Sick of traditional fall activities? Here are Buffalo's offbeat seasonal fests

Sick of traditional fall activities? Here are Buffalo's offbeat seasonal fests

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Ah, fall.

The time of year for scary walks in the park among actors re-enacting "haunting" Shakespeare scenes. The season of finally learning how to become a home bee-keeper. The time when we all celebrate Oct. 3, the unofficial national holiday celebrating the cult classic movie "Mean Girls."

Well, maybe these aren't the most traditional fall activities, but normal is boring.

Event organizers in Western New York are deviating from some regularly scheduled seasonal programming to bring you unique festivals, like a "Mean Girls" viewing party, a kombucha-meets-corn festival or a build-your-own-scarecrow festival.

We've searched for the more off-the-beaten-path and lesser-known festivals.

Here are some we found:


  • Where: Delaware Park.
  • When: Friday, Oct. 12. Tours depart every 15 minutes, from 6:15 to 10:15 p.m.

Beware of wandering actors. On a Halloween-themed walking tour in Delaware Park, Shakespeare in the Park actors will portray spooky scenes from the Bard's plays. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 856-4533. Tickets are $15 "per victim" and the proceeds benefit Shakespeare in Delaware Park.

P.S. The sun sets at about 6:38 that night, so reserve after 7 p.m. for a darker, creepier setting.

  • Can't-miss detail: The buy-one-get-one-free drink that comes with your ticket purchase. Make time to redeem your ticket at The Terrace at Delaware Park either before or after your tour.

[Read more: Bruce Wieszala presents a special fall menu for the Terrace]

AppleUmpkin 2018

  • When: Saturday and Sunday. Begins at 11 a.m. Ends at 5 p.m.
  • Where: 1 Main St., Wyoming.

Since 1986, residents in this small village about 50 miles from Buffalo host a village-wide fall arts and craft festival. Complete with strolling musicians, apple and pumpkin vendors and a bake-off fundraiser, it's the classic fall festival that could be a scene in nearly every Hallmark movie shown between August and November.

The community bands together, with parking at the fire hall, featuring juggling and even clogging on Main Street and bluegrass under the village tent.

Plus, if pumpkin and apple season is getting overwhelming, Sage Family Maple will have a tent serving bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup, cold "mapleccinos," maple coffee and maple-frosted doughnuts.

  • Can't-miss detail: Jason the Juggler will be juggling and unicycling on Main Street, as well as creating balloon art masterpieces.

Masterson’s Honey Harvest Festival

  • Where: Masterson's Garden Center, 725 Olean Road, East Aurora.
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 6 and Sunday, Oct. 7. Events run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you've ever wanted to learn how to do anything bee-related, from beeswax candle-making to backyard beekeeping, local beekeepers will be at Masterson's Honey Harvest demonstrating how to do exactly that and more.

At the sixth annual festival, learn how to render beeswax or how beekeepers harvest honey. Learn about honey's health benefits. Aside from education, local meaderies and wineries will be offering tastings. East Aurora's 42 North Brewing even made its own brew for the occasion, "Honey Harvest Brew."

  • Can't-miss detail: In their annual honey tasting contest, area beekeepers submit their best honey for festivalgoers to try. Sample the honey, decide the sweetest batch and vote for the tastiest honey, which will make the winning farm's queen bee happy.
  • Haunted Food Truck Rodeo at Iron Island

  • Where: Iron Island Museum, 998 Lovejoy St.
  • When: Friday, Oct. 12. Tours run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Ghosts are scary. Fat Bob's Smokehouse is not. While you're eating a barbecue pulled pork sandwich and strolling around haunted grounds, the two activities are sure to balance each other out. It might seem like a weird combination – food trucks and haunted house tours – but it actually makes a lot of sense.

[Related: Smiles at the Haunted Food Truck Rodeo, 2016]

What's more comforting after being scared to pieces than diving into a bowl of Sweet Melody's salted caramel-flavored gelato?

  • Can't-miss detail: The supposedly haunted museum has been featured on ghost-chasing shows like "GhostHunters" and "My Ghost Story" and used to be a funeral home, which is spooky enough, without the Discovery Channel-confirmed hauntings.

Harry Potter at EXPO Market

  • Where: EXPO Market, 617 Main St. #200.
  • When: Monday, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Blimey! When the weather cools and jack-o-lanterns appear, all "Potterheads" (fans of Harry Potter, for all you muggles out there) start celebrating.

Normally, that means movie marathons while forcing down weirdly flavored, overpriced Bertie Bott's jelly beans or breaking out your old books. Here is your chance to leave your living room, unearth your black robes from the back of your closet and drink authentic Butterbeer, at the EXPO Market's Wizard Fest.

There will be a costume contest, wands for sale, a live DJ and dance party. But sorry, they have a strict no-tolerance policy on bringing your owl, cat or toad. Tickets are $15 for wizards who are over 18.

  • Can't-miss detail: Quidditch pong, the much more magical version of beer pong.

Howl O’Ween Pet & Children Parade

  • Where: 660 Persons St., East Aurora.
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 27, from 3 to 5 p.m.

If you happen to be in East Aurora on this late October Saturday, you – as well as your dog – are in for a treat. Tres Chic Pet Boutique is welcoming costumed dogs (and their families) for a parade, where they'll be handing out "doggie bags," and children's goodie bags.

Get your professional photo taken, paint pumpkins and fill up on cider and doughnuts. If you'd like to make a donation, the proceeds benefit Buffalo Underdogs Rescue, a nonprofit animal rescue organization.

  • Can't-miss detail: Among the creatively dressed pups, dressed in Superman shirts and pink crowns, some families, including the dogs, coordinate their outfits. Spotted in previous galleries are a family of three humans and two four-legged friends dressed as woodland creatures and a group of pirates.

Fall foliage train rides at Medina Railroad Museum

  • Where: Medina Railroad Museum, 530 West Ave., Medina.
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 13; Wednesday, Oct. 17; Saturday, Oct. 20; and Sunday, Oct. 21. Trains depart at 11 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

Red barns, sprawling fields and peak foliage are visible from the tracks in Niagara and Orleans counties. Take a train ride through the country and absorb the changing leaves.

If you board the early afternoon train, you'll even get lunch served in a commemorative, reusable lunch bag. Arrive an hour before your departure time if you're leaving from Medina. For those departing from Lockport, you only need to arrive 15 minutes early. Tickets are $18 for children, $23 for seniors, $25 for adults and $35 for first-class seats in dining cars.

(Similar fall foliage train rides are available, including those offered by Arcade and Attica Railroad and Buffalo Cattaraugus and Jamestown Scenic Railway (Hamburg).

  • Can't-miss detail: A ticket comes with free admission to the Medina Railroad Museum, which has an impressive model railroad.

"Mean Girls" viewing party

  • Where: Community Beer Works, 520 7th St.
  • When: Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m.

"On Oct. 3rd, he asked me what day it was."

"It's Oct. 3rd."

You've probably heard the famous line from "Mean Girls." Now, deemed "Mean Girls" Day, Oct. 3 is a big deal for fans of the 2004 movie. Watch the flick surrounded by other line-reciting fans on a 12-foot projector screen.

  • Can't-miss detail: Aside from being Oct. 3, it's also Wednesday, which satisfies the other famous quote from the movie: "On Wednesdays we wear pink." Wear pink, like "Mean Girls" told you to, and receive a dollar off your beer.
  • BreadHive and Barrel + Brine Have a Corny Festival

  • Where: BreadHive Bakery & Cafe, 402 Connecticut St.
  • When: Friday, Oct. 5, from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

The two local businesses are teaming up to celebrate "all things corn." Barrel + Brine is brewing a corn kombucha, called, of course, "cornbucha." To eat, there will be grilled Mexican street-style corn, pulled pork, served with roasted corn salsa and over a bacon corn muffin, as well as corn ice cream sandwiches and corn chowder.

  • Can't-miss details: It's not just a food festival; the two are trying to celebrate corn in all forms. Put your barbecue lawn game skills to work at the corn hole tournament. Recite those dad jokes with pride at the corny joke competition. You can even win by dressing like corn for the costume contest.

Trick or Treat for Grown-Ups 2018

  • Where: Liberty Vineyards & Winery, 2861 Route 20, Sheridan.
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, Oct. 28 at 11 a.m.

What wine is best paired with a Reese's peanut butter cup? Or Skittles? Find out the fun way at this adult trick-or-treat party. Dress up and participate in a costume contest; winners are the ones deemed most creative.

  • Can't-miss detail: Just like the youth version, make sure you say "trick or treat" for a free wine tasting.

Clarence Hollow Scarecrow Festival

  • Where: Clarence Hollow Farmers Market, 10717 Main St., Clarence.
  • When: Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Reserve your own post in Clarence Hollow for your handmade scarecrow. You can build your own scarecrow, in typical "Wizard of Oz" style or a more sinister version, inspired by "Batman's" villain. Build a scarecrow there with your own materials, or shop for some scarecrow accessories at the "Scarecrow Boo-tique."

Or, you could always bring your own premade scarecrow that will stand out from the rest of the normal scarecrows. Registration is $10 and forms are found on the event's Facebook page. Register at the Clarence Hollow Farmers Market and wave to your scarecrow until Nov. 2, when they come down until next year.

  • Can't-miss detail: If you think your scarecrow is a winner, stop back at the farmers market Saturday, Oct. 2 to hear the prize-winners for scariest, funniest, most original and more. One winner will even win a new bicycle. Don't be afraid to get creative. Last year's grand prize winner resembled the character "Sandy Claws" from "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

Science After Hours: Frankenscience

  • Where: Buffalo Museum of Science
  • When: Friday, Oct. 19 from 6 to 9 p.m.

For true lovers of things that make your skin crawl, like -- I don't know -- a live cow eye dissection or something, you can't miss this Buffalo Museum of Science event. The museum is honoring the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" through literature, history and science.

Aside from the dissection (that wasn't a joke) conducted by museum staff, UNYTS will have an organ, blood and tissue station and there will be electrical demonstrations including a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library will discuss fictional Frankenstein's influence in real-life science, as well as throughout history and pop culture.

  • Can't-miss detail: The event is 21+ and they'll be serving beer and wine. You might need a glass of wine to get through that cow eye dissection. Tickets are $16 per person.


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