Harvest Festival planned for September in Amherstburg

The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival may not be returning this year but the weekend of Sept. 9-11 will still be busy in Amherstburg.

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) announced the development of a new, regional Harvest Festival scheduled for the grounds of Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada.

According to a press release sent out by the ACOC late in the day Tuesday after the April 13 print edition of the RTT had gone to press, the Harvest Festival is described as an event that will celebrate “our rich agricultural heritage and local food and drink producers” and “will promote a growing industry of locally grown food, craft beer, fruit and grape wines, distilleries and thoughtfully resourced restaurants.”

“The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce is to be commended for stepping forward and creating a Windsor Essex Harvest Festival to celebrate local food and drink. This builds upon our culinary tourism strategy and provides a perfect setting on the banks of Fort Malden to showcase the best our region has to offer from products grown and/or produced in our own backyard,” says Gordon Orr; CEO Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) in that release.

“We believe that holding premier events such as the Harvest Fest, allows us to celebrate the efforts of all local, engaged businesses within our region; that’s what makes Windsor Essex incredibly special!” comments ACOC president Tim Ternosky.

“Our region is blessed with a rich culture of place, source, people and product. Why not recognize the producers who work hard every day to bring local fare to the table?” adds event chairperson Aldo DiCarlo.

(Image special to the RTT)

(Image special to the RTT)

DiCarlo told the River Town Times that he is not acting as mayor when working on the event, but rather as a citizen of Amherstburg. It is not currently a town-event, said DiCarlo, but one that is regional in focus but stated they may go to town council for endorsement.

“We couldn’t be any more sincere when we say this isn’t a town event, but a regional one,” said DiCarlo.

The idea for the event arose shortly after it was publicized that this year’s wine festival was cancelled, said DiCarlo. He heard from many people that were upset over the wine festival’s cancellation and since he was upset also that it had to be cancelled this year, “it got my mind racing of what we can do” to fill the void.

DiCarlo said the ACOC “was kind enough to hear me out” and they agreed to take on the project.

“We’ve sat down a few times,” he said. “We’ve partnered with TWEPI and Parks Canada.”

EPIC wineries have also been contacted, he said, but emphasized this is not another version of the wine festival but rather something that is “much different.

“It’s not intended to be a replacement for (the wine festival),” said DiCarlo. “We saw a void and we are filling the void. We are not looking to replace the wine festival.”

The event will be about “anything and everything local” and DiCarlo said after some research was done, the weekend that was to be the wine festival’s was the ideal option. Organizers also plan to have local entertainment this weekend, as well.

“I am hopeful we can pull from the sheer volume of volunteers people keep telling me we have in Amherstburg,” said DiCarlo.

Whether the event returns if the wine festival comes back remains to be seen, DiCarlo added. That situation will play out if and when the wine festival is able to return.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/WeHarvestFest.

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