Winter Festival of Lights 2012

It is hard to believe that the Winter Festival of Lights is already upon us! The hard working Winter Festival of Lights staff have been working throughout the year to make sure that this year’s lights and events are just as special as you remember them to be!

If you can’t get out right away to see the lights, don’t worry! The displays will be there to enjoy until January 3rd and there will be various events and concerts throughout that time. The 6 km of over 3 million sparkling lights have become a staple for Niagara Falls in the winter. Last year Canoe.ca voted it one of the top 10 Canada’s best winter festivals and Frommer’s voted Niagara Falls as one of the top 10 decorated cities!

Niagara Falls International Marathon

It’s back! One of the largest events in the area, the Niagara Falls International Marathon is happening this year October 21st. This marathon is one of the only marathons in the world that start in one country and finish in another; start line in Buffalo, NY and finish in Niagara Falls, ON. The marathon originally started in 1974 and was relaunched in 1996, going strong now for the last 16 years. There are a variety of race options: 5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon and marathon relay. There are also ‘Pace Bunnies’ available for the half and full marathon to help keep the runners on track while they race along the parkway.

 Of course, after a good run, everyone deserves a goody bag. The bags this year will include a technical t-shirt and various products donated by such sponsors as: LaKota, ColdFx, Italpasta, Udderly Smooth and Blue Diamond.

The day before the marathon, the Running Room is sponsoring a Breakfast Fun Run. Starting at 8:30 am sharp, the run will meet outside the Oakes Garden Theatre, where you can warm up your muscles for the big day and meet some fellow runners. Breakfast will be served at Planet Hollywood afterwards.

The Niagara Falls International Marathon is always a wonderful event in the Falls. Whether you want to register yourself, cheer on a friend or just check out the marathon, the day is always filled with excitement as each runner crosses the finish line! Runners from all over the Niagara region and beyond will partake in the race and hopefully be able to unwind at a hotel and enjoy other Niagara activities while they are here! Good luck!

Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival

From Friday October 5th until 8th you can visit over 125 selected vendors at Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival. You will find pottery, paintings, hand crafted jewellery, gardening tips and tools as well as one of my personal favourites the birds of prey demonstration.

This festival is going on its 38th year and has always been an autumn favourite! With the cooler breeze blowing in, everyone bundles in their sweaters and heads out to the beautiful Ball’s Falls for the day. It is a wonderful trip for the family or a perfect way to spend the day with your sweet heart. Admission is $6/person or free for kids under 14!

Niagara on the Lake Walking Tour

When you go to a new city, you often wander around and wonder what it’s all about. The answer to these questions can usually be found with a walking tour! Luckily, in Niagara on the Lake, there is a walking tour available every weekend October through April. When I travelled to Europe in the summer I found that the walking tours gave me a new appreciation for each city that I was in because not only was I able to take in the beauty, I understood more about what the city truly meant. I think it’s wonderful that Niagara on the Lake offers this to tourists and even locals. Niagara on the Lake is home to so many fun festivals, beautiful wineries, delishious restaurants and of course packed full of history!

This 90 minute tour will take you through more than 20 historic, beautiful sites of Niagara on the Lake with the tour guides explaining the significance of each of them every step of the way. The tours start at 10:30am and tickets are available at a cost of $20 for adults, $10 children and can either be purchased online or at The Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau (26 Queen Street). Just across the street is the meeting place at Corks Wine Bar & Eatery!

Niagara Wine Festival

Of course we all know that Niagara is known for the amazing wine that comes from this region and what better way to celebrate that than with a Niagara Wine Festival!  From September 21st-30th, the Niagara region will be filled with different events and activities, with the main hub of the celebrations in Montebello Park in St. Catharines.

There are Pre-Festival Events such as the Grape Growers of Ontario Celebrity Luncheon with Steve Smith, a.k.a. Red Green as special guest, as well as a Grape King Installation. Throughout the festival, Montebello Park will have FREE admission and FREE parking evenings and weekends. The festival will be token based, with tokens for sale in the park to purchase different local cuisine samplers and winery favourites by the glass or bottle.

You will not be left needing more entertainment either. The festival has a jam packed schedule of local bands: Platinum Blonde, The Bends, Up Yer Kilt, Tell Tommy, Glory Days (Springsteen tribute band), Blue Radio (Blue Rodeo tribute band), The Caverners (who have played at The Croft Lounge before), Street Pharmacy and 351 Cleveland (who won the Best Bar Band in 2011 from Niagara Music Awards).

And who doesn’t like a parade? Well this festival has two! The Pied Piper Parade will take place Saturday September 22nd at 11am with all the children’s favourite story book characters in attendance. The 61st Annual CIBC Grande Parade will take place Saturday September 29th at 11am complete with marching bands, drums corps, community groups and performers!

Buskerfest Downtown Niagara Falls

Last year, Buskerfest was held in downtown St. Catharines, bringing in over 20,000 spectators to watch as world class street performers wowed the crowd. This year, the festival has been moved to our very own Queen Street in Niagara Falls with the LyndesFarne Theatre Projects in charge of the festival.

For those of you who don’t know, Buskerfests have been gaining popularity around the world in recent years. Street performers, such as acrobats, jugglers, daredevils and contortionists put on amazing acts right before your very eyes. This year there will be 150 performances and vendors across 5 stages along Queen Street. The event will run for 3 days from August 31st-September 2nd.  This will be a great, exciting event to end your summer with! Bring the kids, grab some friends and be ready to be amazed.

For more information about the performances you can look forward to, make sure to check out the event on facebook.

Jay Cochrane in Niagara Falls

This summer started with Nik Wallenda bringing in thousands of onlookers to watch as he passed over Niagara Falls on a tightrope. But the tight rope spectacle didn’t stop when Wallenda landed in the United States that afternoon. No, here in Niagara Falls we have a dare devil walking above our heads every day at 7pm for the entire summer! Jay Cochrane, 68, walks 400 m, 50 stories up every night at 7pm. This is the greatest building to building in North America and by the end of the summer, Cochrane will have walked over 30 km high above our heads.

I know that my uncle visiting from Calgary thought that this was just fantastic and although many locals may not find themselves down in the tourist area very often, if you do and it happens to be 7pm… look up because that tiny speck in the sky is Jay Cochrane and you won’t be able to wrap your mind around it!

 

Annual Peach Celebration

On August 11, 2012 we encourage anyone interested in some small town country FUN to visit the beautiful historic town of Niagara on the Lake for the annual Peach Celebration. It is a great opportunity for a day of fun for the whole family. There are a wide variety of activities all day long that are sure to catch the eye of anyone participating. The Fife and Drum Procession will be there for everyone’s enjoyment. There is a wide variety of Live Music including Jazz, Celtic, and Honky-tonk. There are also bagpipers in attendance, which are sure to get the blood flowing for anyone of Scottish descent. Antique Steam Tractors will be present celebrating the history of farming, as well as a Classic Car display for the enjoyment of any car enthusiast.  Don’t forget to take a walk down the sidewalk sale, which is put on by the local merchants. And last but not least, who can forget about the staple event, the famous Peach Pie Baking Contest, which is sure to twist some taste buds. The event is taking place on Queen Street and Vincent de Paul Church. To whoever decides to participate in this local celebration, absolutely be sure to over indulge in the scrumptious peaches Niagara has to offer, and most of all, Have FUN!!!!!

Loudmouth Golf Skins Game

Two weeks ago, you may have noticed a few people walking around Niagara with the loudest golf shorts you’ve ever seen! The Loudmouth Golf Skins Game was being held at Thundering Waters on July 23rd, with John Daly playing in a game the next day. The Best Western Plus Cairn Croft Hotel was the official hotel for the event and was even represented on the first whole by some of their awesome staff (rocking out in the Loudmouth Gear of course)!

There were promotions and samplings on every hole: Carlsberg, Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, Callaway Golf and Molson Coors. Everyone who went said it was a wonderful 2 days and all the proceeds went to the John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington & Area and PROJECT Share. Not only did everyone get a pair of their own Loudmouth shorts but 4 golfers randomly chosen got to play against John Daly the next day! What fun! Hope to see you all there next year with a smile on your face and some crazy pattern on your pants.

Friendship Festival

The 26th annual Friendship Festival, to celebrate Canada and the United States border cities building and maintaining good relations. This festival is filled with food, entertainment and concerts and is always a good time! The Hands Across the Border marks the beginning of the festival with an international hand shake. This year there are 27 bands to enjoy from a Croft Lounge favourite Gatorbait to Breaching Vista, a band I saw open for Jack’s Mannequin!

In addition to these exciting events, new this year the festival has added a “Festival’s Got Talent.” This 3 day competition will find the best of the talent from the Niagara region. You can find the application on the Friendship Festival website. If you are a singer, dancer or have another awesome talent then you should think of applying!

The festival takes place from June 29th to July 2nd at Mather Arch Park in Fort Erie!