Saturday, May 28, 2016

Looking for something to do in Niagara this weekend?

The heat of the last few days has made it feel very much like summer here in Niagara, and that usually means we take some time and get out to have some fun around the area once work is done.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of things to see, hear and do in Niagara if you have no plans to work around the house.

When I was downtown in the early afternoon, I was drawn to the section of St. Paul Street recently closed off from James Street to Carlisle for any number of construction projects over the last several months.  Oh it's still closed, but this weekend that section of downtown is playing host to a pedestrian mall of sorts for the final wrap-up weekend for the Niagara Folk Arts Festival.

The Folk Arts in the Street event ran all day today and will continue tomorrow from 11 am to 6pm around the 250 St. Paul Street area.  If that address sounds familiar, well yes, it's the home of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, the new home for the Niagara Folk Arts Festival this weekend.

The Robertson Theatre is home to the One World Stage artist presentations throughout the weekend, and the outside stage on St. Paul Street is also hosting a variety of local and emerging artists.  There is also a marketplace area and hands-on cultural activities in the Pen Centre Family Area.

If you're hungry, cultural foods by a variety of food truck vendors will also be on hand throughout the day again tomorrow, with a little something for everyone.

Best of all, this event is family-friendly and absolutely free admission.

While downtown St. Catharines is hosting the Folk Arts Festival this weekend, downtown Niagara Falls is alive with the annual Springalicious event on Queen Street.  This event has been going on for several years now, and features a variety of musical acts, vendors and a variety of food items for sale.

The so-called Q-District has been struggling the last few years as they seek to find a new identity, but events such as Springalicious presents a perfect opportunity to meet people you either know or don't know in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.

Springalicious wraps up tomorrow evening and promises to be a popular event for the finale this Sunday.

Back in St. Catharines, the Friends of the Port Dalhousie Carousel have been hard at work throughout the winter and spring months getting the iconic 5-cent carousel ready for another summer of memories and fun.  Their kickoff to the 2016 summer season was actually held last weekend in Port Dalhousie, but this weekend and every weekend until the end of the school year will be filled with the sounds of kids and assorted family members reliving their past or starting new traditions of riding the vintage carousel in Lakeside Park.  For the summer months the carousel will be open every day.

There is lots of rancorous debate in St. Catharines over the future of not only Lakeside Park but also the entire Port Dalhousie tourist area, ravaged by time and the on-again/off-again nature of the Port Place development.

On the weekend you are encouraged to throw those opinions aside for a while and join the many other like-minded individuals reliving their past or introducing the tradition to their children or grandchildren.  Port Dalhousie may still be a shadow of its former commercial self in recent years, but the area is showing signs of renewed life these days.  We can only hope for more enthusiasm for the jewel of Lakeside Park as projects slowly but surely move forward in Port.

Finally, Gallery Players of Niagara presents their final concert of the current season tomorrow afternoon at 2pm at Silver Spire United Church on St. Paul Street.  The concert, entitled The Beethoven Cycle Continues, will feature four performers continuing their cycle of the Beethoven Piano Trios, this weekend including the "Archduke" Trio Op. 97.

Performing at the Gallery Players concert tomorrow afternoon will be violinist Julie Baumgartel, Patrick Jordan on viola, Margaret Gau on cello and David Louie on piano.

For tickets, call Gallery Players at 905-468-1525.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Mike Saunders.

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