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It’s peach harvesting season, and Niagara’s annual Peach Festival is returning on August 10 for its 29th year.
The unique blend of climate, geography, and soils found in the Niagara region allow producers to grow a wide variety of top-quality fruits; peaches being one of them. With perfect conditions for Niagara’s rich and abundant peach trees, you’ll find extra sweet peaches in the region.
Along the lower Niagara Parkway from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake, you’ll find local fruit stands selling not only Niagara peaches but plenty of other produce. There are also a number of farms that offer pick-your-own fruit activities!
Fun fact: This is actually how Niagara earned itself the title of being Canada’s Peach Capital.
In all, there are about fifteen different varieties of peaches to choose from in the Niagara area. Some of the most popular are freestone and semi-free stone types such as Fantasia, Harblaze, Garnet Beauty, Harrow Diamond, and Red Haven. And yes, they are all equally delicious!
(If you’ve never tried a Niagara peach before, you’re seriously missing out. But at least you can drop by the Peach Festival, which pays a huge tribute to the juicy, luscious fruit over one entire day.)
At Niagara’s Peach Festival, you can enjoy live music and entertainment throughout the day, as well as a sidewalk sale led by merchants from the Queen Street area. Of course, don’t forget the tasty delights from local bakeries, restaurants, and local growers selling their delicious peaches and other produce.
Expect treats including Kurtz Orchard’s Peach Fritters, Nina’s Peach Crepes, and Old Town Goodies Hot Dogs with home-made Peach Salsa, as well as other sweets including Peach Pie, Peach Gelato, and Peach Smoothies.
One of the many traditions guests can enjoy at the Peach Festival is corn-on-the-cob. The owner of Elmer’s Toys, Elmer Neufeld, brings his steam engine to the celebration every year and uses it to cook thousands of corn on the cobs — all proceeds raised are then donated to a local charity.
At 10 am, the Fort George Fife and Drum Corps will start the day off as they march down Queen Street. Afterwards, you can enjoy performances during the day by a Caribbean Steel Band, Italian Choir, and Back in the Daze. A staple at the Peach Festival is the well-known Toronto All-Star Band who have been performing at the celebration for over 15 years.
Children can enjoy crafts at the Niagara Pumphouse tent, and Caroline Caricatures will be at the festival ready to draw great pictures of the whole family. The Ben Show, a renowned busker, will also be doing several performances along Queen Street.
From July to September, multiple restaurants in the Niagara region feature peach dishes, and wineries such as Konzelmann produce a unique peach wine during the season. Dillion’s Distillery in Beamsville also has a locally-sourced Peach Schnapps unique to Ontario, made with fresh Niagara peaches.
This year’s Niagara Peach Festival will take place on August 10 from 10 am in the morning until 5 pm on Queen Street from Victoria Street to King Street. On Sunday, the celebration will continue at St. Vincent de Paul Church.
To finish the weekend off, a harvest dinner called The Shades of Summer will take place on Sunday in Queen Street’s Heritage District, where tables and chairs will be set up. You’ll be able to bring your own decor and food, and live music and entertainment will be provided so you can dance the night away under the stars!
For more information before you attend the festival, visit NiagaraOnTheLake.com.
When: Saturday, August 10
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Queen Street — From Victoria Street to King Street