The quaint towns of Niagara County host must-see holiday events
by Michelle Blackley
Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.
The holiday season is in full swing and, whether you're looking to see lights, watch history come alive, or discover Niagara Falls via a cozy carriage ride, Niagara USA is brimming with activities to keep you entertained until Santa comes down the chimney.
There is no mystery as to why the holiday season is often described as a most wonderful time of year in Niagara USA. From musical performances, to dazzling lights, and a carriage ride through a park, the county is transformed into a magical, winter wonderland.
To inspire your time in Niagara USA during the holidays, here are a few activities to mark on your calendar. Spend an hour or an entire day, and enjoy all the festive fun.
•Take in the holiday season in style in Lewiston, a quaint, historic town just minutes from downtown Niagara Falls, where the village's picturesque Center Street transforms into a genuine Christmas card come to life. It's a magical setting of a street lined with boutiques and restaurants, and friendly residents sharing good tidings. The enticing aromas of fresh brewed coffee and baked goods will draw you into the cafés along the way.
•A feast for the eyes awaits guests at The Fatima Shrine Festival of Lights, atOur Lady of Fatima Shrine (1023 Swann Road, Youngstown). This place of natural beauty is lit up every night until Jan. 5, with more than 75 beautiful lighted displays and an illuminated shrine. A visit to the Fatima Shrine isn't complete without a walk up two flights of stairs (63 steps) to the top of the dome where a graceful and majestic granite Our Lady of Fatima statue watches over the property.
•An historic and unique event will occur this weekend at Old Fort Niagara, the oldest fortress on the Great Lakes. Lanterns line Old Fort Niagara's walkways as soldiers prepare their muskets to perform a grand feu de joie, a firing of joy, in honor of the holiday season. Fifes and drums play traditional music and artillerists prepare their cannons to join in the salute. The fort's log cabin also will be open, offering hot beverages and live holiday music. Visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather, wear walking shoes and bring a flashlight.
•Drive out to Eastern Niagara County and enjoy the holiday lights along the Erie Canal, in Lockport, during the Lockport Winter Wonderland Project. Discover Lockport and all there is to know about the historic Erie Canal.
•Pack up the family and enjoy a carriage ride throughout Hyde Park in Niagara Falls. View the holiday lights on a free ride (first-come, first-served) courtesy of the United Way of Greater Niagara.
There's so much to see and do during the holidays in Niagara USA. For a full calendar of events, visit http://www.niagara-usa.com. Whether you've been naughty or nice, Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. looks forward to welcoming the best of the season with you and yours.
Michelle Blackley is the communications and community relations manager at Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. She's the host of "Niagara Now" on WLVL and LCTV, and manages the NTCC blog at http://www.Niagara-USA.com/blog. Follow her on Twitter @shellblackley.