Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Inaugural Niagara Footprint Festival set for Jan. 26

Mon, Jan 21st 2019 07:00 am

A coalition of groups has formed to establish a new winter event on Grand Island for families suffering from cabin fever.

The Niagara Footprint Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Beaver Island State Park.

Organizers said this week the free festival will promote both the state park and the effort to reduce the carbon footprint.

The event is organized by: Town of Grand Island, Councilwoman Bev Kinney; New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Greg Brown, Beaver Island State Park manager; Niagara River Greenway Commission; and the Grand Island Historical Society, Chamber of Commerce, Recreation Department, Economic Development Committee and Conservation Advisory Board.

Activities and vendors planned at the festival, organizers said, will highlight local resources and how one can do better to protect these resources in the years to come.

Kinney said the springboard to the festival was the Birds on the Niagara event, which takes place Jan. 25-26 from Youngstown to Buffalo. She and the town were trying to think of ways to utilize the parks more and started meeting with Gregory D. Stevens, executive director of the Niagara River Greenway Commission. Kinney said, “We started bringing in the partners that we’ve thought could put something together.”

Robin Shipman of the Grand Island Historical Society said, “This is a collaboration among separate organizations on Grand Island. Finally. And we all have different gifts to offer, and it’s all come together.”

Shipman said the event will have a “neat variety of activities” with food, music with something for everybody.

Jennifer Pusatier of the GI Chamber of Commerce said “a big igniter,” too, is the new Western New York Welcome Center, which will serve as a hub for the various ecotourism events locally. The goal, Pusatier said, is to make the Niagara Footprint Festival an annual event to utilize all the town’s green space and parks.

Diane Evans of the Town of Grand Island Conservation Advisory Board said a special guided morning bird walk will be held at 9 a.m. in Beaver Island. Interested walkers can meet the Buffalo Audubon Society at the clubhouse, the old Beaver Island Casino, by 8:45 a.m. All ages are welcome; feel free to bring binoculars.

“This is an exciting time on the river, because we get so many kinds of water fowl, tundra swans, and gulls,” Evans said.

The region is a unique gull habitat for many species of gulls, she noted.

“In winter, we get 17 to 20 species of gulls,” Evans said, and there are thousands of waterfowl at the river in the winter, some that will be off the Island shore.

For other events of Birds on the Niagara, visit the Greenway website or the Buffalo Audobon website.

The Beaver Island clubhouse will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A farmers market will fill the clubhouse along with many green-friendly organizations.

Beaver Island Vendors

Soma Cura, Everything Grand Island, Solar by CIR, The Buffalo Audobon Society, Citizen Science, PUSH Green, Casey’s Cabana, Grand Island Kiwanis Club, Island Dreams, Bubba’s BBQ, Pickle Annie, Hanlons Maple, Thompson’s Farm, Coop Bakery, Ray Fisher Meat’s, Back Hills Farm, Uncle Jumbo Vodka, Blue Barn Cider, Niagara Craft Distillery and House of Munch.

Arts and crafts will be available for the kids sponsored by the GI Recreation Department. From noon to 2 p.m., an ice sculpting demonstration by the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute will take place in the outdoor pavilion.

Dog sledding will be on display courtesy of the Siberian Husky Club. New York State Parks and Campus WheelWorks will offer fat tire bikes and snowshoes to enjoy. (Small fee for some items.)

The Kiwanis Club of Grand Island will sell coffee and hot chocolate at the bar. Enjoy a small snack or lunch with Herb N Gardens pizza, Casey’s Cabana, Popcorn Jim and House of Munch.

Disc golf and snow softball registration can be found on the event Facebook page.

River Lea

River Lea, home of the Grand Island Historical Society, will host historic tours, food, a bonfire, bluegrass music and a blacksmithing demonstration.

Take a free horse and carriage ride from the clubhouse to River Lea historical farmhouse from noon to 4 p.m.

Shipman said River Lea is almost closed down until the society starts up its monthly meetings. The Niagara Footprint Festival “is a great way to showcase River Lea in the offseason. It’s still decorated for winter and it’s beautiful inside,” she said.

A chili sale will help fund a renovation and education project for River Lea.

“It’s tucked right within Beaver Island Park. It’s a little-known gem, so we can get a chance to shine for a few hours,” Shipman said of River Lea, which is home to the historical society and houses town history.

The River Lea farmhouse will be like stepping back in time, Shipman said. An old-fashioned bluegrass band, including Islander Cap Cooke, will perform. TD Laing Draft Horses of Springville will provide horse and carriage rides. Blacksmithing and pulling ice from the river for the ice houses will show visitors how Islanders managed life the old-fashioned way.

“For families, it will be fascinating to see,” Shipman said.

Soma Cura Wellness Center will lead an interpretive meditative hike at 3 p.m. beginning at River Lea.

Parking is limited at River Lea. Consider taking the horse and carriage ride early to get back to the clubhouse if walking is limited.

For information about the festival, go online to www.facebook.com/pg/NiagFootprint, or www.grand-Island.ny.us.

comments powered by Disqus

Hometown News