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Things to do this May

Whether celebrating our great city at an annual love fest or bringing the excitement and grandeur of the Kentucky Derby to a first-ever Junior League party, Buffalo is the place to be — and be seen — this month. These events will lift your spirits, boost your day and elevate your shopping game.

May 5: Derby Day Party

The Barrel Factory, 65 Vandalia St., Buffalo

Indulge your love of Southern culture at this Junior League of Buffalo event where guests will enjoy a three-hour open bar, mint juleps, Southern fare, best hat and bowtie contest, raffle and a live broadcast of the most exciting two minutes in sports. VIP packages include private reception area, distillery tours and tastings, cigar rolling and more. Party like they do in the Bluegrass State from 5-8 p.m. (884-8865;

Admission: $60 general; $90 VIP

May 6: Makers+Shakers: Boozy Artisan Market

Hotel at The Lafayette, 39 Washington St., Buffalo

Sip while you shop as local vendors and beverage crafters converge on the first floor of the gorgeous Hotel Lafayette for this ultimate pre-Mother’s Day experience. Mix feel-good small business shopping with wine, beer and cocktails (including a Bloody Mary bar), along with live DJ and tasty bites for purchase. Event runs 11a.m.-5p.m. (261-9111;

Admission: $5

May 17: Shea’s Wine, Food & Beer Festival

Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main Street, Buffalo

Enjoying its second year with expanded space, this 23rd annual event in the magnificent Shea’s lobby features samples from some of the finest restaurants, wineries and breweries in the area, along with live music and raffles. Festival opens to general public at 5:30, with VIP pre-crowd tastings at 5 p.m. Proceeds benefit Shea’s restoration and education programs. (829-1168;

Admission: $30 presale; $35 at the door; $45 VIP

May 18: BuffaLoveFest

Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave.

Buffalo pride just keeps growing, and so does this popular celebration. Now in its fifth year, it will showcase live music from top local bands, beer and wine from local purveyors, Buffalo-themed wares from roughly 60 vendors, tons of food trucks and more. Show your love for our great city at this 21-and-over event that runs 5:30-9 p.m. (995-6133;

Admission: $25 presale; $35 at the door. Includes two drink tickets.

May 21: What She’s Made Of Celebration

Albright-Knox, 1285 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo

This inspirational event hosted by the WNY Women’s Foundation — whose mission is to remove barriers and provide opportunities for women and girls to become self-sufficient — will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and powerful words from guest speaker Kate Davis, a Toronto-based comedienne, actress, author, speaker and mother of three. Celebration begins at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception. (887-2621;

Admission: $150 general; $500 red carpet access includes meet and greet with guest speaker

May 26: One World Lantern Festival

Wilkeson Pointe, 225 Fuhrmann Blvd., Buffalo

Bring your friends and family for an ethereal evening as lanterns are released out onto the waterfront to honor loved ones, make wishes and spread hope (don't worry: they're fully cleaned up following the event). Design your own lantern and enjoy food trucks and music prior to the launch at sunset. Gates open at 4 p.m. (

Admission: $40 general; $45 day of event

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