Eh-plus Canada Day celebrations
By Matt Day, Niagara Falls Review
Lori Albanese, Community Development Coordinator, for the city of Niagara Falls, is getting ready for the Canada Day Celebrations at Optimist Park and everyone is invited.
This year more than 80 entries will be featured including seven different marching bands, a giant inflatable Mountie that appeared at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, popular children's characters and floats.In honour of the anniversary of the War of 1812, this year's parade marshal will be a representation of Gen. Gordon Drummond, the first Canadian-born officer to command the military and the civil government of Canada.Representatives from Project SHARE will also be present to collect non-perishable food items for the food bank before the parade begins at 10 a.m.
"It's a perfect day for families to spend time together in the park. The kids love it," she said of the Canada Day celebrations.A Canadian Armed Forces flyby is also scheduled at 11:29 a.m. and 11:44 a.m. right before the singing of O Canada.
The focus shifts to the illumination tower near the falls in the evening as live music continues there before the fireworks show.In Fort Erie, Canada Day celebrations begin a couple days earlier.On Friday beginning at 5:30 p.m., the annual Hands Across the Border event is being held where local representatives from both countries meet at the International Boundary Line on the Peace Bridge and embrace each other.
This year's theme relates to the War of 1812 and will feature people in costume and historic flags, but members of the community are invited to do the walk with or without 1812 props.With the handshake at the Fort Erie and Buffalo border, the 26th annual Friendship Festival begins.Flo Odding, manager for this year's three-day festival, said this year's budget was about $250,000 and for the first time in over a decade, a large amount of the money wasn't spent on funding a headlining musical act.
"We would spend up to a third of (funding) for bands, and mostly out of towners would come to that," she said. "This year we've changed and made it more regional and community based."She said the money they are saving is going into day-time attractions such as vendors, Ultimate Air Dogs Canada, the Niagara Region Model Flying Club and various talent shows and children's attractions like the Chalkwalk Competition and tightrope walking lessons from wirewalker Jay Cochrane."Come down, spend a whole day and not a single penny.
We're doing it for the community and we hope they come support the festival."The midway will once again stretch out on the Niagara Parkway beginning June 30 and ending July 2.For those interested in Canada Day fireworks, both Fort Erie's show and Niagara Falls' show will begin at 10 p.m.Fort Erie's will be near the Old Fort and Darlene Everett, secretary for Canada Day Festival, said precautions will be made to make sure technical difficulties don't hinder a Canada Day show which was the case last year."The systems have all been checked over and we have communications in place through Giant FM 91.7 in case of delays due to weather conditions," she said. FRIENDSHIP FESTIVAL EVENTS
• Visit www.friendshipfestival.com
• Friendship Festival runs Saturday, June 30 to Monday, July 2, 2012
• Niagara Native Youth POW WOW (every day)
• Street Stylez presents Bordertown Show Down
• Celtic Concert
• Heritage Arts Legacy Chalkwalk Competition
• Classic Car Show
• All Canadian Pageant
• British Car Club
• Niagara Region Model Flying Club
• Niagara Flag Rugby
• Jay Cochrane demonstrations
• IceDogs Cheerleaders
• Drum Corps and Steel Drums show
NIAGARA FALLS CANADA DAY HIGHLIGHTS
• Parade down Morrison St.
• Cooking demonstrations
• Wild West Show
• Reptile Kingdom
• Canadian Themed Cake
• Optimist Park Carnival
• Fireworks over the falls