2012 Niagara Wine Festival a good time 0
The Niagara Wine Festival's Grande Parade features majorettes, acrobats, dancers, marching bands, float and more. This year's event will be held Sept. 29 in St. Catharines. LIZ FLEMING/QMI Agency
The grapes are ripening, vintners are preparing their finest and all of Niagara is gearing up for fall season's premiere event -- the 61st Annual Niagara Wine Festival. Running this year from Sept. 21-30, it's a celebration of the fruits of the vine, but there's something for every member of the family.
Everyone loves a parade and the Niagara Wine Festival features two: The CIBC Grande Parade will be held Saturday, Sept. 29, starting at 11 a.m., while the Pied Piper Parade takes place Saturday, Sept. 22, starting at 1 1a.m. Be on hand for both, to get the festival's full flavour.
The Grande Parade features majorettes, acrobats, dancers, marching bands and floats with participants from across North America. The Festival typically draws half a million visitors to Niagara, so wise parade fans stake out best places for viewing along the parade route in downtown St. Catharines early to get a prime spot.
The Pied Piper Parade is always a crowd favourite and is the perfect opportunity for little marchers to get in on the act. Although there's an official registration system, the reality is that any kid -- and parent -- can join in mid-parade and march along with the costumed storybook characters, floats and bands.
Dress up in last year's Hallowe'en costume and be part of the fun. There are prizes for the best-dressed marchers and a chance to be part of the following week's Grande Parade. A word to the wise: Little legs tire quickly, so bring a wagon or stroller.
Following the Pied Piper Parade, everyone is invited to be part of the fun in Grapeland, a kid-oriented area of Montebello Park full of jump'n-bounces, face painters, clowns and more.
Designed by the landscape architect who created New York City's Central Park, downtown St. Catharines' Montebello Park is the hub for the 2012 Niagara Wine Festival. Both weekends, wineries and restaurants from across Niagara will be on hand in tented kiosks, offering tastes of their finest vintages and dishes while the rest of the park will be buzzing with everything from the Mayor's Grape Stomp, to free concerts featuring bands such as Platinum Blonde, the Caverners, the Vineyards and more. Though you need to purchase tokens to sample the food and wine (and proper I.D. is required), admission to the park is free.
Niagara's many wineries are also throwing open their doors during the 2012 Niagara Wine Festival so be sure to visit niagarawinefestival.ca for complete information.