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Creating a sense of place

What does it take to create a destination? Will a single attraction, or even a group of attractions be enough? Not likely. It also takes a strong business community to create a visitor experience that not only makes people want to visit but want to return.

Here in Chautauqua County, we are incredibly fortunate to have both: an outstanding variety and number of attractions and some extraordinary local restaurants and retailers. In the travel and development worlds some refer to this as “placemaking.” What it means in simple terms is that there are exciting and interesting things to see and do, as well as a solid core of local businesses each with their own personality that round out the experience for visitors.

As we are just gliding through some large and well-known events in Chautauqua County, we can see firsthand how each of them makes a difference in our communities. The annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival returned this year for the first time since 2019, drawing crowds to a variety of venues for comedy shows, movies, block parties, and more. In addition, the annual Gerry Rodeo was back in full swing featuring some outstanding showmanship, and some of the best barbecue to be found. While they are very different types of events, both spanned multiple days and both brough people to our county from near and far.

But what if I told you these experiences are not just for outsiders? And what if I told you that you didn’t have to wait for a festival or special event to find all of the great things to see and do in Chautauqua County? It’s true. The same people who visited to attend the Gerry Rodeo also dined in local restaurants while they were here, and the people who visited the Comedy Festival also made purchases at local shops and boutiques while they were here. As a resident of Chautauqua County, you can have those experiences every day.

The Chamber of Commerce is involved in organizing a number of events at the community level year-round. These events include Jamestown Cruise-In which is coming up Friday August 12 in downtown Jamestown, First Friday in Westfield which happens the first Friday of each month during the summer, and the Mayville Winter Festival which occurs each Presidents Day Weekend in February. Those events are designed to help bring people into our communities and to support nearby local businesses.

Those local businesses that play a supporting role in festivals and events are here year-round. We have numerous coffee shops, lunch spots, fine dining options, and small shops that offer everything from books to sweatshirts to home goods and more. These are places we can enjoy any time. We don’t have to wait until First Friday to go to dinner in Westfield. We don’t have to wait until Cruise-In to have a great meal in downtown Jamestown. We don’t have to wait until any of the amazing events in any of our communities – from Dunkirk to Fredonia to Mayville to Silver Creek – to enjoy the dining and shopping right here in our own backyard.

Placemaking may sound like jargon, but it really speaks to the feeling we get about this incredible place we call home. Any time is a good time to explore all the exceptional community assets right here in Chautauqua County. If you’re looking for local businesses or attractions, visit www.chautauquachamber.org or www.tourchautauqua.com. You’ll find more to do than you have time for.

JAMESTOWN CRUISE-IN IS

AUGUST 12

The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce is once again working with Der Kobblers – a local auto enthusiasts club – to present Jamestown Cruise-In. Now in its 29th year, Cruise-In will be held from 5-8pm along Third Street in Downtown Jamestown between Washington and Spring Streets and spanning the side streets between Second and Fourth. You can enjoy cool and classic vehicles, live music from In Crowd, and food from local restaurants and from the Babe Ruth World Series vendor tent.

Stop and shop at local businesses that will offer extended hours for this event, and then stay late for even more happening downtown as the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra presents a first ever event at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts with a musical tribute to Aretha Franklin or enjoy the third night of the Whirlybird Music & Arts Festival at several downtown locations.

Jamestown Cruise-In is sponsored by Cummins, AfterCare Nursing Services, Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Producto Corporation, Shults Auto Group, Cattaraugus County Bank, Dot’s Gift Boutique, Elegant Edibles Catering, LaBella Associates, Lafayette Corners, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, and Media One Radio Group. Drivers that want to participate can register online now through the Chamber’s web events calendar for just $10 per vehicle or can drive in and pay at the entrance at Third and Spring Streets between 3-5pm the day of the event.

HOPS AND POPS IS SEPTEMBER 15

The Dunkirk and Fredonia Community Chambers of Commerce proudly present Hops and Pops, a great evening of beer and wine tastings, to be held Thursday, September 15 at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 30 Lake Shore Drive East in Dunkirk.

Enjoy local wines, beers and appetizers! Samples will be available, and you can purchase by the bottle or the case while you are there. In addition, there will be five $100 prize drawings throughout the evening for a total of $500 – plus additional raffles and giveaways.

The cost is $15 per person or two for $25. Proceeds help support the scholarship funds for the Dunkirk and Fredonia Community Chambers of Commerce. Hops and Pops is sponsored by Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Farrell Roofing, and LaBella Associates. Buy tickets through the Chamber’s web calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org or call the Chamber at (716) 366-6200 or (716) 484-1101 for the ticket location nearest to you.

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