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Thu, Nov 7th 2019 09:15 am
The French Castle gets a Christmassy makeover for `Castle by Candlelight,` courtesy of the Youngstown Garden Club. The boulangerie, shown here, is just one of many rooms that gets beautified. (Photos by Wayne Peters)
The French Castle gets a Christmassy makeover for "Castle by Candlelight," courtesy of the Youngstown Garden Club. The boulangerie, shown here, is just one of many rooms that gets beautified. (Photos by Wayne Peters)

‘Castle by Candlelight’ returns to Old Fort Niagara

Old Fort Niagara, the 18th century historic site, is getting ready for its popular Christmas event in a very 21st-century way.

As of this week, Old Fort Niagara started selling advance tickets – online only – for the Dec. 7 and 14 “Castle by Candlelight” events, running from 6:30-8:15 p.m. each night.

“For the past few years, we have had visitors requesting advance-sale tickets for ‘Castle by Candlelight,’ so we’ve moved in that direction this year,” said Robert Emerson, executive director of the Old Fort Niagara Association. “Now they can make their plans in advance while we prepare to welcome them for two evenings of holiday festivities.”

Online tickets are $15 at the fort’s website, www.oldfortniagara.org, and through its Facebook page. Tickets at the door will be $25. The general admission price applies to everyone except children ages 5 and under.

“Castle by Candlelight” is a Christmas-themed fundraiser for Old Fort Niagara that raises money for the fort’s educational programming throughout the year. The Youngstown Garden Club decorates the French Castle with natural greens, ribbons and dried flowers, which become the beautiful backdrop for living-history activities in the rooms and spaces within.

Visitors can play period games, write with quill pens, watch an 18th-century meal being prepared, listen to period music, visit the chapel, learn about the fur trade, meet reenactors, watch craftsmen practice their trade, and learn about soldiers’ lives in the wintertime. Historical characters will be aplenty.

Outside the French Castle, bonfires will warm and illuminate Native music, dancing and storytelling, hot food and drinks will be for sale in the Log Cabin, and the ceremonial “feu de joie” salute of muskets and cannon will fire out regularly in celebration of the holidays.

Online tickets will be available through Dec. 6 for the Dec. 7 date; and through Dec. 13 for the Dec. 14 date. The event goes on regardless of the weather. Tickets are not refundable. For more information, visit www.oldfortniagara.org.

The Youngstown Garden Club will be onsite Nov. 29-30 to decorate the French Castle. Visitors on those days will see how club members take greenery, ribbons, flowers and bows and transforms the French Castle for the holiday season. These are workdays for the club, so the castle will be busy with members, their tools and decorations.

Old Fort Niagara (www.oldfortniagara.org) is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The “feu de joie” cannon and musket firings are a festive highlight at Castle by Candlelight, Dec. 7 and 14, at Old Fort Niagara.

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