You’re counting down the hours until you roll home for an elongated holiday weekend of Buffalo-related revelry. That’s exciting, and we’re all thrilled for you and the thousands of other visiting expats to flood the region with curiosity and patronage.
But note: The stacked Thanksgiving homecoming you’re looking for isn’t exactly what most of us do here every weekend (anymore). What you’re eager for is a visit to awaken nostalgia and celebrate the version of Buffalo you know, love — and carry on about to those in your current ZIP code.
If this is you, here’s a three-day plan to check all your nightlife boxes.
Wednesday, Nov. 27: Lowest of the Low with Ace of Wands and Wolf Tickets, 7 p.m. at Town Ballroom (681 Main St.)
The sound of Buffalo’s Canadian-tinged, '90s-era barrooms is set to kick off the long homecoming weekend. Ron Hawkins and Co. is bringing work off this year’s “Agitpop,” as well as the expected cavalcade of singalong favorites to start your Thanksgiving Eve celebration in wistful style.
After the show: Eddie Brady’s (97 Genesee St.)
Walking distance from Town Ballroom, Brady’s has the drafts, drinks and old-school tavern ambiance that’s perfect for old friends to bask in old Buffalo, sing lines from “Salesmen, Cheats and Liars,” and celebrate what the city’s becoming.
Thursday, Nov. 28: 124th YMCA Buffalo Turkey Trot (Starts at 9 a.m. at 2564 Delaware Ave.)
What could be more fun than a night spent drinking and dancing with old friends? How about running a usually freezing-cold road race the morning after drinking and dancing all night? That’s the Turkey Trot, and for 123 years, the oldest consecutively run footrace in the world has remained one of Buffalo’s finest holiday traditions. (Race entry is sold out.)
After the race: JP's Checkers (1854 Hertel Ave.)
Following your free beers inside the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, find one last pre-Thanksgiving round at the longtime North Buffalo hangout of the Checkers Running Club. And good news: Unlike its predecessor, the updated version of Checkers won’t smell worse than the runners. Read more about JP's Checkers in this profile by Dan Almasi.
Friday, Nov. 29: Strictly Hip, 8 p.m. Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.)
After selling out its Thanksgiving Eve Tralf show, the region’s preeminent Tragically Hip tribute band booked another gig to lead fans into their weekend — and to possibly scoop everyone who opted for LOTL on Wednesday. Either way, those home and eager to celebrate the work of Kingston, Ont.’s finest troubadours now can do so.
After the show: Fattey Beer Co. (5 Genesee St.)
Fattey’s boasts more than 500 craft beers in can, bottle or draft within its intimate confines, opened last summer in a formerly boarded-up Texas Hots spot. Now, it pours local and regional favorites rare to expats—as well as plenty of hard-to-find selections rare for anyone. Pick one, then raise a toast to the late Gord Downie. Christopher Schobert wrote about Fattey's downtown Buffalo location.