The town of Welland has much to offer the vacationer to the Niagara region. Separated by two bodies of water — the Welland River and the manmade Welland Canal — the town has long been a thoroughfare of shipping and trade, especially because the Welland Canal forms a link between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. It’s a smaller city — just 50,000 year-round residents — but it’s filled with quaint shops, lovely parks, and fascinating history.
Known as The Rose City, one of Welland’s most delightful claims to fame is its annual Rose Festival, where the town and its inhabitants celebrate themselves and their heritage. Located in Memorial Park, this year’s festival runs from June 11th through June 26th, and it offers something for just about everyone. Here are five reasons to wander over to Welland during the Rose Festival if you’re planning on coming to Niagara this June.
While it’s true that the festival offers so many fun activities it would be worth attending even if there weren’t massive amounts of roses in intoxicating bloom, the first reason to attend the Welland Rose Festival is the roses that will be at the height of their color and aroma throughout Memorial Park. Offering up a perfect opportunity to stop and smell them, if you love flowers of any kind, the roses of Welland are certainly worth a visit.
The kickoff to the festival happens on June 11th, where from 6pm until 11pm that night, three bands play so attendees can dance the night away. A family-friendly event held each year in Market Square, the street dance is free to all, and provides a fun opportunity to enjoy what’s almost always a perfect Saturday night outdoors.
The Coronation Ball
Held Friday, June 17th, the Coronation Ball has evolved from a traditional beauty pageant into a young women’s youth advocacy program for Welland women between the ages of 15 and 21. The duties of the young women who win include civic responsibilities, community service, fundraising for the program, and event planning. Attending the event is a great chance to get a glimpse into the lives and thoughts of some of the area’s finest young women.
The Baby Show
One of the most popular events of the festival is the annual Baby Show. Eligible babies, toddlers, and children, as well as their hopeful parents, all head to Memorial Park on June 18th for a chance to win the coveted titles of Rose Bud King and Rose Bud Queen. The top boys and girls in each age category also win prizes, and all winners are featured in the annual Rose Bud Calendar.
The grand finale for the entire festival is the Grande Parade that will take place this year on June 26th at 1pm. Watch as marching bands, community groups, local businesses, politicians, historical re-enactors, and others parade by in floats, formation, classic cars, and more. Festive, fun, and memorable, the parade is the perfect culmination of a community celebrating itself, its past, its culture, and its future. At the parade’s end, everyone heads to the Welland Arena for a special Art Fair and Drum Competition that last from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Form the parade to the flowers, the Welland Rose Festival is a one-of-a-kind event that every visitor to the Niagara region should take advantage of.