Annually throughout the summer and fall months, the Niagara Region hosts a vast selection of both small and large scale festivals for both locals and visitors alike to partake in and enjoy. Between celebrating the best in Niagara’s agriculture and natural bounty to showcasing renowned international and local film, there is no lack of option when deciding how to spend those sweet summer weekends and vacation hours.
FRIENDSHIP FESTIVAL | JULY 21-24
Listed as one of the top ten festivals in Canada by Canadian National Geographic, the world renowned Friendship Festival is a multi-day extravaganza of music, fun and entertainment celebrating the over 200 years of friendship and peace between Canada and the United States. The free festival, held annually in Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York, attracts thousands of tourists of all ages to the two regions. The festival includes free concerts, talent shows, rides, midway games, local food vendors and plenty of activities. 2016 concert headliners include performances by singer and American Idol finalist Josh Gracin and local group John Genet Arms of America U2 Tribute.
CANAL DAYS MARINE HERITAGE FESTIVAL | JULY 29-AUG 1
History buffs and lovers of everything nautical rejoice at the annual Canal Days festival – held annually along the water in picturesque downtown Port Colborne. Celebrating their 38th year, the free Marine Heritage festival – held every civic holiday weekend – gathers hundreds of thousands of visitors for a four day celebration of history along the canal. Travel aboard pirate-worthy ships docked along the canals, cruise the waterways and learn the history of the marine community on a guided tour or take in the sights and nightly fireworks from the deck of your own boat on Lake Erie. The festival also hosts Ontario’s largest
outdoor Classic Car and International Kite show, two days of concerts and live entertainment, a children’s midway and an indoor craft show.
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE PEACH FESTIVAL | AUGUST 13
Celebrating the sweetest member of Niagara’s agricultural family, the two-day Niagara-on-the-Lake Peach Festival is a buffet of everything peach. Featuring the freshest peaches from local growers, many restaurants, amateur bakers and professional chefs come together to try their hand at elevating the region’s famed fruit. Peach pies, peach ice cream, jam and many other peach related treats are available to purchase and take home or try on premises as you enjoy live entertainment, salsa music and local wine and craft beer. You can also enjoy peach inspired menus at a number of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s 17 signature kitchens.
NIAGARA CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL | AUGUST 5-7
Niagara’s 3rd Annual Craft Beer Festival features over 100 of Ontario’s best small batch craft beers and ciders for people to sample and enjoy. Hosted along the water in picturesque Port Dalhousie, the festival will overlook the Royal Henley Regatta, allowing the thousands of attendees to enjoy Regatta racing, live music and outdoor lawn games including Ping Pong, Bocce and Giant Jenga while sipping on the best in Canadian craft beverages. Past participating breweries have included locals Silversmith Brewing Company, Oast House Brewers and Brimstone Brewing Co. as well as Quebec brewers St- Ambroise and Ontario famed Mill Street Brewery.
Tickets can be purchased ahead of time or at the door. Special proceeds will go to support the festival’s charitable partner Red Roof Retreat – an organization that provides quality respite and recreational programs for children, youth, and young adults with special needs and their families within the Niagara Region.
Grape and Wine Festival | SEPTEMBER 10-25
The famous Grape and Wine Festival is a month long celebration of Niagara’s greatest bounty, agriculture and globally recognized achievement: wine. Returning for the 65th year, the annual festival will once again encompass over 100 celebrations and special events held throughout the region during the month of September; ensuring there is no lack of activity to partake in or wine flight to taste.
The home base of the Niagara Wine Festival can be found in historic Montebello Park in downtown St. Catharines. One of the most beautiful parks in Niagara, Montebello will come alive for two back-to-back weekends in September to showcases the best in VQA wines and regional cuisine presented by top local chefs and winemakers. Over 50 wineries, restaurants, craft breweries and vendors set up shop in the park to offer samples, showcase unique vintages and educate on their unique brand and produce; proving why the event is recognized as a top 100 event in Canada.
Other festival highlights include the family favourite Meridian Grande Parade held on the final Saturday morning of the festival and the unique wine tours and special pairings offered at many of the wineries throughout the region; many of whom also hold their own celebrations on premises in conjunction with the festival.