Since the beginning of summer, there hasn't been a more diverse weekend of attractive events. Chances are high that any or all of the words "Fichtner," "dinosaurs," "bikes" or "beer" will pique your attention.
William Fichtner, the famous actor who grew up in Cheektowaga, will be in town Saturday and Sunday as "Cold Brook," a movie filmed partly in Western New York two years ago, premieres in East Aurora. The Museum of Science reels in prehistoric beasts, while GObike gets philanthropic with a vegan bent. Toss in a road trip to Holiday Valley for some revelry, if you need to get away.
Here's a breakdown of the events from Friday through Sunday.
"Cold Brook" premieres, multiple showings: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8; 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at the Aurora Theatre (673 Main St., East Aurora). The showing at 7 p.m. Saturday is sold out. Tickets are $9 for adults at night; matinees cost $7.50; see cost details.
Eyes light up and links are clicked when locally raised actor William Fichtner appears in a headline. There's much more to creating a film than acting roles, and Fichtner recently experienced the direction and production elements, in addition to an acting role, in "Cold Brook."
Tim O'Shei sat down with the film superstar for a sense of this new experience, in which he worked in tandem with veteran actor Kim Coates. Fichtner will be in attendance for the Saturday and Sunday shows, while Coates will be there the whole premiere weekend.
It's showtime for Vinny and Teddy, the two almost-lifelike dinosaur characters, by Ravage Productions, who will be on the prowl all weekend, likely accidentally smacking their tails and necks into things nearby (kidding; we think they're fairly gentle).
The kid activities Saturday include a "dino dig pit," a look at the museum's fossils and other specimens, as well as an ask-an-expert talk with David C. Evans from the Royal Ontario Museum. It's not every day you can pick someone's brain on paleontology.
Adult DinoFest, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 at the same location. Tickets are $16 in advance. The adult version of DinoFest runs the night prior, with a cash bar and a more adult-themed slate of activities.
Cranksgiving, registration begins at noon at Lafayette Square (415 Main St.), ride at 1 p.m., post-ride party at 3 p.m. at the GObike Workshop (98 Colvin Ave.) on Saturday, Nov. 9. Brings $10-$15 for food purchases.
GObike trumpets a noteworthy cause for its Saturday ride, which instructs riders to stop at grocery stores throughout the city to purchase vegan goods to donate to Buffalo Food Not Bombs, which serves a vegan meal on Mondays and Saturdays to anyone who is hungry. Detailed instructions will be given out at Lafayette Square during registration.
The post-party at the GObike Workshop space is free for riders, and just $5 or four nonperishable vegan goods for non-riders.
Holiday Valley Beer & Wine Festival, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 at 6557 Holiday Valley Road, Ellicottville. Tickets are $60 in advance. A Friday teaser event features food trucks and a bonfire, while a brunch on Sunday at John Harvard's Brew House wraps up the weekend.
The snow is falling softly on Thursday, which has many winter lovers craving the first chance to ski or snowboard. Major resorts are already making snow, after all. This Holiday Valley food-and-drink event was a roaring success last year, so more space has been added for 2019 to incorporate more regional breweries, wineries and distilleries (full list).
All three floors will have activity, from vendors to live music to a cafeteria boasting German comfort foods (admission includes a $5 voucher for food).
Continued: Christmas in the Country, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at the Hamburg Fairgrounds (5820 South Park Ave., Hamburg). Admission is $10 at the door. (Event began 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday). It was positively buzzing Thursday morning.
Knox Farm Holiday Arts & Crafts Show, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9-10, at Knox Farm State Park (437 Buffalo Road, East Aurora). Parking will be off-site at Moog, 7021 Seneca St., Elma, with shuttles shuffling attendees to and from the event. Admission is $5; kids ages 10 and under get in for free.
The rustic Knox Farm estate hosts a two-day art show this weekend inside the mansion, but pay attention to the parking details so you don't zoom into the village of East Aurora and then have to backtrack.
Roughly 60 regional art vendors of all kinds will have festive and non-festive gifts in tow, while Lloyd Taco Truck will park outside on Saturday and Fat Bob's on Sunday. The money raised will benefit the continued restoration of the Knox mansion.
While advances have been made in the treatment of muscular dystrophy, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy — the most severe form of the fatal disease — is an even greater challenge. Buffalo-born charity Suneel's Light — around since 2002 — raises support for treatment and research to develop a cure through its annual Night for Hope.
Buffalo Bills and Sabres players will be on hand Friday downtown, while cocktails and food are included in admission. The Speedy Parker Blues Band handles the musical responsibilities. Look back at Smiles from last year's gala.
The WNY Veterans Housing Coalition provides living arrangements around the area for veterans who might otherwise be homeless. Friday's fundraiser is pretty basic: admission includes two drink tickets from Big Ditch's special collection menu, as well as hors d'oeuvres for occasional snacking. While the event page claims the Sabres game will be televised, that game is actually at 2 p.m. Friday.
The Dave Matthews Band tribute act has been popular at its previous hometown gigs, including a December gig in Iron Works last year. The group has traveled internationally emulating Dave's live performances and musical catalog, with the acoustic/electric/bass guitar, drums, violin and saxophone all well-represented. According to the band's Facebook page, this fall show has sold out in the past, so it's wise to buy in advance.
Polish Independence Party, noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Church (389 Peckham St.). Free to attend.
Major international news broke this week that Polish citizens would now be permitted to travel to the United States for tourist or business trips, for up to 90 days, without requiring a visa. It's a big milestone for Polish-Americans, who've been fighting for this opportunity for the last three decades, said Joseph Mikolaj Rej, president of One Polonia and founder of the Polish Happy Hour series.
Sunday's party in St. Stan's recognizes Polish independence — officially Nov. 11 — and features many perks typical of the Happy Hours, including free admission, complimentary platters of Polish food, plus Polish beer, dessert wines and desserts for purchase. Live music and dance, plus the Bills game on TV, are the entertainment.
Sold out: Red, White and Blue Gala, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 at Seneca Niagara Casino (310 4th St., Niagara Falls).
5 quick hitters for this weekend
5 events to look forward to next week
Bubbles and Bags at Orchard Park Country Club
Tucker Beathard's Monster Jam at Iron Works
JazzBuffalo, Hotel Henry concert series
Davey O. at Asbury Hall in Babeville
WNY Refugee Film Festival at Journey's End