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Aquarium fundraiser celebrates the grape

by jmaloni
Fri, Sep 9th 2011 07:05 am
Dan O'Connor of Wagner Vineyards at last year's fundraising event.
Dan O'Connor of Wagner Vineyards at last year's fundraising event.

M&T Bank will once again be the marquee sponsor for the Aquarium of Niagara's annual "Winds, Waves & Wines" celebration of the region's grape harvest. The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Convention Center Niagara Falls.

Wines from area wine trails will be featured: Niagara, Lake Erie, Keuka, and Seneca. Hors d'oeuvres, desserts and coffee will be available, too. Music will be provided by The Rod Nickson Project, sponsored by Turner Construction, and DeeJay Pat Proctor of Premier Sound. A silent auction also is planned.

Free parking will be available at the Aquarium of Niagara lot, between Third and Whirlpool streets. Shuttle service, provided by the Niagara State Park trolley, will run from 5:45 to 9:30 p.m. Parking also is available on city streets and in nearby lots.

The fundraiser will once again feature Aaron Mentkowski of WKBW-TV Channel 7 as celebrity host. Participating wineries include: Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, Niagara Landing, Black Willow, Schulze Vineyards and Winery, Dr. Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars, Heron Hill Winery, Johnson Estate Winery, Eveningside Vineyards, Liberty Vineyards, Merritt Estate Winery, Standing Stone, Wagner, Willow Creek and Vetter vineyards.

Caterers/restaurants include: Brodo, the Sheraton Inn at the Falls, Muscoreil's Bistro & Dessert Gallery, Niagara County Community College Culinary/Pastry Arts program, Starbucks Coffee/Niagara Falls, The Cheesecake Place, Quality Hotels & Suites and The Conference Center Niagara Falls.

Prizes for the silent auction have been donated by Whitenight's Jewelers; Art Effects Glass; Fichte, Endl & Elmer Eye Care; Spirit Airline tickets; and WELCOME magazine.

Tickets are $55 each or $100 a couple. They can be purchased in advance at the Aquarium of Niagara or at the door that night. For more information or to be included as an event sponsor, call 285-3575, ext. 204.

•The Aquarium of Niagara has begun its fall hours. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Many special events are planned for the fall and winter months, including "Halloween Happening" in October; "Reptile Experience" in November; "Storytelling Saturdays" in February; and the "SEAsonings" fundraiser and "Penguin Days" in March.

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