An opinionated to-do list
By Ron Ehmke

Forget April. June may well be the cruelest month, when it comes to trying to pick out a mere five events to recommend to you. Keep in mind that for every item listed below, there’s another equally compelling one out there: Juneteenth! Bloomsday! The beginning of the annual cycle of garden tours! You get the idea, so grab a disco nap and prepare for another busy summer in the City of Good Neighbors.

1. Riverfest
Here’s another great event from the Valley Community Association: Buffalo River Fest. This family-friendly celebration of our waterfront goes way beyond your average fried-dough-and-Ferris-wheel event to include historical tours of the grain mill district, photos of what the area looked like before the condos and sports arenas, and a regatta. Take me to the river! (Friday, June 20 from 5 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, June 21 from noon to midnight in Father Conway Park, between Ohio and Louisiana St., Buffalo. More info: 823-4707 or

2. Pride Events
Get kinda tired of saying this, but you don’t have to be gay (or lesbian or bi or queer or transgendered, etc.) to attend and thoroughly enjoy the weekend of events that marks the annual return of fabulousness to Buffalo: the Dyke March on Saturday night, the big parade on Sunday afternoon, the party in Bidwell Park after that, and of course, the accompanying fundraisers and bar nights for weeks before and after. The lineup of musical guests this time includes nationally acclaimed one-named sensations Bitch and Ferron (the former has a killer cover of “Stayin’ Alive”), along with touring standup comics and all manner of local legends of various genders. (Dyke March Saturday, June 7, leaving the Eckerd Drugs at 202 West Utica at 7:30 p.m. and heading up Elmwood to Bidwell Park; Pride Buffalo parade Sunday, June 8, starting at Kleinhans at 1 p.m. and heading up Elmwood to Bidwell. Detailed info on all events at

3. The Way We Worked
This one’s quite the coup for the Amherst Museum: a traveling show of eighty-six vintage photos from the National Archives documenting the history of labor in America. Given Buffalo’s proud blue-collar roots, it’s a perfect fitfor our area, and a golden opportunity to show your kids (and/or students) how much the definition of “work” has changed from your grandparents’ day (when sixty percent of the country made its living on family farms) through the current of era of “content providers” and “pixel pushers.” Opening reception on June 6, then the show is up through Aug. 10 at the Amherst Museum.
(3755 Tonawanda Creek Rd., Amherst; 679-1444 or Regular admission and museum hours apply. Exhibition website:

4. AAUW Scholarship Book Sale
I’ve been attending this annual smorgasbord of other people’s discarded treasures since sometime in the 1990s. If you’re a culture vulture with an hour or four to devote to browsing through 200,000 used books, CDs, DVDs, and other goodies—all of which are quite efficiently organized by subject—you’ll want to mark your calendar. You never know what you’ll find, from contemporary Brazilian music to vintage gardening books, and you’ll be supporting the exemplary work of the Buffalo Branch of the American Association of University Women. (June 4—8 in the Crawford Furniture Plaza; 3386 Sheridan Dr., Amherst; info: Judy Clare, 633-1294, or Pat Baker, 634-6640.)

5. Brush Up Buffalo
Countless scientific studies suggest that one of the keys to personal happiness is the act of doing good for others, with no thought of pay. So roll up your sleeves, and join a projected 700 other folks as they strive to improve the quality of life in our fair city.

Now celebrating its twelfth anniversary, Brush Up Buffalo selects fifteen to twenty homes in a different low-income neighborhood every year for instant makeovers. This time around, it’s Lovejoy, as defined by the boundaries of William, Greene, North Ogden, and Broadway Streets. Technically, you’re supposed to sign up for a team by the end of May, but if you don’t see this in time, you can either donate money or get the jump on next year’s action. (Info and registration: 250-3353 or

Ron Ehmke is both a content provider and a pixel pusher.


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