Source: Niagara this Week, September 2012
Niagara is playing host to a big bash, and you’re invited.
Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, the Niagara Wine Festival is one big party that appeals to all residents across Niagara. Yes, the focal point is the world-class wines we produce, but the festival is so much more than a chance to enjoy a glass of vino. It’s a chance to celebrate part of our region’s culture.
There are seminars, culinary experiences, a full lineup of stage entertainment, a massive parade, and the chance to celebrate what is a major economic driver for our community — the grape and wine industry.
There are so many reasons Niagara’s wine industry proves to be a world-class one. Whether it’s the diversity of the blends, the talented people that craft the wines, or the events that celebrate them, like the Niagara Wine Festival, it’s become a renowned part of the culture here in Niagara.
Of course, the availability of the wines certainly doesn’t hurt. Where else can you jump into your vehicle and drive east or west and find a winery? We’re so fortunate to have some fine wineries, whether on the Beamsville Bench or in the Twenty Valley area, ready to feed our wine fix and please your palate.
Simply put, Niagara does it right. The major events like Cuvee, the three versions of the Niagara Wine Festival or the smaller events like Graze on the Bench or Wrapped Up in The Valley are a great opportunity to enjoy some of the liquid bounty the industry works so hard to produce each year.
What makes the wine festival fantastic is the access to the availability of wines. Whether you make the trip to Montebello Park in downtown St. Catharines to enjoy the wines being poured, or you go winery hopping with the Discovery Pass, you can either find some of your favourites or try some new wines.
The wine, however, is just one piece of the fun. At Montebello Park you can combine good local food with good local wine. There is a long list of entertainment happening on the WestJet Stage, including the Caverners on Friday night and Walk Off The Earth, who became an overnight sensation for their YouTube video covering Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”, capping things off on Sunday night. There is even a family area, Grapeland, where kids can stay entertained with bouncers and other activities.
Last Saturday the festival whet the appetite for parade lovers with its Pied Piper Parade, and this weekend things will get a lot bigger. On Saturday, Sept. 29, a long list of parade entries will march their way through downtown St. Catharines during the CIBC Grande Parade, with everything from marching bands to floats to community groups. This year organizers say the parade will be the largest in about the past five years, lasting about an hour and a half.
And, just like Santa ends the Santa Claus parades in the area, the parade will wrap up with the king of the vines as the final float. This year’s Grape King Curtis Fielding, of Beamsville-based Fielding Estate, will be the man in the spotlight at the end of the parade.
Whether you enjoy the parade, head to Montebello Park, or participate in some of the amazing wine and food experiences at the wineries themselves, don’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy some of this year’s Niagara Wine Festival activities. Even if you aren’t a wine drinker, there is much you can do and enjoy. Info on all events is available online at www.niagarawinefestival.com.
The Grimsby Fire Department will open its doors this Sunday for its annual open house. From noon to 3 p.m. local residents are encouraged to visit the fire hall, 261 Ontario St.
This is much more than an open house. The firefighters provide a great interactive experience, with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities all related to fire safety. It’s an educational experience for people of all ages, whether it’s practicing the home escape plan for the kids, or learning about kitchen fire safety for the adults.
One of the most eye-opening events is the live burn demonstration, which shows just how quick fire can spread in a room and why your smoke alarms are so valuable. There are two scheduled, at 1 and 2:15 pm.
I’ve attended several fire safety open houses in the region, and Grimsby has one of the best.