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The Weekend in WNY: Family-friendly fall activities

While Buffalo has a reputation as a drinking culture, it doesn't turn up its nose at family-friendly events.

Seasonal destinations - the Great Pumpkin Farm, Kelkenberg Farm, Pumpkinville, Mayer Bros. and Becker Farms, among others - are easier to fit into schedules, but well-organized specific events have the same, if not more allure.

Entertaining kids is easy work this weekend: Mammoth dinosaurs in a big arena, a whirlwind of entertainment along the water and even spooky plants are attention grabbers. Even the Central Library - with haunted areas of its own - embraces the season.

Autumn Happens Here, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Canalside (44 Prime St.). Free to attend.

Expect a well-balanced fall event at Canalside, where food trucks, kettle corn vendors, corn hole, Octoberfest beers (and flights!) at the Garden Bar, Se2 Silent Disco and two sets of live music will thrill downtown visitors on Saturday.

While it's a bummer both goat yoga sessions are already at capacity - remember it's the humans doing the yoga, not the goats - the beats of Julian Burgio (1-3 p.m.) and Jungle Steve (3-5) will help ease the pain.

[Related: Smiles at Canalside's Fall Festival in 2017 | Sign up for Things to Do newsletter]


BOO-tanical Celebration, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens (2655 South Park Ave.). Admission is $12.50 for adults, $7 for kids ages 3-12.

This well-named, kid-friendly excursion roams to the Botanical Gardens, focusing on seasonal crafts such as a creepy paper pumpkin, a bat-and-moon creation (you know the one), a mosaic of fall leaves and a Venus fly trap, which must be at least somewhat loosely connected to Halloween.

Spooky plants will be explained, too, and an ice queen and ice princess from Emmalee's Memories will float about in seasonal garb. Also intriguing is the make-it, take-it craft workshop in the Spooky Succulent Garden, running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

[Related: Smiles at Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale at the Gardens]


"Jurassic World," 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 17-18; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 on Saturday, Oct. 19, noon and 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20 at KeyBank Center. Tickets range from $16 to $90.

For a species that's been extinct for millennia, dinosaurs have become more true-to-life over the past 20 years. The "Jurassic Park" movie series has been praised for next-level CGI, and that's raised the standard for the touring production.

Gusto editor Toni Ruberto digs deeper into what makes these dinosaurs so lifelike and dramatic through a conversation with Kevin Campbell, a member of the touring production, and also identifies the __-osauruses that appear on tour.


Buffalo's Biggest Halloween Bash, 6 to midnight on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Cost is $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Some might argue it's too early for a Halloween party. Do you know who probably doesn't care and would respond with a quick-witted quip to sway you into coming? Probably Shredd and Ragan, hosts of 103.3 The Edge's morning show.

Best costume wins $2,000, three bands - Nerds Gone Wild, Last Call and the Thurman Brothers - will make zombies wobble and proceeds benefit Variety Club, a children's charity. Given the date of the party, you won't feel like a costume copycat, too; maybe you'll set a Halloween trend yourself.

[Photos: Smiles at Shredd & Ragan's Halloween Bash in 2017]


Nightmare on Grant Street, 6:30 doors, bell time at 7 on Friday, Oct. 18 at Polish Cadets (927 Grant St.). Tickets are $20 for seats in the first two rows. A few general admission tickets will be available at the door for $18, but the event will likely sell out.

Nickel City Wrestling - an independent wrestling group comprising local talent - holds a Halloween-themed match Friday, which will settle several titles. Among the marquee names are Mikey Everynite, Kenny Brown, ShadoKat and Deacon.

An over-the-top-rope elimination match - the Candy Cup Battle Royale - pits 20 wrestlers in a last-man-standing competition - promising plenty of drama - with a guaranteed title shot of the winner's choosing, within the next year, on the line.

Check out the winners from Rising Dawn, the last competition, in August. November's clashes will take place at Batavia Downs.


Spooky Library Party, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Buffalo & Erie County Central Library (1 Lafayette Square). Free to attend, no registration required.

There's a lot more to do at the Central Library than putter around near bookshelves, although that's cool in its own right; how soon we forget about this story? Saturday brings a family friendly bonanza, featuring trick-or-treating (with candy or non-candy), crafts for kids, a walk-through of the library's haunted tier, a "Mad Scientist Lab" and a spooky magic show. Costumes are strongly encouraged.

Also cool and unusual: The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning is encouraging attendees to bring T-shirts to transform into recyclable bags. Maybe they're the mad scientists in the event tease. Plot twist.

[Related: Central Library changes with the times]


Two openings to know: Breezy Burrito Bar (6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 at 1000 Elmwood Ave.). and Chef's on the Go (restaurant opened officially at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 in the Williamsville Place Plaza).

Breezy Burrito has been open since mid-summer on Elmwood, recently shutting down its booth in EXPO Market to focus on the new digs.

Briana Rose Hunter, the bar-restaurant's co-owner, has impressed with her sense of style in outfitting the business - something that can be easily appreciated on Friday. DJ Crespo will handle the entertainment, while a new food menu will be unveiled.

Chef's on the Go opened Thursday morning to significant fanfare - one person in line won free spaghetti parmesan for life - and the iconic restaurant's first foray in the suburbs is now under way. You'll notice quickly how Lou Billittier Jr.'s new enterprise differs from the original on Seneca Street.


Save the Michaels Hope Walk, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Delaware Park, by grounds of St. George's Orthodox Church. Registration is $24 in advance to walk; walk-day registration is $30.

Save the Michaels of the World is an organization dedicated to helping those battling opiate addiction in their recovery, providing hope of an escape. Saturday's walk around Delaware Park will also feature live music, post-walk food and complimentary T-shirts.

The News' Jerry Zremski has told the story behind Save the Michaels - and how it's already affected others. Save the Michaels' Facebook page is a sound resource, too.


Theater - several new plays have opened:

• "Young Frankenstein" by O'Connell & Company. Read the 3-star review.
• "Superior Donuts" by Road Less Traveled. Read the 4-star review.
• "Pete the Cat" by Theatre of Youth. Read the 3.5-star review.
• "Come From Away" at Shea's Buffalo Theatre. Read the 4-star review.

[More: Introduction to new productions | Read this week's Arts Beat]


Sold out: Hospice Harvest Fest at the Hyatt Regency; Lake Street Dive in Babeville.


7 more quick hitters for this weekend

PATH Freedom Walk in Delaware Park
Fall Boutique Crawl in Hamburg
Crawl-o-Ween in East Aurora
Brews & BBQ at the Buffalo Zoo
Science After Hours: Are you afraid of the dark?
Buffalo Cider Hall's first anniversary
Dreamville 2: Tom Petty birthday tribute in Iron Works


5 events to look forward to next week

Eric Wood's Flights and Bites at 500 Pearl
The Event at Salvatore's by Amherst Chamber
TEDxBuffalo at Asbury Hall
"Fantasia" with Robin Thicke at Shea's Buffalo
Barktober Fest at Sportsmen's Tavern


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