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Celebrate the end of the decade with a bang. New Year's Eve events are as wide-ranging as they are abundant, from free to flashy, outdoor to indoor. Here are some of the marquee events for Dec. 31. First Night Buffalo, 5 to 10 p.m. at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin St.); firstnightbuffalo.org. Tickets are $15 in advance; kids ages 2 and younger get …

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Plan on parking before you get to Main Street in East Aurora the evening of Dec. 21, because the entire stretch between Olean and Riley streets will be taken over by the village's 47th annual Carolcade from 7 to 8 p.m. Before and after, check out all the shops, not just the must-see Vidler's, and enjoy the caroling (song sheets provided) plus hot cocoa, doughnuts and Sa…

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The holidays are a special time for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which continues its celebration of the season with "JoAnn's Classical Christmas" and, for kids, the "Jingle Bell Jam" at Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Circle), plus a free public performance (no tickets required) at 1 p.m. Dec. 14 in the lobby of the M&T Gold Dome Building downtown (1 Fountain P…

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The pies have it. Freudig Singers of Western New York gets our vote for the most delicious Christmas concert of them all, thanks to the "signature pies" baked by the singers. Most of the pies will be raffled off as a fundraiser during intermissions at the group's "A Christmas Pie" concerts. The first is at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in the church of St. Joseph University Parish (…

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For many families, choosing a live Christmas tree is an annual tradition. For others, this might be the year they consider a fresh-cut tree instead of an artificial one. Visiting local tree farms for cut your own or pre-cut trees can turn holiday prep into a special occasion. The variety of area tree farms means you can choose your outing style, from rustic and simple tree…

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Not all the magic of the holidays is wrapped up in packages under a tree. Much of the wonder of the season is out in the open, in special community events and performances that add warmth to the winter and bring light to our lives. Here we present some of those celebrations made for families to share with their youngest members. As soon as MusicalFare Theatre announced …

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Local theaters are getting into the holiday spirit with free or low-cost showings of Christmas movies over the next month. Kids favorites, family comedies, nostalgic cinema classics – you’re sure to find a showing below that scratches that holiday itch. A highlight of the season is the Aurora Theatre’s annual transformation into Whoville from “How the Grinch Stole Chris…

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Lewiston's 50-member community chorus, the Lewiston Choraleers, will be singing in the season throughout the coming week with concerts in four different venues. All shows are open to the public; tickets are $5 and the door (children 12 and younger get in free). The Choraleers perform at 2 p.m. Nov. 30 at St. John de LaSalle Catholic Church (8477 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Fa…

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The return of Arie, an 11-year-old California sea lion, to the Aquarium of Niagara was marked by flipper claps from her fellow sea lions and a rousing welcome from staff and visitors. Arie, who first came to the aquarium in 2009, had been on a breeding loan since 2016 at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, where she gave birth to a male pup, said Gary Siddall, executive dire…

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You see things differently when you take a new trail or path, even if you are looking at the same mighty river. We have hiked the Devils Hole-Whirlpool trail into the Niagara Gorge on the American side in all seasons and often wondered whether Canadians saw the gorge as we did. They don’t. Hiking into Canada’s Niagara Glen, as they call it, is a vastly different expe…

Comedy

The Great Performances Series at SUNY Buffalo State brings two shows to the Rockwell Hall Performing Arts Center stage this weekend. Kim Waters, master of the jazz saxophone, performs at 8 p.m. Nov. 22, accompanied by his daughter keyboardist Kayla Waters. Waters is a founding member of the Sax Pack and has built his reputation on compositions that blend R&B and jazz f…

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Holiday shopping is stressful for so many reasons: the crowds, the parking, the mall madness. Even once you get inside, it's not over because then you have to find a unique – or at least – useable gift. Too often, we make the easy choice and get gift cards. But, let's face it, that's pretty impersonal. Out of ideas? We're here to help. Starting this week nearly right up…

Family

This hike is perfect for youngsters, but adults can enjoy it too. DeVeaux Woods State Park is a perfect place to introduce young children to the outdoors and nature. It is a short, easy hike with enough surprises and natural wonder to keep the young ones interested, and you can make it longer or shorter to suit your needs. It is located within the Niagara Falls city …

Health and Fitness

Children in the 21st century spend free time a lot differently than Dave Bauer did in the 1960s, “when your parents let you out the door and they let you play in your neighborhood.” Society has changed a lot for kids during the last half-century, including a growing reliance on organized sports and a growing dependence on computer technology. Bauer, 68, a retired ear…