Hot 5 in September

An opinionated to-do list

Niagara County Peach Festival is September 8-10.


September seems more like the start of a new year than January ever does. There’s a real discernable change in both light and temperature this month, while, in January, it’s just cold often and dark early on the reg. Here’s to the real new year, dear September: from gloriously long gold-kissed sunny days to chill mornings, cozy fires, and a falling leaf or two. Let’s resolve to enjoy every moment and explore what’s strange and wonderful in our region.


Squeaky Wheel Animation Fest

Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Arts Center’s presents the 14th Animation Fest in the Albright-Knox auditorium. Squeaky Wheel’s mission is to promote innovation in media arts through access, education, and exhibition via electronic media and film. It also has great classes for adults and kids. The 14th Annual Animation Fest is a rollicking show and a signature event for the organization. This free family-friendly affair features some of the most innovative artists working across media, shapes, and colors.

Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m., Albright–Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Ave.; or 882–8700)


Niagara County Peach Festival

This old fashioned festival features a parade, peach shortcake along with all the usual fair food, games, vendors, carnival rides, and three days of live entertainment including a cheerleading competition and Elvis tribute. A word on the parade: do bring a chair and an empty pillowcase if small children are part of your contingent. The parade often lasts two hours or more and exuberant float riders will pelt you with tons of candy. I will neither confirm nor deny this, but I’ve heard that pouring a bloody Mary into your travel mug could make the experience more tolerable and enjoyable.

Sept. 8–10, Fri. 5–11 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Academy Park, Center St., Lewiston ( or 754–9500)



These tiny beauties are displayed in creative ways, so bring a camera and steal some ideas. Succulents can be the perfect plant for forgetful gardeners. They’re fairly easy to care for, and succulent gardens can add life and greenery to any room, whether potted or in a terrarium. Learn about the best types of succulents to grow in the home and buy a whole bunch; there is power in many when it comes to succulents and the BECBG’s horticulture team has many surprises in store for visitors.

Sept. 2–Oct. 1, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens (2655 S. Park Ave.; or 827-1584)


The Flaming Lips

The word “spectacle” springs immediately to mind when one hears The Flaming Lips. The band is acclaimed for its elaborate live shows, which feature costumes, balloons, puppets, video, giant hands, confetti, and frontman Wayne Coyne rolling across the audience in his signature man–sized plastic bubble. Fans love the rock-psychedelic vibe and energy. If you like rainbows, bushy eyebrows, sparkly makeup, and concur that “There Should be Unicorns,” this might be the perfect show for you.

Sept. 20, 8 p.m., Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls; or 205–8925)



Tesla with his Tesla Coil


Electric Circus Tesla Fest

Nicola Tesla is on the verge of being re-embraced as the father of modern electricity and the Niagara Power Project. Recently, Buffalo’s Common Council adopted a resolution that calls for fourteen blocks of Niagara Street to be dedicated as the Nikola Tesla Heritage Trail. The Electric Circus Tesla Fest, hosted by the Buffalo Niagara Tesla Festival, synthesizes Tesla’s developments with a celebration of many other touchstones, from the Tesla Coil and Glowing Globe to Tesla Motors. To kick off the festival, the embodiment of Nicola Tesla himself will arrive at The Barrel Factory, which hosts the festival, in one of the first brand new Tesla Model S economy cars.

September 22, 6 p.m., The Barrel Factory (65 Vandalia St.;                        


Wendy Guild Swearingen is senior editor of Spree.


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