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Monday, August 23, 2010

Chautauqua County Fair gets nod as one of top ten in the nation

The Chautauqua County Fair is one of Top 10 "great places for blue-ribbon county fairs" according to

"New York and New England farmers started fairs as a way to share agricultural knowledge. (Chautauqua County's), which runs in late July, is a classic, with flags, banners and a sense of tradition," say Drake Hokanson and Carol Kratz, authors of Purebred and Homegrown: America's County Fairs.
For two centuries, farmers and fun seekers have celebrated county fairs with games, food and livestock shows, Kratz notes while recommending "a visit to the homey livestock barns" the Chautauqua County Fair offers.
"It is certainly an honor to be recognized for the hard work all our fair volunteers put forth to present a good agricultural show and an entertaining event to the public," said current volunteer fair board member and Association President Lon Robinson.
The Chautauqua County Agricultural and Fair Association is a private, non-profit corporation that owns and operates the county fairgrounds.
"The fairgrounds are about 50 miles southwest of Buffalo," the story notes and the authors suggest visitors get a meal from "Santillo's Italian sausage stand with its fresh-grilled onions and green peppers."
This year's fair ran July 26 August 1 and had a 3 percent increase in attendance revenue with no increases in ticket or parking prices over the past several years.
"The weather was perfect and fairgoers really enjoyed everything the fair offers," Robinson said.
Other fairs named in the list of the top ten are held in Tillamook, Oregon; Spencer, Iowa; Viroqua, Wisconsin; Adams, Massachusetts; Elberton, Georgia; Buffalo, Wyoming; Merced, California; Delta Junction, Alaska; and Connersville, Indiana.
Hokanson said that fair boards and exhibitors annually "strut their stuff to show what they've been working on for the past year"
"It's where neighbors meet neighbors," Kratz says. "They come together that week and have a lot of catching up to do."
"Farm machinery isn't part of most fairs anymore," noted Kratz, but there is still a big display of both large farm and smaller yard and garden equipment each year at the Chautauqua County Fair.
Noted Robinson, "Local vendors who participate in the fair know they are getting exposure to 60,000 people in just 7 days. That's a pretty compelling reason to be there."
County fairs reflect "the local culture" say the book's authors and Chautauqua County's is now nationally known as one of the best at doing that.

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Light the Lakes Fireworks extravaganza set for Sept. 5

MAYVILLE?- Celebrate the spectacular 3rd Annual Light the Lakes on Sept. 5 as multiple locations around Chautauqua Lake take part in an explosion of color and noise and blast off at 9:31 p.m. in one of the largest fireworks displays in North America.
"Since Light the Lakes was founded in 2008, it has been a mission to work together with communities to make Chautauqua County a premier tourist destination," said Dan Dalpra, Light the Lakes founder. "What started as an idea as an end of summer celebration has now grown into a 250,000 spectator event showcasing our area and its beautiful communities that tourists come back to each year. There is no other place on earth visitors can come to and experience an event of this caliber," continued Dalpra.
The 3rd Annual Light the Lakes will take place during Labor Day weekend with the big "take-off" on Sunday (Sept. 5). Highlights include: 13th Annual Findley Lake Harvest Festival, a special performance from Boogie Wonder Band on the Floating Stage, Bemus Point, and air communication with special event pilot, Lou Nalbone, Jamestown Aviation Company.
At 9:14 p.m. the lighting of the flares for the Ring of Fire will begin, followed by the launching of sky lanterns at 9:21 p.m. At 9:31 p.m. the spectacular lighting of the Chautauqua Sky begins. At each "take-off" location the fireworks will run simultaneously to a specially programmed music soundtrack aired exclusively on Media One Group radio station SE93 (93.3 FM).
Locations participating in this year's Light the Lakes are: Bemus Point; Findley Lake; Lakewood; Mayville; Westfield/Barcelona; and the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena laser light show. There will also be additional fireworks on the Bemus Point-Stow Ferry; I-86 Overlook; and at Long Point.
Light the Lakes is sponsored by Bemus Bay Pops; Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce; Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau; County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency; Chautauqua County Planning & Development Funding; Findley Lake Chamber of Commerce; Media One Group (WJTN/SE93/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX/WREO); WGRZ-TV and WICU-TV.
For full details and a complete list of community events visit

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Chautauqua County Cuisine

Dear Friends of the Summer Wind,

Come join us for a night of tasty adventures. We will having our 2nd Annual Chautauqua County Cuisine Cruise on Tuesday August 24 from 7 - 9:30. Emerald City will be providing the entertainment. 3C's Catering will prepare dinner from locally raised produce and meats selected from local farms. Locally produced wines and beers are also available for purchase to compliment your dinner. Come explore the fruits of labor from Western New York!!!

Check online for a printable brochure and consult the online calendar for cruise options.

Celoron office is open Monday through Saturday from 9am until the last public cruise leaves and on Sundays from 10am until the last public cruise leaves.

Check out our FACEBOOK page for additional information.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Wind 2nd Annual Beer Tasting

Dear Friends of the Summer Wind,

Come join us for a night of tasty adventures. We will having our 2nd Annual Beer Tasting & Food Pairing Cruise on Tuesday August 17 from 7 - 9:30. Emerald City will be providing the entertainment. Various beers will be provided with the appetizers, entree and dessert. There is no better way to enjoy Chautauqua Lake than this!!!

Check online for a printable brochure and consult the online calendar for cruise options.

Celoron office is open Monday through Saturday from 9am until the last public cruise leaves and on Sundays from 10am until the last public cruise leaves.

Check out our FACEBOOK page for additional information.

For more information on Chautauqua Lake Real Estate & Living visit:

Monday, August 09, 2010

Burns To Visit Chautauqua

Acclaimed Historian To Return For Two Talks This Week

By Dave Emke,

CHAUTAUQUA - When Thomas Jefferson spoke of the pursuit of happiness, documentarian Ken Burns says, it was places such as Chautauqua Institution he had in mind.

Burns will return to Chautauqua, a place he said he fell in love with immediately upon entering its grounds, for a second consecutive year this week.

''When I drove through the gates last year for what turned out to be about a 20-hour visit, I think it was within about 50 feet that I 'got it,''' Burns said in a recent interview with The Post-Journal. ''A lot of Americans assume that the 'pursuit of happiness' means a pursuit of objects in a marketplace of things. In fact, what (Jefferson) meant was a lifelong learning and the things that made our spirits better, and our minds better, and our hearts better - that's what Chautauqua does.''


In a career that has spanned three decades, Burns has been nominated for two Academy Awards and won seven Emmy Awards. His epic PBS documentaries ''The Civil War,'' ''Baseball,'' ''Jazz'' and ''The National Parks'' are among the most well-known and critically acclaimed ever made.

Burns said that with the exception of baseball - a topic he quips he ''thought he knew something about'' before he began his documentary - the subjects he has featured have been new to him when he began. By tackling subjects that he hasn't already considered himself an expert in, he said, he attempts to keep the documentary from becoming a chore for viewers.

''Too often, history - and particularly documentaries - has been homework for people,'' Burns said. ''There's a big difference between saying, 'This is what I think you should know,' and 'Hey, let me share with you what I've just discovered.' The latter has been my objective for the last 30 years.''


To fully describe what goes into making one of his several-part mini-series documentaries, Burns said it would take years.

To put the process into a nutshell, though, he said it involves simply delving into as much of the history as is humanly possible and letting the documentary come together as organically as possible.

''Usually, when we are doing our filming, we never even know what our scripts will look like,'' Burns said. ''Conversely, when writing the scripts, we're not saying, 'Gee, I wonder if there are any pictures for this.' We write the story anyway, because it's a good story.''

An incredible amount of diverse raw material is gathered during the process, Burns said, and it is in the editing process where the film in truly made. And while the documentaries Burns has created have been up to 18 hours in length, that is still nowhere near enough time to share ever bit of information about any topic.

''No amount of good interviews, no amount of rare and never-before-seen archives, no amount of great writing can replace the kind of arduous and sometimes painful decision-making that takes place as we form the stories and share them with the audience when it's all done,'' he said.


Burns said he gives between 20 or 30 formal talks, such as those he will be giving at Chautauqua this week, each year.

He is currently on a national tour to promote an update of his ''Baseball'' series, called ''The 10th Inning.'' It picks up where the last documentary left off, at the end of the 1992 season.

In his two talks at Chautauqua this week, Burns said he will focus on the Week 7 theme of Sacred Spaces. He will speak about the spaces he has focused upon in his documentaries over the course of his three decades of sharing history with the American public.

While in Chautauqua for a longer period of time than he was here last year, he said, he will also relish the opportunity to enjoy more of what the Institution has to offer.

''I will be bringing part of my young family with me, and being able to spend more than just that abbreviated 20-or-so hours that I was there the last time,'' he said. ''I'm looking forward to having some time to just drink in the whole Chautauqua experience.''

Ken Burns will speak on the lecture platform in the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater at 10:45 a.m. today and again in a special ''Evening With ...'' session at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday. For information about tickets, visit, call 357-6250, or visit the Chautauqua Institution Box Office.

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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Cross Roads Market attracting regional visitors

WESTFIELD - The Cross Roads Farm and Craft Market in Westfield is open again for its thirteenth season. Cross Roads draws thousands of regional tourists and locals each year to provide a powerful marketing tool for the county as well as drawing much needed revenue to other area businesses. This year has shown a lot of promise for the Cross Roads Market and it is becoming a new shopping alternative for families in the area.

The Cross Roads Market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the months of May to December. The market is also open during Memorial Day, Labor Day and Black Friday.
For the past two years, families across the country have been embracing the "stay-cation" and "buy local" movements.
Chautauqua County's economy, which is driven significantly by tourism from visitors outside the area, has seen a decline in traffic as a whole. Even the county's local wineries and bed and breakfasts have seen a reduction in numbers because people don't want to travel as far from home to enjoy their recreational time due to rising gas costs. The Cross Roads Market in Westfield, however, has not been affected by this change in traveling climate.
"People still want to visit us and continue to make us a part of their summer travel plans," said Mark Pouthier, Manager of the Cross Roads Market. "We offer unique things you can't find anywhere else. The handmade goods you can buy here are quality items that our customers have shown they are willing to travel for," he said.
The market hosts over 30 unique shops featuring woodwork, wine, cheeses, candles and more. Cross Roads has become known as a 'mall-ternative' to many of their regular customers and provides a breath of fresh air from the clustered, commercial malls and shopping centers people are accustomed to.
"We have even begun incorporating events into the regular Cross Roads schedule," said Pouthier, "and every year we host a popular chili cook-off in October and various yard sale events. We are even looking into creating a classic car show for the future."
The Cross Roads Market appeals to a broad demographic because there are shops inside the market for people of all ages. It has become a very trendy destination for a lot of Chautauqua County families because of the short drive from major cities like Dunkirk and Jamestown.
One of the more popular vendors at Cross Roads is Grape Country Candles. The original candle shop is located in Sheridan, New York, but it also has a satellite store in the Cross Roads Market. Grape Country Candles sells highly fragrant soy wax candles and has seen a drastic increase in business in the years it has spent at the market.
"I can't tell you how beneficial this market has been for my business," said Marcie Martin, owner of Grape Country Candles. "This atmosphere is so fun and the market collectively exposes my business and others to visitors from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Erie and Buffalo," said Martin. Grape Country Candles has been a Cross Roads vendor for five years. While many of the vendors are from Chautauqua County, several of them even travel from Pennsylvania and the greater Buffalo area because of the boost they see in business.
The Cross Roads Market continues to serve as a small business incubator for the county. Created in 1998 and starting out with two buildings, the market was situated on an historic part of land along the Portage Trail connecting Chautauqua Lake to Lake Erie. The land now houses three vendor buildings and a state-of-the-art eco-friendly restroom facility. The area was inhabited by the first settlers to Chautauqua County and remains an historic landmark on the escarpment separating two major watersheds.
For more information regarding the Cross Roads Farm and Craft Market, call 326-6278 or visit

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