Source: The Standard
The town of Lincoln is looking to strengthen one of its biggest money-makers: tourism.
The town is using $25,000 from its Niagara Benchlands Destination Development Fund to support projects from six tourism-based businesses.
In a release, the town said there were 19 eligible applications, which was narrowed down to the final six winners by Lincoln Council, Lincoln staff, and St. Catharines Tourism.
The funds go toward a project each winner is working on, such as new tourism events, expanding existing tourism programming, and developing new tourism products.
The winners were: Cherry Lane Frozen Fruits’ Blossomfest, Creekside Estate Winery’s Creekside Fallidays Festival, Fielding Estate Winery’s Dome Experience, concert renovations at Newark Brewing company, Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery’s Get Wrapped Up event, and E-Bike Tours of the Niagara Benchlands from Vineland Estate Winery.
Most of this year’s winners are wineries and distillers, and Britnie Bazylewski, tourism development officer with the town, said she’s not surprised they won.
“In Lincoln we actually have the largest concentration of craft wineries across the province,” she said. “We’ve now got this emerging group of these incredible artisans in our backyard that sets us apart from Prince Edward County or even Niagara-on-the-Lake, because we’ve got a bit of diversity in the craft beverage sector emerging. It’s awesome. And consumers obviously adore it because now it means that there’s a greater offering for everyone on that list.”
But the applications were open to any tourism-based business within the municipality, Bazylewski said, with each application adjudicated based on merit and need.
The idea for the Niagara Benchlands marketing, and this fund, started in November 2021 in response to businesses struggling coming out of the pandemic.
As Lincoln is made up of smaller areas, such as Vineland, Jordan, and Beamsville, Bazylewski said the idea was to unite them all under one marketing banner to encourage tourism.
“It was this really great way for us collectively as a community to come forward under this new brand identity with new, exciting product from our local partners to showcase and share and champion that story of, you know, come and visit the new Niagara Benchlands,” she said. “We are Niagara’s other natural wonder. So teasing out those experiences around our farm stands and farm stays, our incredible heritage and history of the Lincoln Museum. Or down at Ball’s Falls, for instance, in the Heritage Village down that way.”
The purpose of helping to fund specific projects for each business, Bazylewski said, is to help create numerous stops on the road for people when they visit the area.
Cherry Lane Frozen Fruits’s BlossomFest, for example, is an event Bazylewski said they’d like to help put on the map. She’s hoping it becomes a situation where people look at their calendars, realize it’s nearly May, and remember that the festival is coming up.
“While you’re in (Lincoln), why not stop down at the Beamsville Bakery and see Ben, who does seasonal fritters every Saturday? Like, if you’re going to a winery, you’ve got to stop there,” she said as an example. “While you’re in Beamsville, don’t forget to stop at August, so have a glass of rosé that you just tried at Fielding that you love so much, but with Clayton’s famous meat loaf sandwich. It’s one of those things where we’re trying to help consumers draw those lines and those threads from their usual legacy day trip into something that’s more of an overnight, compelling vacation or travel plan.”
Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton said the Destination Development Fund marks a significant step forward in the town’s commitment to enhancing tourism.
“We are excited to see the benefits that this funding program will bring to our local businesses and community,” she said.
Councillor JD Pachereva, who is chair of the Economic Development Committee, said the winning projects all align with the plan to foster a diverse and sustainable tourism landscape in Lincoln.
“As the Niagara Benchlands tourism destination continues to grow, we are committed to supporting these exciting projects that contribute to the growth and vibrancy of our community,” he said.