“The Festival continues to be a staple in the lives of many families, local communities, and tourists alike, and while we’re not able to offer the usual experience, we are confident that festival goers will join us on this unique virtual adventure to ensure this annual tradition is not missed.” – Alicia Powell, festival coordinator for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
A News Release from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in Niagara, Ontario
Posted September 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
With celebrations all over the world looking a lot different this year, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is excited to announce its virtual celebration of the Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival.
“In it’s 46th year, the festival, which was originally conceived as four days of in-person shopping, featuring delicious local food, the best in VQA wines and local brews, artisan vendors, farmer’s market, and historical tours and demonstrations, has been transformed into a virtual experience,” says Alicia Powell, festival coordinator.
“The Festival continues to be a staple in the lives of many families, local communities, and tourists alike, and while we’re not able to offer the usual experience, we are confident that festivalgoers will join us on this unique virtual adventure to ensure this annual tradition is not missed.”
This year, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and in following local and provincial public health guidelines, some usual Festival favourites will be taking place online only, while other activities such as guided Heritage Tours are taking place at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, by advance reservation only.
Online-only elements include an online store so virtual Festivalgoers can enjoy a unique shopping experience featuring more than 80 juried artisans, crafters, food vendors and local farmers.
The virtual store will open for advance shopping on Sat., September 12 and will stay open through to Wed., October 7. Vendors will include local farmers and producers, nearby wineries, amazing woodworking, home and family goods, and even delicious treats for pets.
The new online store is offered through an innovative service called Local Line— established to assist local farmers and producers in getting their products to their customers through a digital marketplace. New this year, online shoppers can support local, participate in a new tradition, and get started on their holiday shopping, all from the comfort of their own home.
They will have the opportunity to pick up their goods at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area at their selected scheduled time, and residents of the Niagara Peninsula watershed can opt for delivery for a small additional fee. All pick-up and delivery will be completed throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, from Fri., October 9 to Mon., October 12.
The Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival is not just a shopping experience however, as it also represents the time of year when the Heritage Village of Glen Elgin comes to life.
From October 9 to 12, guests can travel back in time to the 1800s to experience a working grist mill grinding wheat to flour, interactive demonstrations including blacksmithing and weaving, as well as immersive tours of the various heritage buildings. This tradition will continue with ticketed tours running all weekend long. Reservations are mandatory and can be made online for individuals and groups of up to 10 people.
“It is important for to be able to offer an opportunity for our community and visitors to engage in the tradition in a new way and ensure they didn’t miss out on shopping from their favourite food and craft vendors.
While this portion is completely online, we kept some of the same traditions we know and love, like a decorated and interactive heritage village ready to be explored,” adds Powell. “This year will look a little bit different, but we are keeping the tradition alive and look forward to celebrating with a full in-person event in 2021.”
Since the first Thanksgiving Festival at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area in 1974, the intention was simple— to raise money for conservation and environmental programs that were not otherwise funded. This remains the purpose of the Festival today. From its humble beginnings as a one-day craft show, the event has become a family tradition. In 2020, the NPCA aims to do the same, and celebrate the fall with a unique Festival, unlike any other!
For more information about 46th Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival, including FAQs on how to shop online, pick up and delivery options, and how to book a Heritage Tour, please visit www.thanksgivingfestival.ca.
More information about Local Line can be found at www.localline.ca.
To learn more about the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, visit www.npca.ca.
About NPCA – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is a community-based natural resource management agency that works to protect, enhance, and sustain healthy watersheds. With 60 years of experience, the NPCA offers watershed programs and services that focus on flood and hazard management, source water protection, species protection, ecosystem restoration, community stewardship, and land management.
The NPCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in the Province of Ontario and manages 41 Conservation Areas within the Niagara Peninsula watershed held in public trust for recreation, heritage preservation, conservation, and education. These natural and shared greenspaces marry nature, culture, and adventure to create limitless opportunities for discovery.
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