Friday, September 18, 2009

Hawk Migration receives ideal weather conditions...

We are looking forward to a great migration this weekend. We reprint and link to Steve Pollock of the Toledo Blade for his article on this phenomenon, and a photo by Len Strahl:

Article published September 16, 2007:

Weather conditions ideal for annual hawk migration

..."The setup is about as good as it gets for the next several days, given the vagaries of nature, for a "big day" in the migration of hawks around the northwest corner of Lake Erie.
That corner marks a natural funnel for tens of thousands of hawks and other birds of prey in the annual autumn southbound migration to warmer climes. Traditionally major movements of birds of prey, or raptors, occur in mid September on the back side of a cold front, such as the region is experiencing this weekend.".....

On Sept. 17, 1998, a record of nearly 517,000 hawks soared past two sites, and on Sept. 18, 2004, nearly 131,000 hawks and other raptors glided overhead. Such noteworthy passages have put the region on the ornithological map."...


See the entire article online:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shores of Erie International Wine Festival breaks their attendance record

Posted By Ron Giofu/The Amherstburg Echo
Posted 11 hours ago
AMHERSTBURG – The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival has completed a highly successful fifth anniversary celebration.
The four-day festival wrapped up Sunday evening and when all was said and done, approximately 20,000 had passed through the gates of Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada. To say organizers were pleased, it was an understatement.
“We were hoping for that number and we are overjoyed with that number especially with the way the economy is,” said wine festival committee chair Karen Gyorgy. “We are very, very happy.”
Gyorgy attributed the success to the venue, the music, the volunteers and the sponsors. She said they offered something for everyone and that she received numerous compliments about how helpful volunteers were. Government grants were also a big part of their success as it allowed them to bring in top level entertainment.
“People know we’re trying to do a quality event,” said Gyorgy.
Limiting the number of tickets per night helped, she believed, as they tried to lessen the “shoulder to shoulder” type crowds that packed in the Fort, especially on Saturday night.
“It’s not about packing people in here,” said Gyorgy. “It’s about quality, not quantity. It’s about the quality of the event.”
The event featured such music as Bedouin Soundlash, Serena Ryder and Kathleen Edwards, just to name a few. Demo tents, a winemakers pavilion, 12 local wineries and 23 restaurants helped make the event the success that it was.
Gyorgy said the 20,000 people helps showcase the region as they also visit other establishments in the area. There were reports of people from Toronto, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, London, Chatham and Collingwood coming into Amherstburg and enjoying the festival.
“It brought 20,000 people to our region. It’s our mandate and I believe we accomplished it,” said Gyorgy.
The shuttle service worked well, she said, and the House of Shalom Youth Centre were an enormous help with maintenance and cleanup. The House of Shalom cashes in the empty wine bottles as a fundraiser.}

“I can’t give enough credit to the House of Shalom,” said Gyorgy. “They are beyond belief. They are great. I can’t say enough about the House of Shalom.”
Plans for 2010 will get underway very shortly, if not already, but Gyorgy said there are no plans for expansion. They may look to do new things within the festival and help keep it fresh and lively.
“It’s all about the wine,” she said.
Gordon Orr, managing director of the Windsor-Essex County & Pelee Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, noted that the wine festival is the “perfect blend” of the region’s wine and food.
“We’re really celebrating the bounty of the region,” he said during Thursday night’s opening ceremonies.
Mayor Wayne Hurst said that the event has evolved from being an event to a “happening.” He encouraged patrons to walk through the downtown and enjoy what Amherstburg has to offer. Town council voted Monday night to send a letter of congratulations to the wine festival committee for their work in staging a successful event.
Essex County Warden Nelson Santos offered his congratulations to the municipality and the organizing committee, as did Essex MP Jeff Watson and Essex MPP Bruce Crozier.
“This is one of the premier events in the Province of Ontario,” said Crozier. “That isn’t by accident. I’m proud when I go east of here to Toronto and talk about one of the greatest wine regions in the province right here in Essex County.”
Article ID# 1752556

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shores of Erie International Wine Festival to celebrate their fifth anniversary

we reprint this from the Amherstburg Echo:
Friday night fireworks added to this year's festival
Posted By Ron Giofu/The Amherstburg Echo
AMHERSTBURG – The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival celebrates their fifth anniversary this weekend with a full slate of wine, food, entertainment and fun.
The festival opens Thursday, September 10 and following the opening ceremonies, the evening’s entertainment will be Justin Nozuka starting at 5:45 p.m. followed by The Stills at 7:15 p.m. with Bedouin Soundclash closing the evening out starting at 8:45 p.m. Festival administrator Kelly O’Rourke believes that night will appeal to people with different musical tastes.
“That will be a really cool night,” said O’Rourke.
O’Rourke noted that thanks to a grant from Celebrate Ontario, the wine festival has been able to secure more top flight entertainment. That includes Serena Ryder on Friday night and Kathleen Edwards on Sunday afternoon. All the featured entertainment will be on the main stage, but, like last year, there will be a second stage also located on the Fort Malden National Historic Site grounds.
As part of their fifth annual celebrations, there will be fireworks on Friday night at roughly 10 p.m. People and entire families are encouraged to enjoy them, and those with families who don’t or can’t access the Fort grounds invited to watch them from Navy Yard Park.
“Bring your family down to watch. Walk through the downtown when it’s vibrant and busy. It’s so cool,” said O’Rourke.
O’Rourke pointed out that once again this year there will be the cooking demonstrations put on by chefs and master chefs Saturday and Sunday with the demonstrations also including samples for the audience and the recipes so people can try them at home. Also on Saturday and Sunday, there will be “The Four Corners of the Wine World” which attempts to give people an appreciation of wine through education. Those interactive presentations will be ongoing for both days. Those presentations are free once inside the Fort grounds.
“If you are a novice, you will learn right away,” said O’Rourke. “If you are an experienced wine lover, you’ll pick up some tips.”
New this year is a shuttle service, which runs from the former General Chemical property on Sandwich St. North to Fort Malden. O’Rourke said the ride takes roughly 3 ½ minutes and runs throughout the festival, right up until 30 minutes after last call.
“We want to take the hassle out of finding a parking spot,” she said.
The House of Shalom Youth Centre will help by providing set up, maintenance and cleanup at Fort Malden.
Also this year, the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival teams with the Sir Winston Churchill Chapter IODE Antique Show with the antique show being held nearby in the General Amherst High School gymnasium. Admission to that is $5 and runs Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“It’s a really good compliment to our festival,” said O’Rourke.
There are 12 local wineries and 24 area restaurants that will be participating in this year’s wine festival with some restaurants returning from last year and some new ones. O’Rourke said everyone will get a wine glass to use as they enter the grounds thanks to a TD Friends of the Environment grant. People are asked not to bring outside glass in.
Hours of the festival are 5-10 p.m. both Thursday and Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 for Thursday night in advance and $15 in advance for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A three-day pass, available only at the wine festival office in the Gordon House, is $40 and good for Friday through Sunday. All tickets are $5 more at the gate. Tickets are available at the Gordon House, any United Communities Credit Union or ScotiaBank locations throughout Essex County. There were still tickets available for all nights, as of this past Thursday afternoon.