Thursday, January 31, 2013

Buffalo-Niagara: What to do in the fall

Like the three other seasons, autumn in the Buffalo-Niagara region is loaded with things to do. Here’s just a sample of some of the fun you can have.
Botanical Gardens Chrysanthemum Show
·         Fall festivals – the Great Pumpkin Farm, Pumpkinville, Brown’s Berry/Pumpkin Patch, Holiday Hollow, the MAiZE and Becker Farms are just a few of the place offering up fall festivals for the family in the area.
·         Haunted houses and hayrides – places for ghoulish fun include Darien Lake’s FrightFest, Screamers’ Hollow, the Nightmare Hayrides on Sommerville St., Frightworld, District of the Dead and the Lockport Haunted Cave Tours.
·         Turkey Trot – a fundraiser for the Buffalo-area YMCAs, the Turkey Trot is the oldest continuously-running foot race in North America, first run in 1896 and every year since. The five-mile run takes place in the Delaware Ave. area in downtown Buffalo.
·         Festival of Trees – start the holiday season with this fundraiser for Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo.
·         Chrysanthemum Show at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens – another of the Gardens’ premier flower shows.
Find more to do in the fall at

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Buffalo-Niagara: What to do in the summer

The question is “What you do in Buffalo in the summer?” The answer is simple: just about anything! Rather than breaking things down into specifics, here’s a generalized idea of what takes place throughout the Buffalo-Niagara region in summer – because there’s quite a bit going on.
Huey Lewis at Artpark - 7/3/12

·         Outdoor concerts – this is a big one in this area, where outdoor, inexpensive concerts from national record acts can be seen at least five nights a week at peak time – and sometimes more. Concerts can be found at Artpark (Tuesdays and Wednesdays), the Erie Canal Harbor Wharf (Thursdays and some weekends), Lockport’s Canal area (Fridays – the site is moving in 2013) and the Hard Rock Café in Niagara Falls USA (Saturdays). Some of these concerts attract tens of thousands, often because the price is right – FREE!

·         Fairs and festivals – it goes without saying in just about any town, but in B-lo, there seems to be two or three (at least!) happening every weekend, and come late July through August, it’s county fair season. There are also all kinds of art festivals, food festivals, music festivals…don’t ever say you’re bored during the summer in Buffalo-Niagara – if you are, you’re not looking hard enough!
·         National Garden Festival and garden walks – yes, the “National” Garden Festival is held in Buffalo, home of one of the largest garden walks in the country, Garden Walk Buffalo, with over 350 participating gardens. There are more than one dozen garden walks associated with the Festival, along with bus tours, special shows and speakers and much more.
·         Outdoor workouts – these became popular in the past couple of years, and have sprouted up throughout the area, including the Erie Canal Harbor Wharf and the Botanical Gardens. Of course, there’s always the option of going for a walk or run in Delaware Park or any of the other parks in the area.
·         Car shows and cruise nights – take your cars, trucks, bikes – anything with wheels, for that matter – and hit one of the weekend car shows or week night cruise nights throughout Buffalo-Niagara. Find an updated listing of area car shows at
·         Outdoor farmer’s markets – growing in popularity with the local food movement, farmer’s markets are held everywhere, including the downtown Country Market, the Williamsville Farmer’s Market, the North Tonawanda City Market and more.
Want to get this summer’s calendar started? Check out for a calendar of events in the area.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Buffalo-Niagara: What to do in springtime

The winter is gone, but summer’s still so far away. It’s springtime in Buffalo, but don’t worry – there’s plenty to do here that will prep you for summer.
·         Spring Flower Show at the Botanical Gardens – the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens always have something going on, and the Spring Flower Show features more than just flowers. There’s a petting zoo, visits with the Easter Bunny, and the “Dress your Easter Best” contest. And don’t forget to register for the Easter Egg Hunt.
·         The Buffalo Home and Garden Show – every March, the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center in downtown Buffalo hosts two weekends of seminars, displays and vendors to get you inspired for spring, remodeling, redecorating and gardening. There are often television home improvement gurus making special appearances as well.
·         Plantasia – the annual garden spectacular at the Hamburg Fairgrounds features area nurseries, landscapers, landscape architects, garden clubs and more. You’ll get new ideas from the daily seminars and might go home with some new plants or lawn furniture – as well as new ideas.
·         Easter at the Broadway Market – the Broadway Market is the place to be the week before Easter – old-time market shopping at its finest. And don’t forget the butter lamb!
Looking for more to do this spring? Check out for a calendar of events in the area.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Buffalo-Niagara: What to do in winter

No, this is not about snow – although we do get some of that (not nearly as much as most people think!). No, this is about fun stuff to do in the Buffalo-Niagara region in the winter – there are holiday shows and festivals, outdoor activities, a huge auto show and some interesting programs indoors as well.
·         Victorian Christmas – in early December, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site at 641 Delaware Ave. in Buffalo is decked out in its Victorian holiday finest, offering luncheons, special events and more. The site is also open for visitors just wanting to check out the beautiful decorations.
·         Visit the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens – after spending many years away from it, this has quickly become one of my favorite places to visit in Buffalo. In the winter, it hosts the Poinsettia Show and Garden Railway Exhibit, the Amaryllis and Cymbidium Show, and an indoor light show entitled NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens.
·         Rotary Rink – free public ice skating in downtown Buffalo in Fountain Plaza (Main and Chippewa). Skate rentals are cheap ($3 for adults and $2 for kids), or free on the first Wednesday of the month while open.
·         Buffalo Auto Show – every February, some of the hottest new rides warm up chilly downtown Buffalo at the Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center on Franklin St.
·         Labatts Pond Hockey Tournament – the thought is there, but in recent years, the ice hasn’t been. More than 120 teams come to town every February hoping to get back to the simpler days of outdoor hockey, but Lake Erie doesn’t always cooperate, meaning the tournament becomes a street hockey tournament.
Looking for more wintertime options? Check out for a calendar of events in the area.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Welcome to Buffalo, Doug Marrone and the NHL!

Normally when I wake up on a Sunday morning, it’s “Ugh, I have to go back to work tomorrow.” This morning, it was “Who shook the snow globe? Two big Buffalo sports stories??”
I’m not a pro football fan by any means – maybe too many years of the Bills! – but I do love college sports, and one of my favorite teams is the Syracuse Orange, especially in football and basketball. So when I woke up and turned on the TV, I was somewhat shocked to hear that the Bills had hired Marrone as their new head coach – mostly that it happened so quickly! So, here’s a quick look at Marrone’s football career so far.
Marrone played on the offensive line at Syracuse University from 1983 to 1985 before entering the NFL; he played for the Miami Dolphins in 1987 and the New Orleans Saints in 1989. He returned to Syracuse to complete his degree and graduate in 1991, and also played for the London Monarchs of the World League of American Football in 1991 and 1992.
Following his playing career, Marrone got into coaching, holding college coaching positions at Cortland State, Coast Guard, Northeastern, Georgia Tech, Georgia and Tennessee. In 2002 he got his first NFL job, as Offensive Line coach for the New York Jets, which he held until 2005. From 2006 to 2008, he served as the Offensive Coordinator for the New Orleans Saints.
Marrone was hired as head coach at struggling Syracuse University in 2008, taking the program to two post-season bowl game victories in four seasons – both at the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. His record at Syracuse was 25-25.
In the other big sports news of the day, the NHL and NHLPA gave me an early birthday present by ending the lockout! The two sides met until 5 a.m. in NYC and hammered out much of the deal – hockey could begin as soon as January 15th. This comes one day after hockey-crazed and hockey-starved Buffalo fans went to bars at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning to watch Team USA win the World Juniors Championship over Sweden in Russia. Congrats to Team USA and congrats to the brass at the NHL and NHLPA for finally figuring this out!