The Niagarafied Weekend – #3

So, it’s not very creative, but that’s what’s happening with the title for these weekend posts.

#3, #4, #476….

When I first decided to do this series, I thought I would just focus on one weekend activity. But as I’m finding out about all the things going on during weekends, I thought I might add more stuff to the post. Sometimes, I might do a special focus on one thing or event. But what I like about blogging is that it’s fluid – sometimes a format, idea, or way to tell a story just happens and takes on a life of its own. And that’s kind of what’s happening here.

I’ve also added a special section at the end of the post called “Plan ahead”. This section will give you advance notice of things for upcoming weekends. We all have busy schedules, and often you need more than a couple days planning time. And with all of these fun options to choose from, I think the more planning time you have, the better!

But first, let’s get started with what’s happening THIS weekend.

IMG_5346

Heritage

On Saturday, April 2nd, you will have the chance to roam the Niagara beauty that is Willowbank.

There is something incredibly special about this estate, and if you’ve been, you already know what I’m talking about. During their Open House, not only will you get to tour the house, but you will see demonstrations from the students attending the Willowbank School for Heritage Conservation.

I went last year, and really enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about this beautiful place. You can read my thoughts and see more pictures here.

20151223_200121

Food

Sunday, April 3rd, I’ll be attending the Niagara Chef Showcase. Because of this, I don’t think I’ll be eating on Saturday – gotta make sure I have lots of room to try all these incredible dishes. You can check out the menu here, and you can also buy tickets here.

If you’re attending and you see me, please come and say hi. Just a warning though, you might end up seeing your picture on the blog.

IMG_6407

Wine

Though I’m always happy to spend time going from winery to winery, special events make it just that extra bit more fun – especially when you can get a glimpse of some of the behind-the-scenes stuff. You can do that this Sunday at Strewn Winery, where you get a chance to help with some pruning of the vines. Not only will you learn about what goes on in the vineyard, you will be rewarded with a yummy bowl of soup and a glass of wine at the end. I know this event sold out last year, as it is limited to 30 people. Call the winery to find out if places are available, or book tickets online here. 

Reif Estate Winery is holding a Back Vintage Taste & Buy Weekend, where you can taste some of Reif’s back vintages, matched with local artisan cheese. Remember to also plan ahead for their amazing Annual White Sale, happening April 21st to 24th. You really won’t want to miss out on the chance to buy some great white wines for summer, at unbelievable prices.

IMG_8918

Theatre

Garden City Productions is performing Hello, Dolly! for the first three weekends in April. I’m a huge believer in the importance of community theatre, and adore classic musicals. If you do too, you can buy tickets here. The Friday and Saturday shows will be held at 8pm, with Sunday matinees at 2 pm, at Ridley College’s Mandeville Theatre.

IMG_4932

Gardens

For one more week, you will have a chance to see the Easter Display at the Floral Showhouse. I went last weekend, and it’s a nice way to welcome the arrival of spring. Yes, spring is here, and hooray for that.

The Floral Showhouse is also a fantastic place to practice those nature photography skills. I’ll be sharing some of my recent pics from there next week, so if you love floral displays and gorgeous colour, make sure you check back for that one.

But I think you should go take some photos and share them too, okay?

IMG_6546

Markets

We have some terrific special market events here in Niagara. This weekend you can visit the Many Hands Market. Held on Sunday April 3rd at Ridley College, there will be over fifty vendors and food trucks. As a bonus, there will also be some quick DIY workshops led by talented artists and crafters. Tickets are at the door, or you can purchase a Very Important Shopper pass here .

The Many Hands Project is a Niagara College student driven collaboration. You can read all about them and what they do here. They host several fundraisers throughout the year to raise funds and awareness for the Project. They have another one happening next Thursday, April 7th, called We Got Soul – A Jazz and Blues Experience.

IMG_9998

Plan Ahead

So many fun things happening in April! Aside from the stuff I’ve mentioned above, here’s a glimpse of what’s ahead. This is just what I have learned about so far. If you have weekend happenings that you would like me to share, please send the details my way.

April 9th – Good Afternoon, Vietnam!

Niagara Culinary Tours is offering Good Afternoon, Vietnam!, a Vietnamese cooking demo and dinner with Kevin Echlin, Chef/Owner of The Smokin’ Buddha. I went to the event last year, and had a really good time. Tickets sell out quickly, so get yours pronto.

April 9th & 10th – Passionate About Appassimento

Are you passionate about Appassimento? I think you know that I am. Well, Malivoire is hosting an event to warm every Appassimento lover’s heart. For only $10, you will have a special opportunity to meet winemaker Graham Rennie, the man behind Rennie Estates Winery.  Along with this you will sample a complete flight of all four Rennie wines, and after that a scrumptious food pairing matched for the “G” Assemblage.  You must call Malivoire to reserve your spot. I haven’t sampled any of these wines yet, but I have heard amazing things. Really looking forward to this one!

April 15th, 16th & 17th – The Niagara Food & Wine Expo

It’s time for the Niagara Food & Wine Expo! As usual, you can expect to sample some terrific food and wine, but also you will have the chance to meet Stacey Simon, this year’s celebrity guest. Stacey hosts Stacey Simon Rendezvous on Gusto TV and has featured some amazing Niagara spots in several of her episodes. Look for a special feature on Stacey here on the blog very soon.

You can also read about last year’s expo in this post.

April 9&10, 16&17, or 23&24 – Get Fresh in the Valley

I really love heading out to the wineries of Twenty Valley, but I especially look forward to Get Fresh in the Valley. Wine and food pairings with a focus on spring flavours….what better way to celebrate the departure of winter?

The great thing about this event is it’s happening for three weekends. However, tickets are only for one weekend of your choice – unless you buy a pass for more weekends, that is. If you’re local, the Sunday only pass is a fantastic option, and I think that’s the one I’ll be doing this year. Three Sundays eating and drinking my way around Twenty Valley sounds mighty fine to me.

The other thing I have to say about this event is that they put a lot of thought into their Designated Driver’s program. Ken doesn’t drink, and it is so disheartening for him to come to events with me and only be offered water. Last year, Get Fresh gave him some wonderful non-alcoholic pairings, so extra kudos to Get Fresh for that!

As always, you can read my take on last year’s event here.

And you can buy your tickets here.

And the last thing I’ll mention for today….

April 29th – May 1st – In the Soil Arts Festival

I haven’t been to In the Soil yet, but I’ve heard good reports about it. You can view all the details of the schedule here, and start planning for a fabulous arts-filled weekend.

I especially love the vision for the festival too.

 

So, is your calendar full yet? We’ve got lots of great weekends coming up, don’t we?

I hope you have a fantastic weekend! And if you get to any of the events listed, make sure you tag me at #NiagarafiedWeekend!