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May. 11, 2021 | Tuesday
Local News
Second weekend of Icewine Village sees a lot more traffic
Laura Murray and Jacquelin Lancaster serve up icewine. (Eunice Tang/Special)

The second week of Niagara-on-the-Lake saw a significant increase in the number of visitors compared to last year.

The event is put together by the chamber of commerce and a committee of representatives from wineries, restaurants and accommodations.

“This year’s Icewine Festival was one of the most challenging in the 24 years the event has been presented, simply due to the extreme weather conditions,” said Janice Thomson, the executive director of the chamber of commerce. However, it didn’t stop people from coming to the event.

Attendance for the first weekend was lower, at about a third of usual numbers. Almost 5,000 Icewine samples were served along with 2,300 food samples from Signature Kitchen chefs.

According to Thomson, the event’s attendance for the second weekend exceeded last year, with double the number of Icewine servings and 25 per cent more food samples. Warmer weather played a role in the increased numbers, Thomson said.

“Usually, the first weekend would have 15, 000 visitors. On the second weekend, it would be 5,000,” said Thomson. “This year was exactly the opposite. 5,000 came on the first weekend and 15,000 on the second weekend. These numbers are calculated based on the sale of glassware and, obviously, could not be an exact count.”

This year was also the first time the chamber organized two weekends focused solely on Icewine.

“Previously, the second weekend included craft beer, cider and VQA red and white wines in addition to Icewine. As the original Icewine Festival and the only Festival that retains the focus on Icewine only, it was felt that offering two weekends with the same format would be beneficial. Craft beer and cider will be featured in separate events later this year,” said Thomson.

The event mainly attracts couples and small groups travelling together.

“The two signature events that were held on the Friday nights during the Festival (Sparkle and Ice gala on Jan. 18 and White on Ice dinner on Jan. 25) were both sold-out events, with 40 per cent of guests travelling from the US.”

The costs of producing the event exceed $200,000, according to Thomson, and visitors spend over six million dollars during the festival.