As summer gives way to fall, and barbecuing with friends turns into pumpkin spice coffee runs with coworkers, there’s no better place to be than in Niagara County.
In the River Region, the season is celebrated with two large-scale late-September events.
•The annual Lewiston Harvest & Hops Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28-29. Center Street (from Seventh to Fourth streets) will feature more than 130 craft and food vendors, as well as a farmers market. Visitors can enjoy beverages by the Brickyard Brewing Company. Village shops and dining establishments will be open and offering unique food and drink options.
On Saturday night, Strictly Hip will perform from 7:30-10 p.m. under the music tent at Fourth Street and Hennepin Park.
The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce sponsors Harvest & Hops. For more information, visit www.niagarariverregion.com.
•Also taking place Sept. 28-29 is the 34th annual Wildlife Festival at the Niagara Power Vista visitor center in Lewiston. Wildlife shows, conservation and science activities, and a glimpse of Tuscarora culture top the list of activities coming to the New York Power Authority event grounds. The free family festival, co-sponsored by the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs (NCFCC), will run both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.
The festival features popular NCFCC activities, including a fishing pond, archery, crossbow (age-specific), and a shooting trailer.
Popular returning shows include: Jeff Musial and Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics; Carmen Presti and the Primate Sanctuary; Hawk Creek Wildlife Center; Skyhunters Birds of Prey; AWARE rehabilitation center; Buffalo Zoomobile; Police K-9 demonstrations by Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and Lewiston Police Department; and Mike Randall & Friends.
Science and sustainability activities will be in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) tent. Exhibitors include NYPA, WNY STEM, Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Preserve, Circuit Stompers robotics club, and Niagara University, which will display creepy and crawly insects and offer other hands-on activities.
The Tuscarora Tent returns featuring the Niagara River Iroquois Dancers, crafts and activities such as corn husk dolls, beading, weaving and food tastings to highlight Tuscarora culture.
Youngsters can also enjoy face-painting, a rock-climbing wall (noon to 3 p.m. both days), chainsaw art, and free safety identifications by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office (check in the safety tent for specific hours).
A variety of conservation exhibitors, include the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation divisions, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Conservation Interpretive Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and clubs such as sportsmen’s, trappers and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Parents can complete a lost child wristband to assist with child safety efforts during the festival. Just ask for the band at the information tents or the reception desk inside the Power Vista.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy the many interactive exhibits inside the Power Vista designed for inquisitive minds of all ages. Understand electricity through the eyes of pioneers Nikolai Tesla and Thomas Edison, as well as modern-day scientists. Take a virtual roller coaster ride in the “Power Up!” 4-D simulator. See what it takes to operate a power plant. A simulated challenge provides the chance to operate a plant and control the state’s transmission network. Watch a hair-raising experience during scheduled demonstrations of the Van de Graaff generator.
Enjoy free rides on the Discover Niagara Shuttle to the Lewiston Harvest Festival, Gorge Discovery Center and other area attractions. For more information, visit www.discoverniagarashuttle.com.
The Power Vista is located at 5777 Lewiston Road in Lewiston. Parking is free and will be available in the Power Vista parking lot and adjacent lots at Niagara University.