Badger pride emanated from the heart of Montebello Park on Saturday during Brock Night at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival.
The sold-out VIP experience marked the end of a successful lineup of Homecoming events, bringing alumni from a variety of classes together to reconnect, network and enjoy local eats and Niagara’s wine culture in the comfort of the festival’s Harvest Lounge.
Around 300 tickets were sold for the second annual Brock Night, increasing sales by about 40 per cent over the inaugural year, said Christine Richard, Alumni Relations Officer, Alumni and Student Engagement.
“Over the years we’ve built a lot of momentum for Homecoming weekend overall,” she said. “It has become one of the hot ticket events for Brock alumni. We strive to provide our alumni and their guests with memorable experiences at a great value, and Brock Night at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival is one way we can do that while fostering existing community partnerships.”
With most wineries in the Niagara region having Brock alumni winemakers, or a Brock alumni connection in some form, the idea to host a Homecoming event for alumni at the festival was a natural fit for the University, said Shelley Huxley, Brock’s Director of Alumni Relations.
“We had a prominent CCOVI program and a wonderful festival already taking place, and a number of alumni that were already attending the festival. It’s a great way to highlight Brock’s presence in the community,” she said.
The University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) has had a longstanding relationship with the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, offering interactive and educational seminars as part of its outreach initiatives dating back to 1997.
“The Brock Night event is a great collaboration on Canada’s oldest and largest wine festival that takes place right here in St. Catharines,” Huxley added. “Many of our alumni went to Grape and Wine when they attended Brock University and have fond memories of the festival. It’s those memories that draw them back to the event as alumni and we’re happy to add value to that experience.”
Among the hundreds of alumni in attendance was Tyler Harris (BA ’17), a graduate from the University’s Psychology program celebrating his one year anniversary as a Brock alumnus.
“I came back for Homecoming because there was tremendous potential to relive the moments that I created during my undergraduate career, and to celebrate the people and memories I completed my Brock journey with,” he said.
“The culture and atmosphere here is really captivating. It’s a great opportunity to network with recent and experienced alumni and reconnect with past colleagues and friends.”
Harris described Homecoming as an experience that both accentuated his Brock experience and marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life.
“Brock was instrumental in my growth and development as an individual and professional, and I think it always will be. Homecoming provided me with experiences that made me feel celebrated for my achievements, even as a recent graduate.”
While Homecoming events concluded this past weekend, Brock University will walk the streets of downtown St. Catharines for the annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival Meridian Grande Parade on Sept. 29 to demonstrate its continued involvement in the local community.