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Summer Calendar: Musts, Festivals, Garden Walks, and Tours

The sudden influx of warm weather events in Buffalo can be overwhelming to say the least. Instead of scrambling to organize your schedule, use this handy calendar to keep track of this summer’s bustling activity. Save your energy for setting up fans and beating the heat. Although even on the hottest days it will be worth venturing out into Buffalo’s various neighborhoods to sample delicious food and drinks, feast your eyes on astounding artwork and gardens, quench your thirst for knowledge with historical tours, and enjoy all the summer has to offer. -jill greenberg

Summer Must: Explore Hertel Avenue

Hertel Avenue is more than just the Elmwood Village’s antique shop dotted little sister. A stroll through this North Buffalo neighborhood can provide a great summer day, no matter the temperature. On those perfect, breezy days stop by one of Hertel’s many restaurants such as Kostas Family Restaurant or Romeo and Juliet’s Café after you browse in shops like Room and Modern Nostalgia. On those stickier, more humid days go to the North Park Theater for a movie to escape the heat. Once the sun has set, enjoy a wide selection of Italian sodas, coffees, lattes, steamers, teas, and more at Allegro Café. -jill greenberg

Summer Must: Tour and Sunday Brunch at the Roycroft Campus and Inn

(40 South Grove St., East Aurora).,

Start your Sunday off with the elaborate brunch at the Roycroft Inn. This spread features a carving station, custom prepared omelettes, classic and specialty breakfast entrées, fresh salads, breakfast pastries, and a variety of desserts. It’s not brunch without a drink and the Roycroft Inn brunch comes with a complimentary mimosa, poinsettia, or Bloody Mary. If you’re not completely stuffed by then, head across the street to the Roycroft Campus, which is the best-preserved and most complete complex of buildings remaining in the US of the craftsmanship and philosophy guilds that developed during the late 19th century. In addition to tours, classes, and demonstrations, the Copper Shop Gallery, which features gift items created by over 60 local and national artists, is open daily from 10am-5pm. -jill greenberg

Summer Must: Trek Niagara Falls

Take a break from the tourist attractions, and walk alongside the rapids in the Niagara Gorge trail system. If you’ve never been on the Maid of the Mist – you’re definitely missing out, but there is more to Niagara Falls than just gawking. The trail, starting at Devil’s Hole State Park, leads to a gorgeous and adventurous hike not known to many Buffalonians. The steps that descend into the gorge are pretty steep – so don’t explore without some sturdy footwear. The marked trails are safe distance from the gigantic rapids, but the scenic hike includes some rocky obstacles. Take a friend, stay safe, and enjoy the gorge’s beauty. -sara dinatale

Summer Must: 30th Season of the Downtown Country Market

June 7 – October 25 Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 am-2:30pm. (Main Street between Church & Court).

Buffalo Place is launching its 30th season of the Downtown Country Market, an outdoor marketplace. The market offers fresh, homegrown produce and specialty food items provided by local vendors. Nearly 15,000 office workers, residents, visitors and tourists visit the market each week to purchase fresh grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, cheese, eggs, baked goods, honey, jams, jellies, and sausages as well as kettle corn and gourmet cupcakes. Support Buffalo’s local economy and satisfy all of your summer cravings at the Downtown Country Market this summer. -lisa khoury

Summer Event: Wine & Cheese Weekend

June 15-17. The Niagara Wine Trail. Sponsored by Yancey’s Fancy New York’s Artisan Cheese. $30/$25.

There’s nothing quite like a slightly sweet Riesling paired with some savory Gouda, or, if your palate inclines you to the Bordeaux, some soft Brie and an aged Merlot. There’s also nothing quite like the bill you can run up indulging in such tastes. Thanks to New York’s own Yancey’s Fancy Cheese and local wineries even the most cash-strapped of oenophiles can feel like a Château-dwelling aristocrat, if only for a day. The self-guided trail is great for romantic getaways, troupes of starving artists, or solitary, ruminative aesthete-types. -edward a. benoit

Summer Event: Buffalo Museum of Science Star Lights, Drinks, & Bites

August 25, 7-8pm VIP, 8-11pm. Buffalo Museum of Science (1020 Humboldt Pkwy.) $50 VIP/$40/$35 until June 15.

Anyone who’s ever gazed up at a clear night sky to invoke a feeling of the numinous (whether under chemical influence or not) will appreciate this annual event hosted by the Buffalo Museum of Science, which adds booze and erudite adult conversation to the equation. Who could say no to that? Tickets are available right up until the date of the event, but those who purchase before June 15 will save $5. Conversely, anyone willing to spend a little bit more for a VIP ticket will be admitted an hour early. Great for couples and single sophisticates alike. -edward a. benoit

Summer Event: Squeaky Wheel’s 9th Annual Outdoor Animation Festival

July 28, 8:30pm. Days Park (Allentown).

Those already disillusioned with the annual spate of summer blockbusters can grab a few blankets, a few snacks, and a few friends and head to Allentown’s intimate Days Park for a very different cinematic experience: a free evening of animated shorts. All manner of artists—both new and established, local and not—will have the products of their blood, sweat, time, and toil presented, provided said products are some form of animation, available online, and under five minutes long. Who knows—maybe one or more of the talented featured filmmakers will have work playing in your local multiplex one day. -edward a. benoit

Summer Event: 55th Annual Allentown Art Festival

June 9-10, 11am-6pm. (Historic Allentown District). Outdoor festival featuring over 400 local artists and crafters, sponsored by the Allentown Village Society.

The Allentown Art Festival celebrates local artists and crafters and gives Buffalo residents a taste of the diverse art scene of the Queen City. Each year, the Allentown Village Society brings these artists together in the historic, quirky district. Not only can visitors browse and buy gorgeous paintings, handmade jewelry, or stunning photographs, they also get to experience the art of the village. The festival is set up amongst the colorful, vibrant historic homes and buildings. If you’re looking to spend a summer day outdoors and if you enjoy supporting local artists, check out the Allentown Art Festival. -rebecca bratek

Summer Event: Forgotten Buffalo Tours

You may have been born and bred in Buffalo, but that doesn’t mean you know your way around this city. But fear not, Buffalonians, Forgotten Buffalo Tours is here to help. They pride themselves on being “historic and hip,” and the tours take guests to parts of Buffalo that are off the beaten track. From dive bars and taverns to former department stores and even the Central Terminal, these tours showcase the little-known secrets of the Nickel City. Want to learn more about Buffalo’s Polonia, Irish South Buffalo, or Black Rock neighborhoods? Soon you’ll know this city like the back of your hand; experience Buffalo in a way you never have before. -rebecca bratek

Summer Event: Shakespeare in Delaware Park

June 21-August 19, Tuesdays through Sundays, 7:30pm. Richard the Third: June 21-July 15, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: July 26-August 19.

What better way to unwind than spending your midsummer nights with the Bard? Or, more specifically, watching his plays performed on a lavish Tudor stage in Buffalo’s historic, Olmsted-designed Delaware Park? This year’s bill features everyone’s favorite drama/history/revenge epic/ghost story, Richard the Third, and whimsical rom-com fairy romp A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Whether you’re a star-crossed young lover, a mischievous fey monarch, or a mad power-hungry pretender to the throne of England, this year’s SDP promises a little something for just about everyone. -edward a. benoit

Summer Event: Deco-Fest 2012

June 16, 4pm. Buffalo Central Terminal (495 Paderewski Dr.) All ages. $20/$15.

Take a step into a time warp and experience the Buffalo Central Terminal as it was in 1929. The Deco-Fest 2012 will celebrate “the swing and style” of the terminal, and exists as a fundraiser to help restore the Buffalo landmark. This swinging night will be filled with big band and rockabilly sounds, from bands like the Gas House Gorillas. Chuck Chazz and the Next Generation Swing and Swing Buffalo will both attend this evening, showing off their moves and offering basic dance lessons. The night will also have vintage vaudeville performances by Chelsea Green of Pole Play Dance Studio and Eye Candy Burlesque. -sara dinatale

Summer Event: Taste of Buffalo

July 7-8, 11am. Delaware Ave & Niagara Square.

Buffalo food is so much more than chicken wings – while they are undeniably delicious and will certainly have a strong presence at this year’s Taste of Buffalo, take the coming festival as opportunity to try something new. Let this year’s Taste be the time you try Cajun crab puffs, beef and sausage gumbo, or “Nickel City” mac and cheese. The two-day festival is the largest of its kind in the U.S. It will bring together over 50 restaurants and over 200 dishes, priced between $1-$4. With continual live music and free admission, it’s the perfect way to spend a summer day while enjoying some of Western New York’s finest cuisine. -sara dinatale

Summer Event: 14th Annual Lebanese Festival

July 27-29. St. John Maron Catholic Church (2040 Wehrle Dr.)

St. John Maron’s fourteenth annual Lebanese Festival will bring Mediterranean heat to Buffalo this July. Each summer, Williamsville’s Lebanese church provides visitors with homemade Lebanese cuisine, traditional dance performances, historic church tours, amusement rides, and a family-friendly ambiance at its outside church site on Wehrle Drive. This year, Amin Sultan—an Arab American singer—will perform with his band at the festival the whole weekend. At night, the festival livens up even more as the band’s upbeat Mediterranean rhythm lures people from the beer tent and the dining tables to the dance floor. Whether you’re looking to spice up your summer with new food, experience the Middle Eastern culture, or change up the scene with a night out with friends, the Lebanese Festival is an event to experience. -lisa khoury



12th Annual Buffalo River Fest

June 15-17. Buffalo River Fest Park (249 Ohio St.) Family events, Bingo, kids area, softball tournament, arts & crafts show, boat races, historic walking tours, live entertainment, Father’s Day fishing contest, refreshments, beer garden, and more.

Discover Amherst Street Festival XV

June 16, 9am-5pm. Amherst Street. Family activities, food, entertainment, best pie contest, parade at noon, trolley & horse & carriage rides, Harmony Polish Folk Ensemble, chalk contest, arts show & sale, chicken bbq, and more. Sponsored by the Grant-Amherst Business Association.

Chatauqua in June Learning Festival

Now-June 17. Learn a new hobby or skill, over 50 workshops.

10th Annual Polish Heritage Festival

June 8-9. Fairgrounds Gaming and Raceway Clubhouse (5600 McKinley Pkwy. Hamburg, NY). 10 Year Celebration of Polish Culture & Traditions. Culture, tradition, exhibits, crafters, refreshments, entertainment, and dancing. Music by Bob Uleck Polka Relations, The Polka Family, Chardon Polka Band, New Brass Express, The Buffalo Touch w/ Scrubby, Polish Choir, Burza Batalion & more. $10/Free Kids under 16.

Wine & Cheese Weekend

June 15-17. The Niagara Wine Trail. Sponsored by Yancey’s Fancy New York’s Artisan Cheese. $30/$25.


June 16, 4pm. Buffalo Central Terminal (495 Paderewski Dr.) Celebrate swing music and architecture, refreshments, dancing, contests, car show, vendors, & more. Music by Gas House Gorillas, Double Down, Krypton 88, Kickstart Rumble, The Millwinders, & The Vignettes. All ages. $20/$15.

German Festival

June 16, 12-8pm. Amherst Museum (3755 Tonawanda Creek Road). German music, refreshments, beer, and ale. $6/$2 Kids 4-12/Free Kids 3 & under.

37th Juneteenth of Buffalo

June 16-17. Martin Luther King Jr. Park (Best St. & Fillmore Ave.) Praise & worship, SHARP Parade, entertainment, vendors, book fair, tours, kids activities, African drum & dance lessons, & more.

Annual Rotary Strawberry Festival

June 20, 4:30pm. Island Park (Williamsville, NY, Behind Village Hall).

7th Annual Citybration

June 21-24. Buffalo Waterfront & Various locations. Party with a purpose, 2 dozen family-friendly events, photography exhibit, screening of The American Side, sunset reception at City Hall, hot air balloon rides, Buffalo Living tour, SCANvenger hunt, Floating Cocktail Party & Boat Parade, MF24H (MusicalFare’s 24 Hour Musical Festival), 5K Race & Fun Run, festival at Canalside, waterfront bike rides, & more.

Squeaky Wheel’s Hands-On Movie Nights in Buffalo River Fest Park

June 21, July 19, August 16, 7:30pm. Buffalo River Fest Park (249 Ohio St.) Film screenings every third Thursday this summer. Animations and films for the whole family along with hands-on activities, presentations, demos, and art displays. Free.

Shakespeare in Delaware Park

June 21-August 19, Tuesdays through Sundays, 7:30pm. Richard the Third: June 21-July 15, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: July 26-August 19.

2nd Annual Main Street Music & Art Festival in Niagara Falls, NY

June 23-24, 11am. Main Street (Linwood Ave. to Niagara Ave.) Over 100 art, food, and wine vendors, chalk walk, street entertainers, music by Corey & Kate, The Furies, West of the Mark, High Horse, Ron LoCurto & the Reinhardts, 12 Pack Jack, Dive House Union, The Evil Things, Whiskey Reverb, & more.


Taste of Buffalo

July 7-8. 11am. Delaware Ave & Niagara Square. More than 200 culinary specialties served by WNY’s best restaurants & three stages with a variety of live music. The largest two-day festival in the country.

Old Home Days Celebration

July 10-13, 11am-11pm. Island Park (Williamsville, NY, Behind Village Hall). Parade, live music, reunions, rides, fishing derby, refreshments, and more.,

22nd Annual Macedonian Festival

July 13-15. Sts. Cyril & Methody Macedonian Orthodox Church (4785 Lake Ave., Blasedell, NY). Traditional Macedonian food, music, dance groups, cultural exhibits, special menu of lamb, shish-kebab, bbq chicken, cabbage rolls, Macedonian potatoes, & more.

Italian Heritage Festival

July 12-15, 11am. Hertel Ave. Local entertainment, bocce, Italian Idol contest, demonstrations, crafts, kid’s activities, second largest Italian street festival in the country.

Canal Fest of the Tonawandas

July 15-22. (15 Webster St., Tonawanda, NY). Celebrate the Erie Canal & it’s history. Activities, crafts, parade, golf tournament, rides, & more.

Buffalo Infringement Festival

July 26-August 5. Various under the radar arts performances, exhibits, and events throughout the city.

14th Annual Lebanese Festival

July 27-29. St. John Maron Catholic Church (2040 Wehrle Dr.) Homemade Lebanese cusine, traditional dance performances, church tours, rides, and live music.

Squeaky Wheel’s 9th Annual Outdoor Animation Festival

July 28, 8:30pm. Days Park (Allentown). Bring a blanket or chair and watch animated films by emerging and established artists under the stars. Play Bingo, make your own animations with a zoetrope machine, and more. In case of rain, the screening will be held at Squeaky Wheel (712 Main). Free.


Eden Corn Festival

August 2-5. American Legion Post 880 (Legion Dr off Route US-62). Rides, games, refreshments, parade, contests, music, and various entertainment. Free.

Taste of Lancaster

August 4, 11am-9pm. Central Ave. (Between Broadway & Pleasant Ave.) Food, music by Tameron, Beatle Magic, and Breakaway, 5k race, and beer garden.

Niagara Tattoo Expo

August 3-5. Niagara Falls Conference Center (101 Old Falls St.) Arlowe’s Freak Show Act, Art Fusion Project, DJs, and refreshments.

Taste of Williamsville, Savor the Flavor

August 5, 12-9pm. Island Park (Williamsville, NY, Behind Village Hall). Refreshments for lunch and dinner from over 20 restaurants, pie baking contest, and live music.

173nd Erie County Fair

August 8-19. Fairgrounds Gaming and Raceway Clubhouse (5600 McKinley Pkwy. Hamburg, NY). Live music, community stage acts, concerts, fair camp, contests, talent contest, rides, refreshments, animals, and more.

Taste of Ellicottville

August 11-12. 12-4pm. Village of Ellicottville. Samples from 22 fine restaurants. $1.

America’s Grape Country Wine Festival

August 11-12. Chatauqua County Fairgrounds (Dunkirk, NY). Wineries, craft, and food vendors. Concert by The Guess Who.

Scottish Festival & Highland Games

August 18, 10am-4pm. Amherst Museum (3755 Tonawanda Creek Road). Highland games, entertainment, and more.

Buffalo Museum of Science Star Lights, Drinks, & Bites

August 25, 7-8pm VIP, 8-11pm. Buffalo Museum of Science (1020 Humboldt Pkwy.) Star gazing, wine and beer tasting, live entertainment, and food. $50 VIP/$40/$35 until June 15.

31st Buffalo Irish Festival

August 24-26. Canalside. Parade of 32 county flags, Irish music, cuisine, dance, theatre, and more. $10/$8 Kids 4-12 & Seniors/Free Kids under 4.


Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival

Sept 1-2, 12pm. Coca-Cola Field (257 Washington St.) Kids zone, cook-offs, contests, Buffalo wings, refreshments, and more. $5.

Art Festivals


55th Annual Allentown Art Festival

June 9-10, 11am-6pm. (Historic Allentown District). Outdoor festival featuring over 400 local artists and crafters, sponsored by the Allentown Village Society.

Heritage Arts Fair

June 23-24, 11am-5pm. Hull Family Home & Farmstead (5976 Genesee St, Lancaster, NY). Demos of heritage crafts such as spinning, weaving, felting, knitting, woodworking, lacemaking, blacksmithing, quilting, & more by local artisans. Musice by City Fiddle Band, Kindred, The 198 String Band, Irish Volunteers, Brian & Peg, & more. Farm animals, refreshments, craft items, & tours. $5/$2 Students & Kids 10-18/Free Kids under 10.


Echo: Art Fair

July 7-8, 9:30am-5:30pm. Larkin Center of Commerce (701 Seneca St.) A juried fine art exposition that connects experienced collectors and first-time buyers with established and emerging local, regional, and international artists. Showcases a broad scope of fine art mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, print, works on paper, video, and mixed media alongside performance art, live music, and refreshments. Followed by d’echodance after party by Tony Billoni featuring DJ Cutler, live performance art, cash bar, & benefits Give 4 Greatness at the DNIPRO Ukrainian Hall (562 Genesee St.) on July 7, 9pm. $5 for After party/Free.

Old Sanborn Days Arts and Crafts Show

July 14-15, 10am-5pm. Sanborn Fire Company (Buffalo St., Route 429) Weekend residency by three artists, old-fashioned country fair and craft show, music, dancing, family activities, refreshments, and petting zoo. Presented by the Rotary Club of Niagara Country Central & National Endowment for the Arts. Free.

Glen Park Arts Festival

July 28-29. 10am-6pm. Glen Park (278 Glen Ave.) Over 30 artists and vendors, 10 local restaurants, student art displays, 20 musical acts and performances, youth activities, & more.


45th Annual Lewiston Art Festival.

August 11-12, 10am-6pm. Center St., Lewiston, NY. Over 175 artists and fine crafters. Meet the artists, visit College Alley featuring student artwork, KeyBank 28th Annual Chalk Walk Competition, music, food, street performers, make and take workshops, and demonstrations.

12th Annual Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts

August 25-26, 10am. Over 170 artists and crafters, over 50 performances, dance tent, Kidsfest, solar powered stages, cultural row, and refreshments.

Garden Walks


National Garden Festival

June 23-July 29. 14 garden walks and tours celebrating gardening. Tours, seminars, guest speakers, workshops, and special events., (800) 242-4244

7th Annual Lewiston Garden Fest

June 23-24, 10am-5pm. (Center St., Lewiston, NY). Garden related vendors, activities, speakers, demonstrations, and displays. Sponsored by the Lewiston Garden Club.

15th Annual Parkside Garden Tour

June 24, 10am-4pm. Church of Good Shepherd (Jewett Pkwy & Summit Ave.) Walk the gardens. Parkside audio/visual presentations and a guided walking architectural tour featuring local folklore at 12pm and 2pm.

Village of Williamsville Garden Walk

June 30, 10am-4pm. Village Meeting House (5658 Main St.) Dozens of resident’s gardens open to the public and Village merchant Main Street sidewalk sales. Free.


Lockport in Bloom, 8th Annual City-Wide Garden Tour

July 7-8, 10am-4pm. Kenan Center (433 Locust St.) Self guided walking or driving tour, over 40 historic homes.

Hamburg Garden Walk

July 14-15, 10am-4pm. Memorial Park (Lake & Union) Gardens and vendor fair.

South Buffalo Alive Garden Tour

July 15, 9am-3pm. (South Buffalo & Old First Ward). Showcasing the gardens of South Buffalo and the Old First Ward.

Historic Niagara Falls Garden Walk

July 21. Niagara Falls City Hall (745 Main St.) Mile long tour, the city’s historic Main Street showcased, vendors, and master gardeners.

Lancaster Garden Walk

July 21-22, 10am-4:30pm. Self guided tour. Free.

Ken-Ton Garden Tour

July 21-22, 10am-4pm. Tour gardens and Saturday Night Lights nighttime tour at 8:30pm.

18th Annual Garden Walk Buffalo

July 28-29, 10am-4pm. Over 370 urban gardens and historic neighborhoods, the largest garden tour in the United States. Free.


8th Annual Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens and Starry Night Garden Tour

August 4, 10am-5pm. Day gardens and evening gardens.


(Various times and locations, view websites for full schedules.)

Buffalo Niagara River Tours

1250 Niagara St. Tours for hikers, bikers, paddlers, and family friendly tours.

Buffalo Tours

617 Main St. 50 self guided audio tours and nearly 500 guided tours. Learn about Buffalo’s historical and architectural heritage. 852-3300,

Forgotten Buffalo Tours

Buffalo’s authority on unique landmarks, classic taverns, old world neighborhoods, and Nickel City oddities. Led by Maxwell Truth, the host of Off Beat Cinema. 883-5211,

Marble Orchard Historic Walks & Ghost Walks

Courtyard on Center Street. History plus the grim and ghastly stories of Lewiston.

Mason Winfield’s Haunted History Ghost Walks, Inc.

21 South Grove St. Suite 240. Author and researcher Mason Winfield’s haunted history tours explore history, architecture, mystery, parapsychology, and ghosts. 655-6663,

Open-Air Autobus of Buffalo

561 Forest Ave. #3. Historical and architectural attractions. $100 Season pass/$20/$5 Kids. 845-3749,

Sundays in the Cemetery at Forest Lawn

1411 Delaware Ave. Walking and trolley tours June through October. $25 Trolley tours/$15 Walking tours. 885-1600,

Sunday Morning Vineyard Walks

9-11am. Johnson Estate Winery (West Main Rd., Westfield) 326-2191. Led by owner Fred Johnson.

More Artvoice Summer Guide 2012:
Intro: Pond Swimming • Events: Summer Musts, Festivals, Garden Walks, and Tours
Enjoy the Waterfront: WNY From the WaterWheels on the Water
Music: Summer Spotify MixtapeFree Summer Concert Guide
Summer Eats: Cool Food for Warm WeatherThree Wines for Your Summer Oases

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