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3 outdoor events—and picnic to pack

Before Buffalo’s food truck revolution—one that’s packed four-wheeled restaurants on street corners for everything from garden walks to rock concerts—attendees to many of the city’s most popular outdoor events were actually expected to either eat beforehand, or bring their own food and drink with them.

This could be inconvenient—but it could incite some creativity, allowing many to plan ambitious picnic spreads in the middle of marquee occasions. For those that cherished this chore, never fear: There are still a few of these BYOB dates on the summer docket. Here are 3 outdoor events and the spreads to bring with you:

Bidwell Parkway

For eight nights a summer (starting June 18), Elmwood Village denizens stroll down to the Bidwell Parkway expanse between Elmwood and Potomac avenues, carve out a spot on the grass—and turn it into their own dining room. Chairs, tables and makeshift chandeliers are possible for some. For the rest, it’s an idyllic picnic spread amid an outdoor concert series, and one that can be catered just fine by spots within walking distance of your secured spot.

EV favorite Wasabi boasts a full onslaught on sushi, sashimi and classic rolls (see: crunchy spicy crab) that travel well for such an outdoor affair; and mere steps away from your Japanese order resides Watson’s Chocolates, where you can snag a box of sponge candy ($12.95) or bag of Chocolate Buffalo Bites ($11.50) to chase your seafood selections. Intermix discreet sips of a delicious white wine or French rosé scooped from nearby Elmwood Village Wine & Spirits, and enjoy an evening of live music and neighborhood camaraderie.

Wilkeson Pointe

There was a time not so long ago that finding your way to Wilkeson Pointe on July 4 was an under-the-radar endeavor. Established in 2013 on Outer Harbor land once used to house the links and logs of the ice boom, it’s now developed into a go-to spot to enjoy summer sunsets—and to watch the city’s Independence Day fireworks spectacle.

But for those hoping to find a preferable spot near Lake Erie’s edge (or a parking spot on Fuhrmann Boulevard), getting there early is paramount. That means plenty of time for dinner, drinks and dessert under the fading sunlight, and all can be obtained en route.

South Buffalo’s Chick-N-Pizza Works has been dazzling area families with its famous chicken for years. These buckets—available in servings from eight to 50 pieces—can headline any picnic, as well as provide the ideal complement to your star-spangled Americana celebration. Drinks and desserts can be found even closer, with canned and draft servings of Cosmic Truth session IPA ($9.99 for six-pack) from the nearby and newly opened second location of Resurgence Brewing Co.; and cookies from longtime First Ward favorite Mazurek’s, who’s been baking and bagging its delicious varieties since 1933.

Delaware Park

Starting on the last Friday in July and continuing every Friday night throughout August, the Parkside Community Association hosts a family film series behind Delaware Park’s Parkside Lodge. All movies are PG or under, begin after dusk and give families in attendance a chance for a late picnic before show time—and maybe some dessert to start the flick.

Thankfully for filmgoers, all items for a solid sunset spread can be scooped with a brisk walk down nearby Hertel Avenue. As the enduring home of its self-proclaimed “sangwich,” Marco’s boasts a delicious variety of stacked Italian selections—whether its turkey-led Chairman of the Board ($8.99) or the grilled chicken of its Under Boss ($9.99)—that are perfect to split or satisfy one. Wash it all down with a shared growler of Buffalo’s own Bootleg Bucha kombucha, available on draft at Lexington Co-op ($8 for 32 oz., $15 for 64oz.); then dig into the start of your Friday night feature with two scoops of Lake Effect artisan ice cream, boasting creative flavors like Icewine Sherbet and Peanut Butter Epiphany ready in takeout dishes.

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