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Local Matters | A monthly guide to unique gifts, experiences and adventures

Spring has officially sprung in Western New York. I love this area in the spring, the weather is usually the perfect temperature and I don’t mind the rain either. Buffalo has a number of businesses that will help you make the most of this warmer weather – both on sunny days and rainy days.


Broadway Market

 

When I was growing up, one thing that I always looked forward to on Fridays when I didn’t have school was going with my grandmother to visit my great grandmother, who lived on Sweet Avenue on the east side. We’d pick her up and then all of us would go to the Broadway Market. I especially remember going on Good Friday and remember it being packed. The sounds and smells of the market are still with me to this day. Going to the Broadway Market during the week leading up to Easter is practically a tradition for many of us in Buffalo.

The Broadway Market was established 133 years ago, in 1888, on a parcel of land that was donated by the city of Buffalo. It served as a way for immigrants to continue their old world customs and traditions in an unfamiliar environment. It grew to a place where not only locals could shop for old world delicacies but also a place where members of the community could gather and relay news and gossip from back home. It has gone through several iterations over the course of its long history. The first building burned down at the turn of the last century. Its current building, which was completed in 1956, and contains 90,000 square feet of retail space and two levels of free parking.

The Broadway Market is home to a variety of vendors. There are farmers who offer a variety of homegrown produce, butchers and delis that offer a variety of meats and cheeses that you might not find at the supermarket you go to, as well a variety of other businesses that have products you can’t get anywhere else. Easter week is always a big week for Broadway Market as people come from all over Western New York to get everything they need to complete their Easter meals. I usually grab some horseradish, both the regular and beet kinds, a butter lamb, some kielbasa and other sundries. If you haven’t been to the Broadway Market, we highly recommend checking it out. Check out their site for a list of vendors.

999 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14212 | 716-893-0705

Hours through April 3: Wed Mar 24 – Mar 27: 8am-5pm, Sun Mar 28: 9am-5pm, Mon Mar 29 – Thurs Apr 1: 8am-7pm, Good Friday Apr 2: 6am-7pm, Sat Apr 3: 6am-5pm, Closed Easter Sun
Normal Business Hours: Mon-Sat: 8am-5pm, Sun: Closed

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Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Plant Sale

 

It should come as no surprise that over the past year people’s interest in plants and gardening really exploded. Buffalo has a large, thriving community of plant enthusiasts. Everyone has their favorites, for me personally, I like growing herbs and vegetables on my little balcony garden. My partner, however, has a huge, thriving collection of hoyas, philodendrons and cacti and succulents. While there are a large number of nurseries and plant vendors in the area, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Plant Sale is your chance to not only get some great plants that you won’t find anywhere else, but also support a great local institution.

The Plant Sale is an annual event held by the Botanical Gardens that not only serves as a fundraiser but allows the community to get its hands on some great plants that were grown and cultivated at the Botanical Gardens. They offer a large variety in each category. One that caught my eye was the Miyazaki Hybrid Toadlily. It’s a gorgeous white flower with white petals that are flecked with spots of purple. Some others that caught my eye are the Cat Whiskers, which produce beautiful, white, whisker-like flowers and the Bidens ferulifolia ‘Bee Alive,” which has a flower that can only be described as looking into a sunset with its gorgeous orange and yellow flowers.

If you are looking for something larger but still unique they also have a variety of trees and shrubs. The Balaton Cherry Tree produces delicious sour cherries that are perfect for pies and jams. The Stanley Plum Tree produces beautiful violet fruit with orange-yellow flesh that are juicy and great for eating fresh, canning or even drying. I love finding unique herbs and vegetables and trying them in the various recipes I use when I cook. You’ll find vegetables like purple peppers, pink plume celery and the Lemon Ice Dwarf Tomato. You’ll also find they have a great selection of herbs dill, Amethyst Basil, Greek Oregano and Plum Shiso.

Regardless of what type of gardening you like, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Plant Sale has something for everyone. It’s a great way to support a local organization and add some beauty and uniqueness to your garden. This year the Plant Sale has gone virtual and will be online. All orders are due by April 15 and members get an additional 10% off. We recommend checking out all they have to offer! If you want to visit the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, reservations are required.

2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo, NY 14218 | 716-827-1584
Hours: Mon – Sun: 10am – 4pm

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Campus Wheelworks

 

One of the best parts of spring for me was always pulling my bike from the garage and just taking a random bike ride to enjoy the weather or to visit friends. Growing up, I used to ride my bike everywhere. As the weather warms and we start to dust off our bikes from sitting either in the garage or storage, it’s the perfect time to make sure everything is in order with them. There is nothing worse than taking your bike out for the first time, after months of being stuck in the house because of the cold weather, and either getting flat or having something else go wrong. Campus Wheelworks can help ensure that when you take your bike out, it’s in great condition.

The service department at Campus Wheelworks is ready to handle any repair you may need, from a flat fix to a complete overhaul. Most work is scheduled, but some smaller repairs can be done on the same day. They love working on all bikes, from all-weather commuters to recreational weekend riders to triathletes working on their P.R. When you come to Campus, they’ll check over your bike and give you a free quote before doing any work so you can be certain of the total cost of any repair.

They have three different bicycle tune-up options: Bronze, Silver and Gold. When you bring in your bike, a mechanic will assess it to see what kind of work it needs to get working properly. Aside from complete tune-ups, they also offer their services individually. They can repair flat tires, install bottom brackets, adjust your brakes and shifting, or anything else your bike may need. All of their labor prices are clear and concise to avoid any surprises. Before you take your bike out for a ride, we recommend taking it to Campus Wheelworks

744 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222 | 716-881-3613
1330 Niagara St., Buffalo, NY 14222 | 716-248-2372
Hours: Sun-Mon: Closed, Tues – Sat: 10AM – 6PM

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Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

 

The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system will always hold a special place in my heart. As a teenager, I worked at the East Clinton Library, on Clinton Street in Kaisertown and would occasionally help out at other libraries, like Kenilworth and a few others, when needed. It wasn’t my first job, but was definitely one of my favorites. Not only did I work with some amazing people, some who are close friends to this day, but I slowly became introduced to a wide variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction, that I might not have otherwise read. In addition to locations all across the county, the library offers two great services that ensure no matter where you are, you can have access to its collection.

The Library on Wheels is a small collection of what the library system has to offer. It visits places all over the county like Brant Town Hall and the Rural Outreach Center in East Aurora. Each month the Library on Wheels posts its schedule with the places it’s going to visit and how long it will be at each location. One of the great things about this service is that if you don’t see the Library on Wheels coming to a location near you, you can submit a request to have the Library on Wheels visit a location or event near you. It’s services include checking out books, movies, music, and audiobooks, use of their free WiFi, use their laptops, getting a library card or updating your account and pickup holds and returning items – just like at any library!

A new service that the Buffalo and Erie County Library system is offering this year is its Books By Mail service. The Library By Mail is a free service that sends library materials including books (regular and large print), audiobooks, music CDs, DVDs and international language materials to the homebound through the mail. This service is available to any Erie County resident who is temporarily or permanently unable to visit a physical library due to lack of
transportation or because of an illness or disability, that makes them homebound. At no cost to them, users can borrow up to three items at once with a borrowing period of six weeks; items can be renewed for an additional six weeks by contacting the Library by Mail staff. Residents are able to choose the materials they want to borrow or work with Library staff for recommendations. Materials arrive in a prepaid postage canvas bag, which also serves as the return envelope; borrowers simply place items in the bag, reverse the address label, and return via the U.S. Postal Service. We highly recommend checking out these two services offered by the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.

Central Branch – 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY 14203 | 716-858-8900
Hours: See Website for hours of library near you

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Theatre of Youth

 

I miss live theatre. There is nothing like attending a live play or musical. For about two and a half hours you get to escape all your troubles and become immersed in another world. Characters, sets and music combine and take you on a wonderful and ofttimes magical journey. It’s been a full year since theatres have shut down. One local theatre, Theatre of Youth (TOY), has not let the current shutdown stop them though, adjusting how theatre can be consumed by making their productions available to stream from the comfort of your own home. Their latest production, in collaboration with Second Generation Theatre (SGT), is Once Upon A Time: An Interactive Digital Musical for children. After an extended initial run, the companies have decided to add 4 performances in April and May. Once Upon A Time marked the first collaboration between TOY & SGT as well as the first foray into “interactive digital theatre” for both.

“Collaborating with SGT on this production has been wonderful and from such positive responses we jumped at the opportunity to extend Once Upon A Time,” says TOY Interim Executive Director Tracy Snyder. “Continuing to engage children and families in this fun and dynamic way has been a joyful experience for all of us.”

Created for audience members ages 5-8 and their families, the initial run of Once Upon A Time was viewed by over 200 young people all over the US and even in Canada. “Seeing friends and family tune in from places like Pennsylvania, Colorado, Texas… that was really exciting,” says SGT Artistic Director Kelly Copps. “Typically these performances are only available to audiences in Western New York. Going digital has of course created many difficulties, but sharing our production on a larger scale has been a huge bonus.”

“Once Upon A Time explores the idea that all princesses (and princes) don’t need to be saved by someone. They are self sufficient and can be their own heroes. A hero can be brave, courageous, noble, strong, smart, beautiful- but more importantly, there’s a hero inside each of us. This story is a wonderful message for kids and parents alike,” says veteran of TOY and SGT stages, Alex Watts. “You’ll be singing these songs long after the show ends,” adds cast member Bethany Burrows. “It’s a magical and modern twist on some of your favorite princesses- and even a new prince!” With Once Upon A Time, both theatres offer a unique and interactive experience for young patrons that features messages of inclusion, diversity, combating gender stereotypes, and ultimately, finding joy in being yourself. Once Upon A Time stars Leah Berst (Narrator), Alexandria Watts (Cindy), Bethany Burrows (Belle), Brittany Bassett (Snow), and Daniel Torres (Prince Felix).

Full Schedule: Saturday April 17th, @ 11am & 2pm, Saturday May 8th, @ 11am & 2pm

Where: Live in your living room- this event is hosted via ZOOM and can be accessed by families all over the world.

Tickets: $25/household, VIP package $40/household, Additional children $5/each

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Buffalo Olmsted Parks – Golf Season

 

Season Passes for 2021 municipal golf in Buffalo are now available for the three Olmsted Parks golf courses (Cazenovia, Delaware and South Park). Passes can be purchased online at any time through the Conservancy’s website, or in-person at the course golf shops during weekends in April. The 2021 season opening is scheduled for May 1st, although courses could open sooner weather depending. All of the city’s courses managed by the Conservancy will follow public COVID-19 guidelines to ensure safe play.

A season pass allows City of Buffalo residents and non-residents to book and enjoy golf at all three Olmsted operated courses, while they are open and operating: Cazenovia Park and South Park, (both 9-hole courses), and Delaware Park (18-hole course). For the 2021 season, all passes must be purchased online. The Conservancy’s website also allows daily tee time reservations with in-person purchase the day of.

“As we swing into spring, we look forward to welcoming golfers back to all three of Buffalo’s courses within the Olmsted park system” said Stephanie Crockatt, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s executive director. “The Conservancy’s operations team has been hard at work with improvements including a bunker restoration project at all three courses in 2020. We appreciate our loyal patrons and supporters, and we are excited to continue providing our community with quality public golf experiences for all players, all season long.”

Delaware Park | 84 Parkside Ave, Buffalo, NY 14214 | 716-835-2533
Hours: Mon: 12pm-6:30pm, Tues-Sun: 8am-6:60pm

Cazenovia Park | 1 Willink Ave., Buffalo, NY 14210 | 716-823-1517
Hours: Mon, Wed-Sun: 8am-6:30pm, Tues: 10am-6:30pm

South Park | 2441 South Park Ave., Buffalo, NY 14220 | 716-609-2004
Hours: Mon: 12pm-6:30pm, Tues-Sun: 8am-6:30pm

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