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The Weekend in WNY: Llama llovin' offers nice change of pace

Here's a whirlwind tour through the big events for this post-Labor Day weekend: Music Is Art at River Fest Park and RiverWorks, the South Buffalo Irish Festival in Cazenovia Park and the Niagara County Peach Festival in Lewiston. These are fantastic annual festivals, but there's a first-timer on the docket that's a few strides from the norm.

Given Buffalo's proven fascination with alpacas, it's fair to think llamas have been lleft behind. At WNY Llamafest, an all-weekend event hosted by Arcade-based Buffalo Creek Llamas, appreciation for these long-necked furballs will grow.

No, they don't have humps; they're bright, teachable, animated and quite comfortable with humans, and llamas adore the camera. Just look at these llama champions from the Erie County Fair.

WNY LlamaFest, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8 at 360 Park Road in Arcade. Free to attend.

It's amazing that llamas will strut about calmly while led by strangers. (If a stranger tried to drag me anywhere, I would resist aggressively). A nice mix of activities is on the agenda for LlamaFest, with a youth show running Saturday - the llamas' "public relations" is part of the grading system - as well as a baby naming contest, a "Llama's Got Talent" production and a chance to lead a llama through an obstacle course.

We reached out to Scott Dyke, owner of Buffalo Creek Llamas, for one intriguing llama fact. His response: "Llamas have a soft, padded foot making them gentle on their environment."


Music Is Art, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 at Buffalo River Fest Park (249 Ohio St.) and Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Free to attend.

The Music Is Art festival, which has given a platform to a marvelous mix of local musicians for the last 16 years, is now an even bigger spectacle, incorporating two nearby venues and delivering at least 12 hours of music. (Organizers have realized the expenses from expansion, however, and have been running a donation campaign in addition to the street party fundraiser outside Chef's Restaurant).

News pop music critic Jeff Miers distilled five performances worth checking out, from Robby-Takac-molded Shonen Knife to the phenomenally named Magic Carpet Ride Stage, focusing on psychedelia-inspired music.


South Buffalo Irish Festival, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 at Cazenovia Park (25 Cazenovia St.). Free to attend.

The proud Irish community of South Buffalo with recognize its roots on Saturday with a robust lineup of live music - featuring Emish, Larry Kirwan, McCarthyizm, Crikwater and more - on two stages, with a kids stage present as well. Here are the performance times.

The food vendors represent the community well, too, with the Blackthorn, Potters Field, Brick Oven Bistro, Imperial Pizza and Conlon's all returning, and newcomer Cantina 62 expected to serve. Also noteworthy is two "sessions" - informal gatherings of musicians intended to share a love for music - slated for 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Peter J. Crotty Casino. It's BYOB (bring your own bodhran).


Niagara County Peach Festival, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 (with a 5K scheduled for 9 a.m.); and noon to 11 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8 at Academy Park (890 Center St., Lewiston). Free to get in.

New to the Peach Festival website since we teased the fruity tradition in This Week in Buffalo is a beastly list and map of the participating vendors. It tells you exactly where to find the freshly assembled peach shortcake, not that it's difficult; just look for the giant tent just off Portage Road.

Sanger Farms, Moore's Maple Shack and the Lew-Port Senior Class Dunk Tank stand out among the booths, while Terry Buchwald closes Saturday with his Elvis Presley impersonation (he's not the guy at Bills games), and the Peach Queen competition finals are the marquee activity Sunday evening.

[Related: Read about the uncertain future of the Peach Festival's location]


Outlaw Music Festival, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8 at Darien Lake Amphitheatre (9993 Allegheny Road, Darien). Tickets are $39.50 individually, with lawn four-packs available. See full ticket details.

While it might be a stretch to call Bonnie Raitt an "outlaw," she certainly fits the roots-blues-country vibe intended for the Outlaw Music Festival on Sunday afternoon at Darien Lake. Eighty-six-year-old Willie Nelson is argued to be the founder of "outlaw country," a freedom-seeking 1960s movement, while bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, holder of an absurd 27 Grammys, is also primed to perform.


EOTO, doors at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8 at Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

EDM fans will be ecstatic to hear EOTO, the two-man, improv-heavy project of Jason Hann and Michael Travis, will incorporate new production, lighting and lasers for its visit to Town Ballroom; hint: the theme is extraterrestrial, which sounds out of this world. And, if you look back to photos from the duo's 2015 show, the standard has been fairly high for years.

Fresh off major festivals such as Electric Forest, EOTO has committed to a touring frenzy in early September.


Olmsted Gala and After-Party for the Parks, gala at 6 p.m., after party at 8 on Friday, Sept. 6 at the Cazenovia Park Baseball Bowl (via Seneca Street entrance). Individual tickets are $225 for both the gala and the after party, or $75 for the after party only; see ticket details.

The glamorous fundraiser for the Olmsted Parks Conservancy will set up in Caz Park with a two-pronged night: a gala beginning at 6 and an after party following. The especially formal portion has a champagne toast, a presentation to recognize Linda Pellegrino and a dinner from Salvatore's Catering.

Since the dinner gala is more expensive, separate tickets are sold for the Denim & Diamonds after party, which touts Steve Balesteri and the Uptown Sound, an open bar and desserts.


Hamburg Brewing Company's sixth anniversary, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 at 6553 Boston State Road, Hamburg. No cover charge, and it's 21+.

Hamburg Brewing will celebrate this milestone in style with music, beer and games. Vincent Bonelli hits the stage at noon, with Breakaway slated for the mid-afternoon, then Strictly Hip - which also starred at Hamburg's holiday event - capping the night at 7.

For beer, the classic Small Town and Irish Red will be poured, and a special anniversary beer - a key lime sour with salt - will be released. Other brews include a blood-orange sour, an Oktoberfest and a double-dry-hopped India Pale Ale, to name a few.


Buffalo's Out of Darkness Walk, 8:30 a.m. registration, walk at 10:30 on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Canalside (44 Prime St.). No cost to participate, but registration may be found here, and fundraising is encouraged. Those who raise $150 or more receive a t-shirt.

National Suicide Prevention Week runs Sept. 8-14, and the Buffalo Out of Darkness Walk raises money to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on Saturday along the waterfront. The non-competitive, 3.1-mile walk weaves through the area surrounding Canalside and all the way out to the tip of the Erie Basin Marina.

[Related: Bookmark The News' suicide resource]


Sold out: A Day to Remember at Buffalo RiverWorks.


5 quick-hitters for this weekend

Gameday Bar Crawl by Step Out Buffalo
Leztoberfest at Community Beer Works
Pasta Run for Chef's Restaurant
Dane Cook at Seneca Niagara Events Center
Docs vs. Jocks Country Cookoff at Buffalo Grand Hotel


5 events to look forward to next week

Chris Brown at KeyBank Center
The Steer's 50th anniversary party
Trombone Shorty at Babeville
Stone Temple Pilots in Rapids Theatre
Plate Expectations at Resurgence Brewing (Chicago St.)


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