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Harvest and Wildlife festivals: Reconnect with nature

Sat, Sep 17th 2016 07:00 am
A scene from a past New York Power Authority Wildlife Festival. (File photos)
A scene from a past New York Power Authority Wildlife Festival. (File photos)

Get outside and enjoy two fall festivals showcasing the Niagara River Region

Lewiston Harvest Festival and Craft Show

One of the region's favorite fall events will take place along Center Street in the Village of Lewiston on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24-25. The Lewiston Harvest Festival, now in its 33rd year, will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, and is free and open to the public.

More than 100 vendors will showcase artwork, jewelry, woodwork, candles and handmade crafts throughout the weekend. A variety of food vendors will be found along the craft show route. Specialty boutiques, retail shops and local restaurants will also be open, adding to the charm of the village's festival atmosphere.

The farmers market, located on Center and South Fifth streets, will include a variety of fall harvest produce favorites, as well as wine, fresh cider, hardy mums and honey.

Live music and entertainment can be found throughout the festival. Highlights include: The Hot Country Line Dancers performing in the KeyBank parking lot at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and a Lewiston Music Showcase from noon to 4 p.m. at the Hennepin Park Gazebo on Sunday.

"This annual event has become a fall favorite for both the community and visitors," said Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Pauly. "The festival has grown throughout the years. Next year we hope to close Center Street to be able to accommodate more vendors, entertainment and food/beverage."

The Chamber of Commerce coordinates and oversees the Harvest Festival.

The Mighty Niagara Half Marathon will run through Center Street starting at 9:15 a.m. Saturday. Center Street will be temporarily closed (approximately 9-9:45 a.m.) to ensure runner safety.

The Discover Niagara Shuttle will transport guests between the Harvest Festival and the Wildlife Festival.

For more information on local fall events, call the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce at 716-754-9500 or visit www.NiagaraRiverRegion.com.




Wildlife Festival at NYPA's Niagara Power Vista

It's not every day you can have a close encounter with an alligator or monkey, see a hawk stretch out its full, three-foot wingspan, or have a tarantula placed on your head. But those will be fairly typical sightings at the 31st annual Wildlife Festival at the New York Power Authority's Niagara Power Vista in Lewiston on Sept. 24-25.

Guests can get a front-row seat at a state-sanctioned duck-calling competition or take a guided tour of Niagara University's nature trail, learning about area history and geology.

The free festival, co-sponsored by the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs, will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. Visitors can choose from more than 60 demonstrations and activities that promote conservation awareness, including:

•Wildlife shows, including The Primate Sanctuary with Carmen Presti, Nickel City Reptiles with Jeff Musial, Hawk Creek Wildlife Center, Skyhunters Birds of Prey, AWARE animal rehabilitation center, Buffalo Zoomobile, Erie County SPCA Wildlife Department and police K-9 demonstrations.

•Conservation exhibitors, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation divisions, New York State Parks Interpretive Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, clubs to include sportsmen, trappers, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

•Activities, such as a shooting trailer, a fishing pond, crossbow (age-appropriate), archery, crafts, safety identifications, face painting, a rock-climbing wall, chainsaw art and fishing demonstrations.

For the second year, the festival will bring back the New York state-sanctioned duck-calling contest sponsored by Ducks Unlimited. There is no fee to enter the Saturday competition. The winner will go on to compete in the 81st annual World's Championship Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart, Arkansas, in November. Register by emailing [email protected] or [email protected]

Wild-game tasting will also be back with venison, bison and bear sampling stations, and a selection of fish near the center tent, operated by the Niagara River Fishing Station of Grand Island.

Eastern Mountain Sports joins the festival this year with interactive activities and demonstrations. The Niagara River Anglers will run the Wildlife Festival's Kids Fishing Derby. Children up to age 15 can enter the free contest and fish at any Niagara County public fishing location, including the Power Vista's fishing pier and reservoir. Contestants must be present to win. 

Learn about the goals and achievements of the SPCA Serving Erie County's wildlife department and meet some wildlife ambassadors at 12:30 p.m. Sunday in the center tent. The department takes in nearly 3,000 animals per year of more than 100 different species. Its goal is to rehabilitate and release animals back to the wild, while helping decrease conflicts with the community. 

Attendees can also try out the all-new interactive adventure exhibits at the newly renovated Power Vista. A 4-D virtual rollercoaster allows visitors to hear, see and feel the experience of a single drop of rain, as it becomes a unit of energy. They can also "operate" a power plant and "run" the state's transmission network, while learning about how the massive Robert Moses Dam helps provide power.

Visitors can ride the Discover Niagara Shuttle to the Lewiston Harvest Festival, Gorge Discovery Center and other area attractions. For more information on the shuttle and its route, visit www.discoverniagara.org.

The Power Vista is located at 5777 Lewiston Road in Lewiston. Parking is free in the Power Vista parking lot and in adjacent lots at Niagara University.

For more information on the festival or to register for a Wildlife Festival contest, call 716-286-6661 or 1-866-NYPA-FUN, email [email protected], or visit www.nypa.gov for a complete schedule of activities.

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