I’m out-of-town this weekend, taking a long-awaited and much-anticipated writing retreat for mama. I can hardly wait to have next to no schedule to keep and zero interruption. Of course, there’s always something to miss out on when you leave this beautiful part of Ontario behind, even for a couple of days. If I were you, here’s what I’d do for some Niagara weekend family fun.
On Sunday, Gathering Niagara is hosting an outdoor event called Ripe & Juicy Market from 11-6 at Stratus Vineyards. Gathering Niagara is a run by a local one-woman dynamo who brings some of the most delicious and delightful offerings in the region together for your enjoyment. The day includes a host of local food offerings with both a market and a variety of food trucks, plus several guest chefs and local produce vendors. Enjoy local crafts and treats from artisans on hand. There are also workshops and seminars on offer for adults, fabulous live music AND they will be broadcasting the World Cup game, so there’s really no reason to miss out.
You can find a full list of the details and vendors at the Gathering Niagara website.
We caught the tail end of the last Gathering Niagara event earlier this month; their Earth & Sky Music Market at Chateau des Charmes. We dropped by with the kids (ages 8, 10, and 20 months) after we picked the older monkeys up from day camp. The music was amazing, and the baby started grooving before the band was even in sight. The food offerings were delicious, the wine impeccable, and the vendors carefully curated so there was something for each taste. I was sad that we didn’t have more time to soak it all in – we got there just before the event wrapped up.
Gathering Niagara has a real knack for creating low-key events that are a sensory delight for all ages. Our kids LOVE eating outside, and our family loves a great dance party. The Ripe & Juicy Market on Sunday first offers a sneak peek at the upcoming Niagara Jazz Festival (our baby ADORES jazz) and then local band Theatre Crisp hits the stage. Their funky, soulful beats will make it impossible to stay in your seat.
So, even though I’m going to have my own fabulous weekend, I’m going to need you to roll on over to the Ripe & Juicy Market with your beautiful kids, pick a nice place to lounge and enjoy a delicious meal and a glass of wine, find a sunny spot to kick off your shoes and groove, and then load up with treats and unbearably fresh and delicious local produce to take home, okay?
You’ll thank me for this tip when your kids are sweaty and sleepy and drifting off towards a deep, berry-stained sleep with their toes still tapping to an imaginary beat.