17 C
Niagara Falls
Monday, September 25, 2023
Pre-pandemic crowds return to NOTL Icewine Festival
Joy Russell and Lindsay Payton pose at the NOTL Icewine Festival photo booth during its last day running on Sunday. Julia Sacco
The Niagara College Teaching Winery not only assisted in presentations throughout the NOTL Icewine Festival, they also had their own icewine available for tasting. Julia Sacco
Many couples enjoyed a glass of icewine at the fire pits during the NOTL Icewine Festival. Julia Sacco
The Icewine Festival's VIP lounge offered exclusive cocktails for tasting at 2 tokens each. Julia Sacco
Nicole Cerminara of JIN rocks the house during the band's performance at the NOTL Icewine Festival on Sunday. Julia Sacco
Myles Rogers and Nicole Cerminara of JIN enjoyed a seat by the fire before their performance at the NOTL Icewine Festival on Sunday. Julia Sacco
JIN wowed the crowd with their bluesy and powerful jams during the NOTL Icewine Festival on Sunday. Julia Sacco

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival’s return to Old Town this year was an epic comeback, Chamber of Commerce chair Andrew Niven says.

Planning for this year’s festival began in September and with many NOTL wineries returning to pre-pandemic visitor numbers, Niven was optimistic the festivities would draw a crowd.

“We had high hopes for this festival in terms of traffic and visitation and it really did not let us down,” said Niven. 

With new additions including a lesson on icewine history from Andrea Kaiser, an events stage and a designated VIP area (with fire pits and a private cocktail bar), the two weekends saw a turnout around 15 per cent higher than in 2019. 

“We really tried to enhance the festival, even if it’s in a small way,” said Niven.

“We try to do different things every year to not only make it continually different for those who visit every year but to make the whole festival better,” he added.

“The feedback we heard from guests was really great.”

The final day of this year’s festival closed with a stellar performance from the three-piece band J.I.N., who managed to rock the crowd despite the cold and snow, ending the weekend on a high note. 

The festival is over but the Chocolate & Cheese program is being hosted by 20 wineries over four weekends in February. See the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake website for details.

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