Legion Drive in Eden; runs through Aug. 4. No cost to attend.
There are so many mini activities involved in the Eden Corn Festival that the flyer print is almost illegibly small (be thankful for PDF zoom). Even Thursday, the first day of the festival, is brimming with things to do: mow down a few ears of fresh sweet corn, understand the fuss surrounding pickled sweet corn, check out a pet show and championship boys baseball game and marvel at the chainsaw sculpting exhibition.
Eden's summer spectacular runs through Sunday and savors the sweet corn harvest, which is far too abbreviated for our liking. Look back at Mark Mulville's shots from last year's festival.
Dierks Bentley, 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 at Darien Lake Amphitheater (9993 Allegheny Road, Darien). Tickets begin at $39.75 individually, but lawn four-packs are available. See the full ticket details.
Dierks Bentley's tour names always sound rugged. Last year, it was "The Mountain," after his successful album. This year, it's "Burning Man," after the No. 1 hit that's a window into his identity. The Phoenix-born country star has a whopping 14 Grammy award nominations – but none of the prestigious hardware. We'd say he's due.
Bentley has been a strong advocate for female country musicians, especially recently, as he's boosted Tenille Townes' career through her support of his current tour, and his own dramatic reading of the Highwomen's single, "Redesigning Women," as a selfless and lighthearted means of conveying an important message.
Niagara County Fair, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, July 31-Aug. 1, at Cornell Cooperative Extension (4487 Lake Ave., Lockport). Festival runs through Aug. 4. Admission is $5 Wednesday through Saturday, $3 on Sunday, or a carload for $10. A week pass runs for $18.
The family friendly, youth-oriented fair – with an emphasis on the 4-H participants – has a little of everything scheduled: a dog show, plant sale, bike demo, tractor parade and much more. While the beer tent doesn't start until Friday night, the fair environment – the people-watching, the scents of barbecued chicken and the romping farm animals – doesn't require alcohol to have fun.
The Cornell Cooperative Extension, which hosts the fair, has been active recently, too, opening a shared-use commercial kitchen at its headquarters to support entrepreneurs who might not have the overhead to start a business.
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Sarah McLachlan with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, doors at 7 p.m. show at 8 on Wednesday, July 31 at the Artpark Mainstage Theater (450 S. 4th St., Lewiston). Only lawn tickets remain available, for $42.
The angelic voice of Sarah McLachlan has been serenading Western New York for decades; here's a review of her 1995 performance at Shea's, plus more recent renditions from 2014 in Lewiston and 2016 at Darien Lake. But on Wednesday, McLachlan will be joined onstage by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra – which will be a stark departure from when Weird Al was accompanied by strings earlier this month.
If you've never been to an Artpark Mainstage Theater show, here's a look at the seating layout.
Ron Hawkins at Thursday & Main, 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 at 20 Fountain Plaza. Free to attend.
Thursday & Main, Buffalo Place's free weekly concert series, continues its momentum after last week's Eric Van Houten show with a visit from one of Buffalo's favorite Canadians, Ron Hawkins of Lowest of the Low.
"It just really felt like you have a home and then you land in another city and it’s like, this is like a whole other room in my home that I didn’t know I had," Hawkins told Michael Farrell.
Sonny Baker, whose focused series of cover shows through Lazlo Hollyfeld has won fans throughout the area, will open the show.
Long-haired Pennsylvania native Kurt Vile and his backing band, the Violators, will storm confidently into Buffalo for a midweek club show. Vile, a master of subtlety, Jeff Miers wrote, left an impression after his 2016 show in Babeville; it's not shocking he's booked a bigger venue in his next appearance.
Vile's most recent effort was last fall's "Bottle It In," which earned a strong review from Pitchfork. Miers describes Vile as a "guitar hero for the indie-rock set, a songwriter of serious substance, a kindred spirit of '90s fuzzed-out alt-rockers."
A Mid Summer Night's Draw, 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 31 in Hallwalls (341 Delaware Ave.). Admission is $5, with bids for artwork starting at $39.
It can be awkward to have strangers hover as you're working, but the 36 artists invited to draw in two, 45-minute sessions at Hallwalls thrive in that environment (for the record, I can't stand when people linger by my laptop as I write).
A Mid Summer Night's Draw – complemented in the cold weather by A Mid Winter's Draw – is a chance for art collectors or local art supporters to bid on freshly created pieces by an elite lineup of artists. There's a cash bar and live music by ABCDJ, too.
Like Hawkins, Badfish is an out-of-state band that loyally visits Buffalo practically every year, but Thursday's Canalside Live show is the first time the Sublime tribute band has hit the waterfront since 2015. Expect crowd-surfing, punk classics and a well-attended night of music; in the meantime, check out Smiles from 2018 and 2017.
Cheers to Four Years, 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, July 30 at Marble + Rye (112 Genesee St.). No cost to attend.
It doesn't seem that long ago that the Black Market Food Truck – the first project of Marble + Rye owners Michael Dimmer and Christian Willmott – roved the Buffalo streets serving banh mi, arancini, a spruced-up BLT and the short-lived, mysterious-yet-delicious cemita.
Now their brick-and-mortar, Marble + Rye, celebrates its fourth anniversary with intriguing fare - house-made corn dogs, dirty fries, grass-fed beef kebabs, Wisconsin fried cheese curds and more – and live music from DJs Frankie np and Mario Fanone. Nearby Black Button Distilling will be on the scene for samples, too.
Chris Isaak is a jack of many trades: he's acted in televisions series and in movies, and released 12 studio albums over the course of 30 years. His throwback style, hearkening back to the 1950s, is heavy with sentimentality – love, loss and heartbreak, according to his bio. Miers wrote at length about Isaak back in 2010, referencing his perfect hair and sense of humor.
BONUS: Nerds Gone Wild at Music Mania Mondays, 6 p.m. Monday, July 29 at Veteran's Memorial Community Park (7000 Lockport Road, Niagara Falls). No cost to attend.
BONUS 2: Community pop-up potluck, noon to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 at Brewster Street Farm (36 Brewster St.). Attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share. This is a project of Journey's End and Green Shoots for New Americans.
Sold-out: Harry Potter Yoga at Hotel Henry.
5 quick-hitters for this week
5 events to look forward to this weekend
Cobblestone Live in and around Iron Works
Arkells at Canalside Live
Bark Bash in Knox Farm State Park
WNY Vegfest in RiverWorks
Insectival at Tifft Nature Preserve
Story topics: Badfish/ Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra/ Chris Isaak/ Cornell Cooperative Extension/ eden corn festival/ event previews/ Hallwalls/ Marble + Rye/ Niagara County Fair/ Ron Hawkins/ Sarah McLachlan/ things to do/ this week in Buffalo/ Thursday and Main