Niagara Wine Festival

By: Elisha Burberry

Holidays in Niagara, Ontario most often bring to mind images of serene, breathtaking views of Niagara Falls. However, there's much more to the area than this as the plethora of year-round activities on offer in the Niagara region proves. As well as a variety of natural wildlife and marine life to see, Niagara also offers visitors thrilling nightlife, an active theatrical scene and a number of historical and sporting attractions.

Among the most popular annual festivals held in Niagara Falls is the Niagara Wine Festival. Held every year in September, the Niagara Wine Festival hosts more than 100 events, including winery tours and wine tastings, as well as concerts, artisan exhibits, wine seminars and the opportunity to sample local Niagara cuisine. What's more, attendants of the 56th Niagara Wine Festival in September 2007 will be able to witness one of the largest street parades in Canada - The Grande Parade.

One of North America's most celebrated wine festivals, the Niagara Wine Festival began in 1952 and today hosts two spin-off festivals from the original: the Niagara Icewine Festival, held each January, and the Niagara New Vintage Festival, which occurs annually in June. Moreover, the festival has twice been named Ontario's Cultural Event of the year and has been hailed as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bar Association (ABA), so is a permanent fixture on the calendars of wine lovers across the continent.

The main celebrations of the Niagara Wine Festival take place in Montebello Park in St Catharine's. Here, Niagara Wine Festival attendees can enjoy the finest wines, indulge in the well-known regional food and take delight in the festival's opportunities for merry-making and revelry that are virtually unparalleled anywhere in Canada in the Fall. If you're planning to visit the Niagara Wine Festival this year, you'll be able to keep up to date on the festival's website, which offers videos and podcasts for download.

Last year, the Niagara Wine Festival attracted over 500, 000 visitors - so booking your hotel in Niagara early is essential if you're counting on having a comfortable place to stay. In fact, the Grande Parade in itself is expected to attract around 150, 000 visitors this year, so even if you're only planning to attend this main event, booking ahead is crucial.

And if you're driving to Niagara from the United States, new regulations mean that you won't have to show your passport when you cross the border into Canada or when you return to the USA, although visitors travelling by air will still be required to carry these documents. Getting to Canada has never been easier - so there's really no reason not to visit the Niagara Wine Festival this year.

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