By: Megan Pasche

Niagara is a Region of festivals; there are festivals to celebrate tons of different things, from our areas unique heritage to all the amazing local food we grow here. And there is really no better season than summer to enjoy an outdoor festival. The weather is warm, everybody is smiling and happy, and being at a festival means you’re likely in the proximity of good food and drink. So, consult this list to see if you find a festival that appeals to you, then hit the road!

WHAT: Folk Arts Festival
WHEN: May 9 to June 1
WHERE: Around the Niagara Region

This is Canada’s oldest running heritage festival that sees several cultural institutions in Niagara open their doors to guests. At these open houses, visitors will experience dance, exhibitions, live entertainment and much more. More info at folk-arts.ca

WHAT: Virgil Stampede
WHEN: May 17 to 19
WHERE: Virgil Sports Park, Virgil, Ontario

This fun filled community event has been taking place for the last 45 years. There is a midway with rides and games, as well as football tournaments, silent auctions, and mud boggin ATV’s and trucks. More info at virgilstampede.com

WHAT: Niagara VegFest
WHEN: June 1
WHERE: Market Square, St. Catharines

This free festival celebrates the benefits of living a plant based lifestyle. There are exhibitors, vendors, and speakers from all over Niagara. More info at niagaravegfest.org

WHAT: Welland Rose Festival
WHEN: June 14 to 22
WHERE: Memorial Park, Welland

The 53rd Annual Rose Festival will include a fishing derby, a juried art show, a car and bike show, concerts, and many more fun activities that the whole family can enjoy. Get more info at wellandrosefestival.on.ca

WHAT: Niagara New Vintage Festival
WHEN: June 14 to 22
WHERE: Across Niagara wine country

If you love wine, you’ll want to be a part of this festival! Grab a touring pass and get a taste of Niagara’s newest vintages. More info at niagarawinefestival.com

WHAT: Pelham Summerfest
WHEN: July 17 to 20
WHERE: Pelham Town Square, Pelham

This is a great family festival featuring music, kids entertainment, a beer tent, an art zone and much more. Additional details can be found at pelhamfestivals.com

WHAT: Fort Erie Friendship Festival
WHEN: June 27 to July 1
WHERE: Niagara Parkway, Fort Erie

This fun festival features concerts, entertainment, crafts and so much more. It is a celebration of the over 200 years of friendship between the United States and Canada. More info can be found at friendshipfestival.com

WHAT: Celtic Festival
WHEN: July 12
WHERE: Fort George, Niagara-on-the-Lake

This year will mark the inaugural celebration of the Celtic Festival, as the Fort comes alive with drums, pipes and dancing. Get out your kilt and join the fun! More info at friendsoffortgeorge.ca/events
Illuminaqua 1 copy
WHAT: Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival
WHEN: August 1 to August 4
WHERE: Along the canal in Port Colborne

This four-day celebration of the Regions unique marine heritage has lots of activities to partake in and things to see. Besides enjoying the quaint downtown of Port Colborne, visitors can take a tour of the Tall Ships, enjoy a classic car and kite show, and browse through many different artisan vendors. There is also great food, live music and fireworks. More information is available at canaldays.ca

WHAT: Annual Rotary Rib Fest
WHEN: June 13 to 14, Niagara Falls, August 1 to 4, St. Catharines
WHERE: Niagara Square Niagara Falls, Montebello Park, St. Catharines

Rib lovers, prepare yourselves for a feast! Ribbers line the park as the smell of BBQ drifts through the air. Try one or try them all. Admission is free, and there is continuous live music the whole weekend. More info at niagarafallsribfest.com and stcatharinesribfest.com

WHAT: Peach Celebration
WHEN: August 9 to 10
WHERE: Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake

This sweet celebration is all about one of Niagara’s locally grown favourites: the delicious, juicy peach. This street festival will feature live music, antique steam tractors, classic cars, peach pie baking competitions and much more. More information is available at niagaraonthelake.com

WHAT: Niagara-on-the-Lake Music Festival
WHEN: July 12 to August 11
WHERE: Various locations in NOTL (St. Mark’s, The Epicurean, Simcoe Park Bandshell, Jackson Triggs, Ravine Vineyard)

Enjoy some concerts in some beautiful indoor and outdoor settings around the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. All genres of music are represented including classical, jazz, choral, country and vocal. A full lineup of all acts and locations are available online. Check out musicniagara.org for more information and to purchase tickets.

WHAT: IlluminAqua
WHEN: Performances take place the evenings of June 13th, July 4th, August 8th and August 29th
WHERE: Merritt Park (115 King Street), Welland

IlluminAqua is the blend of music, fire and fountains with a beautiful backdrop of the Old Welland Canal. The show goes on rain or shine, and more information can be found at illuminaqua.com

WHAT: Niagara Food Festival
WHEN: September 5 to 7
WHERE: Downtown Welland

Be a part of what is known as “the Peninsula’s tastiest party!” This year is the festival’s 20th year, so expect some big surprises! Great entertainment takes place on the main stage, and the park is filled to the brim with people, and of course the main attraction: food. Other things to look forward to include cooking demonstrations in a mobile culinary theatre, kids activities, celebrity chefs, and beer and wine tents. Shuttles are available from the Seaway Mall to the festival, which helps avoid any parking nightmares. More information at niagarafoodfestival.com

WHAT: Niagara Greek Festival
WHEN: September 6 to 8
WHERE: Greek Community Centre at 585 Niagara Street, St. Catharines

Come and enjoy all the aromas, sound and tastes of the Greek culture. Try out some authentic Greek food, pastries and drinks, listen to Greek music and watch some Greek dancing. There is a children’s area available with bouncy castles, face painting, crafts and more. There is also a marketplace where visitors can purchase authentic Greek items. Admission to this fun filled festival is free. More information at niagaragreekfestival.com