On Saturday, September 24th the community lined Downtown streets for the return of the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival Grande Parade. Onlookers enjoyed an incredible display of 70 fantastic entries, the largest Grande Parade to date for its 70th Anniversary!
Ending the parade was the Reminisce Mas Float – a Carribbean-themed fan favourite that made a much anticipated return in honour of the late Ashborn Hinds who started the float back in 1992. You can read more about the float and story in an article written here. The float was in collaboration with Black Owned 905.
“It was a dream of mine having a float in the Niagara Grape and Wine parade representing my culture and my organization. I knew it was going to happen I just wasn’t sure how to execute it” says Natasha Bell, founder of Black Owned 905. “After connecting with Reminisce Mas I knew that they were the missing piece to the puzzle. With the support of the Downtown Association we were able to bring this dream back to reality.”
A great crowd turned out with party-goers stopping by through out the day. Guests danced late into the night with the Power of Music Alliance DJ and enjoyed free face painting, a special James Street X Black Owned 905 vendor market, and Jamaican Patty Shack Food Truck.
Mazie Macfarlane of Cozy Bones and co-coordinator of the James Street Market says “This after party is one that I will never forget, and I am so incredibly proud to have helped organize it. It’s events like this that remind us of how beautiful our Downtown St. Catharines community really is!”
Businesses throughout Downtown extended their patios, provided Grape & Wine specials and entertainment including The Mansion House‘s annual Grape & Wine Parking Lot Party featuring performances by LMT Connection and Figure Four.
It’s always so great to see so many people from Niagara and outside the region coming out and enjoying Downtown. “Last weekend we had a family visit our store from Toronto who were impressed with the inclusive and diverse activities in our Downtown,” said Mike McKenna, Co-Founder of Little Chief & Co. “It was great to see the Grand Parade return to its glory and my personal favourite Caribbean float to close out the Parade!”
It was certainly a GRAPE day Downtown. Planning for next year is already under way.