Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival

The long-standing classic Niagara tradition of the annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival will take place this weekend. The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) hosts the 36th annual festival from October 8 to 11 at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area in Jordan. This has become a favourite tradition for families and visitors who come from far and wide to partake in the festivities. In addition to the many items available for purchase, everyone can enjoy the incredible beauty of this 19th-century industrial hamlet, set amid the majestic Niagara Escarpment and Twenty Valley. The event is a major fundraiser for the Conservation Authority, with revenues from admission directed to a number of  conservation programs.

     The festival opens on Friday, October 8 and runs through to Monday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $6.00 per adult; children under 14 years of age are free when accompanied by an adult. Friday, October 8 is Seniors Day, with admission only $4.00 for seniors.

     This festival features the exceptional work of many artisans offering unique items for sale. Daily live entertainment, children’s activities and numerous heritage displays will keep visitors engaged. The rich natural and cultural heritage of this conservation area also offers an opportunity to explore the many historical features on site including tours of the Ball family home, the historical Church, a visit through the Grist Mill and a look inside the Blacksmith shop.  

     A number of activities will also take place at the Centre for Conservation including “Northern Owls,” a travelling exhibit from the ROM. The National Film Board film, The Lady and the Owl, featuring Kay McKeever of the Owl Foundation, will be running throughout the day. Wildlife artist Mark Ricker will be painting a new work throughout the entire festival.  He will also be featuring his paintings on feathers among his owl images. Mark graduated from advertising at Algonquin College, Art and Design and multimedia design at Niagara College. Upon graduation, Mark taught at Niagara College until 2001 when he decided to focus his full attention on his art career.  

     There will be free draws for Owl Magazine gift bags, Legend of the Guardians merchandise in conjunction with the Northern Owls exhibit as well as selected prizes awarded each day at 2:00 p.m. There will be an owl art and activities room where visitors of all ages can make an owl arm puppet, puzzles, masks and more! Join in a Scavenger Hunt with prizes and a raffle in conjunction with the next exhibit War on the Lakes 1812-1814. You can enter to win a signed print by noted marine artist Peter Rindlisbacher, or a CD by Ian Bell. Visit the core gallery and learn about the natural and cultural history of Ball’s Falls and the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.  The gift shop will be open and offering snacks and great merchandise at reasonable prices. 

     Again this year, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Foundation will host a raffle with an assortment of great prizes generously donated by the festival artisans, so be sure to visit them in the Big Barn  to purchase your tickets in support this vital fundraising effort.

     Ball’s Falls Conservation Area is located south of Vineland on Regional Road 24. To avoid the traffic congestion along Victoria Ave., visitors are encouraged to use the alternate routes as follows:

From Toronto: Follow QEW Niagara to Exit 64 (Ontario St. Beamsville) Take Ontario St. to Regional Road 81 (King St.) Turn LEFT and follow to Regional Road 24 (Victoria Ave.) Turn RIGHT onto Victoria Ave. and follow to 8th Ave. Turn LEFT onto 8th Ave. then turn LEFT onto 21st St. and LEFT at 7th Ave. to enter Parking Area.

From Niagara Falls/Buffalo: Follow QEW to Exit 55 (Jordan Rd.)Follow Jordan Road to Regional Road 81and follow signs to Ball’s Falls Parking; or access via Hwy 20 to Victoria Ave. Southbound – Follow Directional signs to new park access entrance.

     A courtesy shuttle service from the parking lot into the park area is available for those who wish to use it and visitors will be able to utilize a courtesy parcel checking service that will be conveniently available at the NPCA Information Tent. Handicap parking is available and visitors are reminded that the NO PETS POLICY at Special Events is in effect for the duration of the festival.

     Escarpment Views has been at this festival and gives you a look at the colours of Ball’s Falls in autumn! Free copies of the current Autumn issue are available at the Ball’s Falls Centre for Conservation. Pick one up when you visit the Festival.

     To keep on top of what’s happening all along the Niagara Escarpment, subscribe to Escarpment Views.

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