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Things to Do: Family fun, music and honoring veterans over the holiday weekend

Buffalo News - 5/22/2024

May 22—Here are highlights of some of the things you can do over the long Memorial Day weekend.

Signature Stars and Stripes with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. 10 a.m. Friday, May 24 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 25 at Kleinhans Music Hall.

The BPO continues its Memorial Day weekend tradition of honoring members of the armed forces with this annual program of patriotic favorites. Featured music is by the likes of George Gershwin, John Philip Sousa and John Williams. Joining the BPO for the festive concert are the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, the Silver Creek High School Chamber Choir, vocalist Dee Donasco and pianist Jeffrey Biegel. Free tickets to both performances are available for veterans and active military personnel with discounted tickets for accompanying family and friends; call 716-885-5000 to reserve tickets.

Big & Rich. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 25 at the Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd., Salamanca.

As the weather warms up, concerts move outdoors, even at venues that traditionally keep everything inside. That is the case this weekend at the Seneca Allegany Resort, which, for its 20th anniversary party, is hosting an evening of outdoor music by another act celebrating 20 years, country superstars Big & Rich. You know the popular duo — John Rich and Big Kenny — from such songs as "Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)," "Wild West Show" and "8th of November." They'll be joined by Gretchen Wilson, along with Cowboy Troy and DJ Sinister. For tickets and more info, visit

Memorial Day Weekend events. Saturday, May 25 through Monday, May 27 at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, 1 Naval Park Cove near Canalside.

There may be no better place in the Buffalo area to honor our veterans during Memorial Day weekend than at our Naval & Military Park, which honors them all year long. It will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last admission at 4 p.m.) over the long holiday weekend, allowing you to take a self-guided tour of the USS The Sullivans, USS Little Rock, USS Croaker, the Museum Building and gift shop. You can also simply walk or drive by the Naval Park to see "One Life — One Flag Installation" in which 7,300 flags will blanket the grounds to represent the average number of U.S. veterans who have lost their lives each year to PTSD — that's an average of 22 per day. At 6 p.m.May 26, the Rotary Club of Buffalo presents a screening of "The Fighting Sullivans," the 1944 film about the five Sullivan brothers who died during their service in World War II. The film is free to watch, but you do need to register for a ticket because of limited space. The Naval Park is home to the USS Sullivans, a now decommissioned destroyer that was named in their honor. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the event starts with a pre-film presentation at 6 p.m.

There will be a number of free outdoor ceremonies and programs, as well, including a "Tolling the Boats Ceremony" at 2 p.m.May 25 at the United States Submarine Veterans Buffalo Base. On May 27, the Buffalo Brass Quintet performs at 9:30 a.m., followed by Military Honors and Non-Denominational Memorial Service (presented in partnership with The Battle Within Foundation) at 10 a.m., the Knights of Columbus Maximilian Kolbe Assembly #1944 Ceremony and Formation at 11 a.m. and Hispanic Veterans Ceremony at the Hispanic-American Veterans Memorial at noon.

The RiverWorks Backyard Barbecue. 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 24 at Buffalo RiverWorks, 359 Ganson St.

Kick off Memorial Day with a backyard barbecue at RiverWorks, where there will be food and activities for the entire family. There will be backyard games, plus rides and adventure activities. Michael Hund performs from 6 to 9 p.m. on the Deep Eddy Music Barge, which will be floating on the Buffalo River. As fitting for the event, there will be barbecue food specials and frozen drinks at the Tiki Bar. Admission is free.

Memorial Day Weekend Street Festival. Friday, May 24 through Monday, May 27 along Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls.

Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls turns into a four-day festival for Memorial Day weekend made up of music, family entertainment, food trucks and vendors. Entertainment on Friday includes Wood N Steel plus Pirate Dreams. On Saturday, it's music by The CT Scan, Rock Roots Trio and Falconeers, along with two performances by Buffalo Aerial Dance. On Sunday, listen to Whiskey Trick, Kickstart Rumble and RNSM. Monday has Route 33 and 007 Band. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 24, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26, and noon to 6 p.m. Monday, May 27.

Totally Buffalo Festival. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 at Buffalo RiverWorks, 359 Ganson St.

Here's a festival that lives up to its name with more than 120 vendors who are all local and selling Buffalo-themed everything. This is the seventh year for the festival, which will be held inside and outside RiverWorks, where you can peruse shirts, signs, home goods, jewelry and paintings, among the many items. Food and drink will be available to purchase. Admission is free and there will be activities for the kids.

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