Friday, June 5, 2015

Looking for something to do in Niagara this weekend?

This is the perfect weekend to get out and celebrate all we have to enjoy in Niagara, from music and arts to food and just being who we are.  So here's a roundup of some of the more popular events I - and perhaps you - might want to attend at some point this weekend.

First off, if you plan to visit our St. Catharines Farmers' Market at Market Square in downtown St. Catharines tomorrow morning, keep an eye out for the Garden City Food Co-Op tent set up just outside the north entrance to Market Square.  The tent is set up every Saturday morning from 9 until about 1:15, and in fact this weekend will also be there for Niagara Vegfest on Sunday.  This Saturday morning I will be one of the volunteers on hand to let you know about the benefits of joining the Garden City Food Co-Op.

The goal now is to reach the 800-member mark, and we are getting closer by the day.  So if you have considered becoming a founding member like I have but not done so yet, what are you waiting for?  We'll fill you in at the market in the morning and just how important this community venture will be to the quality of life not just in St. Catharines but throughout the Region as well.

Pride Niagara week is in full swing, and the big day is tomorrow at Montebello Park where Pride in the Park will take place from 12 noon to 11 pm.  Along with food, displays and lots of fun in the best park in Niagara, there will be plenty of music on tap throughout the day as well.  Musical highlights include Canadian Indie-Rock artists Rae Spoon and Fox Trail, and country artist Brad Battle.

This is the 4th annual Pride in the Park Festival and it promises to be even bigger and better this year, and admission to the park is free.  Weather should be good for the entire day tomorrow, too.

Tomorrow evening in Thorold, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church presents the pride of Thorold, organist Andrew Henderson in concert at the church at 24 Clairmont Street, downtown.  The concert is a fundraiser to support the restoration of the Historic Beaverdams Church.

Henderson's roots run deep in Thorold, as he grew up in the city and of course is the son of John and Cathy Henderson, the proprietors of the iconic Henderson's Pharmacy at 15 Front Street.  Andrew is now organist at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, so this is a rare chance to hear one of the most acclaimed organists of our generation who just happens to hail from Niagara.

I enjoyed hearing Andrew at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church for a similar recital about 15 years ago, and his technique is breathtaking.  The requisite barn-burner finale is always worth the price of admission itself.

From what I hear, the concert is entirely sold out, but you might want to check at Henderson's Pharmacy tomorrow to see if there are any stray tickets left.  I didn't even get a ticket for the concert, so if you are going, I'll live it vicariously through you.  Welcome home, Andrew!

On Sunday, Niagara Vegfest takes place at Market Square in downtown St. Catharines from 11 am to 6 pm.  This free event brings together a wide array of vendors, speakers and others interested in a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for a day full of food, fun and information.

Looking at the line up of vendors, there will be something for everyone, from vegan doughnuts from Beechwood Doughnuts to Niagara's premiere vegan restaurant, Rise Above.

A nice added touch will be a food drive for Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold, so be sure to bring something to add to the Community Care food drums.  Given the fact it is the Niagara Vegfest, it would be nice to see some vegetarian and vegan food donations as well.  When you think about it, those who rely on Community Care to make ends meet should also have access to different food options if at all possible as well, so do keep that in mind this weekend.

Tied in with Niagara Vegfest is a three-day special three-course vegan dinner being offered at La Scala Restaurant on Queen Street downtown.  The price is fixed at just $25 and the menu looks quite interesting.  My far better half and I are celebrating a special event at La Scala Sunday evening, so we'll be partaking of the three-course dinner special as well.  You can call them for reservations.

Finally, just over the river in Lewiston, New York, the 7th Annual Lewiston Region Tour of Kitchens takes place from 10 am to 4 pm both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  My far better half and I did this for the first time last year and loved it; we plan to visit again this year and tour a number of lovely homes in the Lewiston/Youngstown area and taste some of the food samples created by some of Upstate New York's finest chefs.

Tickets will be available each day of the event at the festival tent set up at the corner of North First Street and Centre Street in Lewiston, just outside the Barton House Hotel.  Get there early so you have lots of time to tour the several homes and sample the food prepared on location.

So there you go:  food, music, community involvement, food, food and more food this weekend.  What more could you ask for in Niagara on the first weekend in June?

Enjoy your weekend!

June 5th, 2015.

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