We're going to continue with our ideas to stimulate Chautauqua County. So far, has any idea grabbed you that you would like to help with? Let's forget being territorial and wanting to keep everything under our own towns. We have to broaden our horizons! I hate to see municipalities, schools and organizations harboring this mentality: "If it's not my idea, it's no good" or "if it's my idea it's going to stay here!" Do we have to have credit for everything we do? What happened to sharing? To giving? Let's look at the bigger picture. We're all guilty. Now let's open our eyes to the possibilities for this winter before it's too late.
Consider: Winter wonderland? Snow golf? Ice sculpture competitions? A county-wide Christmas theme? Horse-drawn sleighs? A giant snowslide for sleds and saucers? Snow fort and snowman competitions for kids? A cross-country skiing race course?
Someone had told me that we bring in $19 million from snowmobiling and I was impressed and put it in my column. Then a couple of days later our paper reported that snowmobiling in New York state had an impact of $868 million! I was so impressed! So I feel we can get more than $19 million if we put our minds to it. What do you think? We have 242 snowmobiling clubs to improve trails, facilities and services.
We have Italian holidays like Columbus Day and the Spanish people have a fest, but how about a German or Polish festival? Maybe in October or September. We could have beer, and possibly micro-breweries could compete for a "best beer" award. We could have German/Polish food, oompa bands, polka music, etc. There could possibly be a shuttle between the campus and the fairgrounds to reduce DWI problems. We could do a Highland Games project, Irish/Scottish festivities like the celebration in August in Amherst.
How about a rodeo with a country music festival? We could have square dancing in one of the barns. Do we have a country music radio station that could promote them?
How about a big fall festival after Silver Creek has their Grape Festival, which could include the whole county? Maybe around Halloween. We could have wine (hot spiced wine to warm you up!), beer, cider and hot cocoa. We could include a pumpkin competition, like the biggest and best jack-o-lantern carving. How about a costume competition by age groups (we could get the old folks out).
We could consider a jazz festival on a county level bigger than Fredonia's and at a different time.
Could we have more races? We could include motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and people.
Now let's turn our attention to historical themes. A lot of famous people have come from our county. We have beautiful mansions. How many museums do we have? Could we feature them? How about some story telling? The story of Horace Greenly is very unusual.
How about human interest war stories? We have one in our family. My brother Tony (teacher) Leone was a navigator in WWII. He was teaching the radio men how to navigate and that's why he wasn't in his seat and didn't get killed in an attack. Six of the crew died outright. Four were on a raft. One died on the raft and was buried at sea. Tony and two others were picked up by an English freighter. Tony had been shot in the knee. After he recovered he was sent to Germany as a Provost Marshall. One day he and one of his men discovered art treasures. He said to his friend, "These are not ours. We have to turn them in." They did.
Years later this young man came to Fredonia, knocked on my mother's door, and introduced himself to my sister Jo. This was the man with my brother, and he said he just had to meet the woman who raised such an honest son. I've always loved that story. I'm sure there are many inspiring stories like this out there. I know the OBSERVER includes records of many of our soldiers, but these are not just records. They are personal.
I was waiting to hear when our group could meet at the Fredonia Village Hall, and there is good news. Mayor Keefe said we can meet in the Conference Room Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. If you are a leader in an organization please come or send a representative. Thank you!
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