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Join in the Fun at the Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival

We have experienced some wide swings in weather so far this winter, but regardless of the weather we are committed to a huge celebration of winter fun this month. The annual Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival will be held February 14-16 at Lakeside Park in Mayville. Organized by an outstanding team of volunteers with our Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce, this year’s event has something for everyone on the docket.

The centerpiece of the festival is often an intricate ice castle built with blocks of ice harvested from Chautauqua Lake. With no ice on the lake this year that’s not possible, but the creative folks in the Mayville region are instead constructing a SNOW castle this time! You can enjoy it in its finished form starting with the opening ceremony at 6pm, Friday, February 14.

Immediately after the opening, the Queen of Hearts Ice Ball will be held inside the large, heated tent at Lakeside Park. Black Widow will provide the live music. Tickets are just $5 per person and it will be a great night of music and dancing, along with a beer and wine cash bar, food trucks, and lots of fun! You must be 21 and have proper ID to purchase alcohol. Tickets for the Queen of Hearts Ice Ball will be available at the door, or you can pre-pay online through the Chamber’s event calendar.

Even more great Festival events are on tap for Saturday including carnival games, activities, crafts, horse drawn carriage rides, edible snowman making for kids, a Lego® creation contest, the popular Polar Plunge at noon to benefit FeedMore WNY, the Great Alphabet Scavenger Hunt, a Pet Parade at 3pm (all leashed pets are welcome), a Chili Cook-Off from3-5pm, a snowball throwing contest, and a grand fireworks display at 8pm. Sunday will feature the Winter Festival 5K run at 10am, a snowman building contest, and more. Food trucks and the beer and wine tent will be available throughout the event. Volunteers are still needed to assist. If you want to help please call or email Jacquelyn Sasso, Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber Coordinator, at 366-6200 or jsasso@chautauquachamber.org.

At the same time, Chautauqua County’s newest winter celebration will be underway in Celoron as the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel. It’s second annual Fire & Ice Celebration will be held evenings February 13-15. This adult-centered event includes music, food, martini luges, fireworks, and more than 20,000 pounds of meticulously carved ice sculptures on display. Tickets are $25 per person and a portion of the proceeds benefits the Child Advocacy Program in Chautauqua County. For more information or to buy tickets contact the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel at (716) 489-2800.

Business After Hours at EBC West Feb. 18

Join the Chautauqua County and Fredonia Community Chambers of Commerce for an Experience Chautauqua Business After Hours networking event, Tuesday, February 18 at EBC West, 34 West Main Street, Fredonia. This great event has become something of a tradition in recent years, and now there’s a new twist. Beginning this year, the Chamber invites our local business members to send two representatives to our Business After Hours events for free – covered by the cost of the your membership. Pre-registration is required for free attendance. Additional employees can attend at a cost of $13 per person, and non-members and walk-ins will pay $16 per person.

The Chamber’s Business After Hours series is held at a variety of locations all over the county throughout the year, and each includes appetizers, a cash bar, and door prizes. The event at EBC West is sponsored by DFT Communications, OBSERVER, and The Post-Journal. Register now to attend this great event by calling the Chamber at (716) 366-6200 or through our online calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.

You’re Great at Voting, Now Make Sure You Count!

Area residents pulled together in an extraordinary way to propel Fredonia into the winning position for Season 5 of Small Business Revolution. We are still pulling together to keep the National Comedy Center at the top of the vote count for USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards for Best New Museum. Remember to vote every day in the USA Today poll through noon, February 17.

But we also have an important opportunity to make sure we are heard every day. The US Census will be conducted this year. The census is required by our Constitution, and every individual should be counted. This nationwide head count is vital to our county, our cities, and our governmental representation. Government programs rely on census figures to fund programs that maintain and improve our highways, fund schools, health clinics, and more. The census count also determines how legislative districts will be redrawn, and the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives.

The Census Bureau considers Chautauqua County a “hard-to-count” area. That designation is based on numerous factors including renter occupied housing, multi-family housing units, the poverty level, linguistic barriers, and factors including lack of access to telephone and internet service. Our largely rural county, with a couple of pockets of small urban areas, fits some of that criteria. That’s why, as we have experienced a declining population for some time now, it is more important than ever that we count every single person in this year’s census.

This year’s count will take place mostly online. In mid-March every household will receive a postcard in the mail asking them to respond online to the 2020 Census. Failure to respond will result in a couple of follow-up mailings, and eventually in a house to house canvass by Census workers. You will not be asked to provide any personal information such as Social Security or bank numbers. You will be asked simple questions about the age, sex, and number of people in your home, including children. All information collected by the Census is secure and protected by law. Answers are used to produce statistics only and cannot be used against you in any way by any government agency or organization. Please watch for your Census notification coming in March and respond quickly online. It’s fast, easy, and makes a world of difference for our communities when we get everyone counted.

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