By Michelle Blackley Glynn
As the local tourism and hospitality industry calms down from this epic high season, residents are preparing for one of the busiest times of year for all: the holidays.
Experience "12 Days of Christmas" with a calendar full of local events to do with loved ones, family and visiting guests.
•Fatima Shrine in Lewiston is holding its annual "Festival of Lights" until Jan. 3, 2016.
•The New York Power Authority Festival of Trees at the Niagara Power Project/Power Vista will also extend until January.
•On Dec. 5 and 12, Old Fort Niagara will offers tours of the 300-year-old French Castle with its spectacular "Castle by Candlelight" tour.
•Nothing says the holidays like something in the oven, so get cooking at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute on Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls, where demonstrations and classes are held regularly.
•The holidays are happening on the Niagara Wine Trail USA Dec. 4-13. Participants will receive a special holiday gift from the trail, wine tasting and chance to shop. Tickets include three tastes and a commemorative wine glass from your starting winery.
•For small-town holiday charm, take a drive out to Newfane for its "Holiday Light Up" from 5:30-8 p.m. Dec. 4. Admission is free and all of the excitement will take place on Main Street. A parade, cookies, hot chocolate and a visit from Santa brought in on a horse-drawn wagon will mark the occasion. The town will be decorated in lights and the "Wishing Tree" will be on display at the gazebo.
•The Lewiston Tour of Homes occurs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5-6. Admission is $25. View quaint cottages with their halls decked with holiday décor. Enjoy a dessert sampling reception and access to the Holiday Gift Market.
•While in Lewiston, don't miss the Village of Lewiston Christmas Walk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5-6. Admission is free and all events take place on Center Street. It will be an old-fashioned time with complimentary carriage rides, carolers and Santa promenading through the heart of town at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Entertainment and refreshments will be served by Lewiston businesses.
•Didn't get any one-on-one time with Santa during his first go-around in Niagara County? He'll be at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum (180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday through Dec. 19. Stop by for casual conversation and a chance to give him your wish list - just be sure you're on the nice list. Start off the day with lunch and enjoy festive crafts and games, hot chocolate and treats, and plenty of opportunity to ride the carrousel. Reservations and prepayment ($10 per person) are required for lunch.
Michelle Blackley Glynn manages global media relations for the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. She is also an adjunct instructor at Niagara University and the host of "Niagara Now" on LCTV. Follow her on Twitter @shellblackley.