Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Haeberle Plaza - 1959

(Click on photo for larger image)
Haeberle Plaza - 1959 - Downtown Niagara Falls. (Courtesy of the Niagara Falls Local History Department.)

Good Morning Niagara Falls!

Good Morning America's Whistle Stop Tour '08 paid a visit to our hometown this morning, broadcasting live from the brink of the Falls.

Chris Cuomo does a segment just feet away from the mighty Niagara

I arrived on the scene at about 5:30am (yikes!) and was able to get a close view of all the mayhem and hoopla that springs from a live television broadcast. Although there were about 500-700 people in attendance, I was able to worm my way closer to the front of all the action in order to be "one of those people in the background." Have you ever watched any of the live morning television news broadcasts like Good Morning America or the Today Show and wondered, who the hell would wake up that early and stand there like an idiot in the background? Your boy Stenz, that's who!

Diane Sawyer and the early morning crowd

Niagara Falls, NY was just one of the many stops on GMA's Whistle-Stop Tour as the train makes its way across the nation. Click here for the official site and for some interesting insight about our hometown. You be the judge as to whether the video is an optimistic view of our city (looking forward?) or if our glass is half empty. Either way you view it, I think any publicity is good publicity.
The entire event this morning was a thrill for many onlookers and celebrity seekers (myself included), but no one had a better time than young JT Robertson. Watch the videos from today's broadcast here and also to see the interview and the special surprise that JT received from ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Very cool.

Ty Pennington gets ready to surprise JT

Even more surprises from the cast of Extreme Makeover Home Edition

Sam Champion in the midst of the crowd and in the mist of Niagara Falls!

Robin Roberts signs autographs and talks to fans

Michael Moloney and Paige Hemmis

Michael Moloney and Paige Hemmis with
a real hometown
Lebowski Achiever, ME!

It was an eventful morning not only for JT and his family, but for everyone in attendance hoping to get a little glimpse of the Hollywood on display here in Niagara Falls. On a personal note, had I known this morning I was going to meet Paige Hemmis, I definitely wouldn't have complained about having to get out of bed so early!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Aquarium to Host Wine Tasting Gala Event

Sniff the nose. Check the legs. Taste some of the finest wines from the Niagara Wine Trail and the Finger Lakes area at the Aquarium of Niagara’s annual fundraiser, Winds, Waves & Wines IX.

Wine tasting, sampling hors d’oeuvres, live music, a silent auction and more are all a part of the gala planned from 6 to 9 p.m. September 18, 2008, at The Conference Center Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls St. Free parking will be available at the Aquarium lot, between Third and Whirlpool streets. Shuttle service, provided by the Niagara State Park Trolley, will run from 5:45 to 9:30 p.m. Parking also is available on city streets and in nearby lots.

The popular Aquarium event will feature Aaron Mentkowski of WKBW Channel 7 as celebrity host. Participants include the Niagara Wine Trail wineries: Niagara Landing, The Winery at Marjim Manor, Eveningside Vineyards, Freedom Run Vineyards, Honeymooon Trail Winery, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, Chiappone Cellars, Leonard Oakes Estate, Warm Lake Estate, Vizcarra Vineyards, Spring Lake Winery and Schulze Vineyards; also Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars, Goose Watch Winery, Heron Hill Winery, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Johnson Estate, Merritt Estate, Penguin Pay, Standing Stone Vineyards, Swedish Hill, Vetter and Wagner vineyards.

Caterers/restaurants include the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Days Inn at the Falls, Muscareil’s Bistro & Dessert Gallery, Niagara CCC Culinary/Pastry Arts program, Starbucks Coffee Co. Niagara and the Conference Center Niagara Falls.

The Rod Nickson Project, sponsored by Turner Construction, and Premier Sound Mobile DJ will provide musical entertainment.

Tickets to the fundraiser automatically enter guests into a drawing for an authentic penguin or sea lion painting. A silent auction could also net guests prizes from Whitenight’s Jewelers, Art Effects Glass, Fichte, Endl & Elmer Eyecare, WELCOME Magazine, Wyland, marinelife artist, and many more.

Tickets for WWW IX are $55 each or $100 a couple. They can be purchased in advance at the Aquarium or at the door that night. For more information or to be included as an event sponsor, call 285-3575, Ext. 204. Sponsors to date are Advantage Flooring & Tile, Business First, Calamar, Empire Building Diagnostics, M&T Bank, Niagara Frontier Publications Weekly Newspapers, Sharp Printing Inc. and the Talking Phone Book.