In the 2001 movie Osmosis Jones, Bill Murray's character dreams of attending the National Buffalo Wing Festival. Although that made for an amusing plot point, there was a problem: at the time, no such festival existed. When Buffalo native Drew Cerza heard about this oversight, he realized that it was a wrong that needed righting. He threw his inaugural festival that same year, and the rest is meaty, sauce-slathered history. Now, every Labor Day weekend, wing fans flock to Buffalo, and they usually bring their appetites to chow through one million-plus wings over the duration of the festival.
At each festival, restaurant representatives travel to Coca-Cola Field to share their tastiest, hottest sauces with festivalgoers. A select group of buffalo wing purists participate in the festival's traditional and creative sauce competitions, whipping up sauces onstage before serving their concoctions to a panel of local celebrity judges. The sauce-off is one of the festival's many contests, which also include wing eating competitions and bobbing for wings in a pool of blue cheese.
Aside from the many wing-based events, the festival features entertainment ranging from live music to live quiz shows. In 2006, the festival even hosted a wedding, fulfilling every father's fantasy of grabbing a snack as he accompanies his daughter down the aisle.
Beloved boy bands New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys rev the engines of adoration among droves of fans with their poptastic summer tour. New Kids on the Block has been plucking heartstrings and handcrafting harmonies since 1986, combining a collection of international hits such as "Hangin' Tough" and "Step by Step" with five-part choreography and fashionable duds. Following in their footsteps, the Backstreet Boys began blowing up charts in the '90s, producing a songbook replete with favorites such as "I Want It That Way," "All I Have to Give," and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." The NKOTBSB Tour brings both acts together for a songful extravaganza, forming the more perfect union prophesied nearly 50 years ago by the Constitution. The May 25 concert also includes the vocal virtuosity of special guest and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, adding to an ear-pleasing stew of dulcet melodies sure to soothe the most savage beast or most irascible mail carrier.
Predator. Viper. Red Hawk. Though these could be the monikers of assassins in Kill Bill: Volume 3, they're actually the names of a few of Darien Lake Amusement Park's thrilling roller coasters. Eleven daring rides greet the adventurous and include rides like classic wooden coasters the Ride of Steel, which boasts speeds of up to 75 mph and a 205-foot plunge. But spending a day here isn't just about the scream-inducing rides. The park also features water excursions and kid- and family-friendly rides, such as the nostalgic Grande Carousel and the Moose on the Loose ride, not to be confused with the less popular Mole on a Stroll.
Those interested in aquatic fun can venture into Splashtown, Darien Lake's adjoining water park. There, people of all ages enjoy looping tube slides, a heated lazy river, and the popular Tornado—a 132-foot-long tunnel that shoots you into a giant funnel at 20 mph. And if one day isn't enough time, check out Darien Lake's lodging options, which include camping, glamping (ready-made campsites), RV rentals, and cabins.
History will come alive at lakeside Krull Park, inside the charming village of Olcott Beach. Guests of this yearly festival, less than an hour drive from both Buffalo and Rochester, will find themselves immersed in the traditions and pageantry of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
FREE PARKING FREE to Kids 12 & Under
Local food vendors, breweries, and musicians?everything about the Real Canadian Craft Beer Festival screams Canada. In addition to all the drinking of beer?which comes from Ontario?brewmasters, beer specialists, and other experts give talks and host seminars. The topics might cover what it takes to start a brewery or perhaps how to come up with the perfect food-and-beer pairings.