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This Week in Buffalo: Frolic at the Erie County Fair

It really seemed like competitor pig "Jim Smelly" was the favorite in one of last year's Erie County Fair Swifty Swine races.

He had the first challenge – facing the proper direction at the starting gate – down, more than could be said for "Russell Bo-swine," who looked thoroughly confused by the obstacle course in front of him. As it turned out, neither pig named after a Buffalo Bills player snagged the victorious Oreo at the end of the gauntlet, but it sure was quite the spectacle.

The lighthearted humor of the swine races at the fair is a microcosm of what the event, which runs Aug. 7-18, is all about. It's important to remember kids 12 years and younger get in for free, even if the general admission price was bumped slightly for adults.

If you take advantage of the advance ticket price – just $7 – a trip to the fair, and its wealth of quirky entertainment, can be totally affordable. The fair is the biggest – and longest lasting – of the swath of events on this list.

Erie County Fair opens, noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7 at the Hamburg Fairgrounds (5600 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg). Runs from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily through Aug. 18. Tickets may be purchased for only $7 ($5 for seniors) through Aug. 6 at Tops Markets. On-site tickets cost $12 for adults, $9 for seniors.

The fair's motto is the "12 best days of summer," and every day is stuffed to the brim with events. While entertainment highlights include country star Kane Brown and comedian Fluffy Iglesias, examples of the simple, annual attractions should not be forgotten.

Adorable swine races – pigs are speedy, given their short legs – addictive carnival games such as locally invented I Got It, the absurdly meticulous woodcarving competition and a smattering of foods new and old (including the delicately named Potato Butts) all represent reasons to be pumped about the fair.

[Photos: Smiles at 2018 Erie County Fair opening day]

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Incubus, 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Canalside (44 Prime St.). General admission is $10, while VIP have sold out.

The News' Google-accessible archives date back to 1998, but it looks like Incubus has never played downtown Buffalo before. For area appearances, though, there was Darien Lake in 2015, where they played this set list on a bill with Deftones.

While Incubus is far from a wholesome name for a band, frontman Brandon Boyd and his four bandmates – including two other originals – have carved out nearly three decades of staying power. Touching on a range of genres, it wasn't too shocking that Incubus paired with Skrillex for the production of its last full-length, "8," in 2017.

[Like these quick-hitting event previews? Get 'em in your email inbox]

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Mayer Bros. opening day, 7 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 1540 Seneca Creek Road, West Seneca. Free to attend.

For the first time ever, Mayer Bros. Cider Mill opened for the spring, selling cider slushies and fresh doughnuts from March 20 through May 11, an experiment that could continue in future years.

But the West Seneca mill's peak season nears, as the fall – sorry, those clinging to summer – welcomes hot apple cider, hot doughnuts and fresh apple pies. The store remains open until the end of November.

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Taste of Clarence and Cruise Night, 3 to 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5 in Clarence Town Park (10405 Main St., Clarence). Free to attend.

Brennan's Bowery has won an impressive three straight Silver Spoons, the award – determined by the attendees – for best restaurant at the Taste of Clarence. The giant spoon seems to be living its best life this summer. But Brennan's reign is in jeopardy in light of the newcomers at the food festival this year. Hooked and Diego join a field that also includes This Little Pig, Orazio by Zarcone's and underrated Local Grill at the Dome; see the full lineup.

If anyone benefits, it's certainly the eaters who can waddle between booths and cast their votes. The annual Taste is paired with the town's cruise night, which has also grown exponentially.

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DBGB's ninth anniversary, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 253 Allen St. No cost to attend.

For what do you appreciate Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar on Allen? Is it the legendary hip-hop karaoke nights? The scintillating smoked barbecue wings? Its drag brunches? The fact that they never take a day off?

The Allentown bar is ready to give back for its anniversary, with a complimentary buffet of smoked barbecue wings, thunderous beats by resident DJs Charles Masters, Basha and Drop D, and a summer beer blowout and more drink specials. The party officially lasts until 4 a.m.

[Related: Smiles at DBGB Monster Ball]

•••

Thievery Corporation, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Artpark (450 S. 4th St., Lewiston). Tickets range from $24 to $43.

Tired of indie rock and pop shows? Thievery Corporation brings a refreshing change of pace with its odd blend of electronica, acid jazz, Indian classical and hip-hop. The Napa Valley Register's review from July explained that Rob Garza and Eric Hilton's live shows are valuable more for the medium than their lyrical messages – which is perfectly fine with their fans.

The duo's visit to Lewiston comes at an interesting time, given Thievery Corporation's strong political stances and the mass shootings this past weekend.

•••

National Night Out, 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 at Johnnie B. Wiley Stadium (1100 Jefferson Ave.). Free to attend.

The local extension of a national event that seeks to create positive relationships between police and their communities, Buffalo's National Night Out will be held on Jefferson and feature a little of everything: kids entertainment, art and clothing vendors, free softball, live entertainment by Buffalo's Singing Cops (COPSS) and poetry by Jillian Hanesworth.

Buffalo's law enforcement seems to be making a concerted effort to connect with the city, with flag-football exhibition Friday Night Under the Lights a recent example.

[Related: Several other National Night Out celebrations planned]

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SMUG, 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8 in Sugar City (1239 Niagara St.). Cover is $7, no alcohol permitted, all ages allowed.

Local band SMUG has scheduled a send-off show for its northeast tour on Thursday at welcoming, grassroots West Side staple Sugar City. The three-piece, indie pop-rock band, formed in 2017, released its first full length – titled "Gorgeous" – less than a year ago, and it's made enough noise to warrant another trip out of town. They can be heard on Bandcamp. Color Cult and Cloud District are the two openers for Thursday's gig.

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Nerds Gone Wild's sixth anniversary, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7 at Banchetti by Rizzo's (550 N. French Road, Amherst). Free to attend.

One of Buffalo's favorite party bands – replete with thick-rimmed glasses and vibrant outfits that don't quite match – Nerds Gone Wild celebrates its sixth anniversary at Groovin' in the Grove, the free weekly concert series presented by Banchetti by Rizzo's. The quirky headliners teased prizes, special guests and ample food and drink specials to mark the occasion.

•••

Sold out: Interpol, Tuesday in Town Ballroom; Beatles Rooftop Tribute, Thursday in Larkinville.

•••

6 events to look forward to this weekend

• Flutterby Festival on Elmwood
• Torn Space's "Feast" in Silo City
• WNY Woodstock at River Fest Park
• Rotary Duck Derby at Canalside
• Smashing Pumpkins at Darien Lake
• Erie County Fair – continued

Email: btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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