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September 7, 2018 - 4:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, tourism, genesee county, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s tourism program has partnered with Channel 13-WHAM to create a featured promotion that will air on FOX, The CW, and ABC.

The 30-minute show, called "It's Closer than You Think," is a sampling of what’s new in Genesee County, along with some of the county’s best outdoor recreational opportunities. It debuts tomorrow morning at 7.

“The promotion is designed to raise awareness to Rochester area residents that Genesee County is just a short drive that offers great 'close to home' recreation, dining and shopping options,” said Kelly Rapone, Tourism Marketing director for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. “We’d like to do another future episode that highlights even more of the county’s treasures."

Be sure to tune in to see special interviews with some of our local tourism businesses in Le Roy and Batavia, as well as outdoor recreation hot spots across the county.

The broadcast schedule is as follows:

  • 7 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, on 13-WHAM
  • 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9, on The CW
  • 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, on FOX
  • In addition it will also air:
    • 2 a.m. Sept., 12, 13 and 19 on 13-WHAM
    • 6 a.m. Sept. 10, 11 and 13 on FOX

If you happen to miss the airing or don’t have access to broadcast channels, you can see the full episode at:  YouTube.com/GeneseeCountyNY

Over the spring and summer, we also included commercials under this theme that highlighted concerts, Batavia Muckdogs home games, golf packages, racing at Genesee Speedway, the Oatka Festival, as well as The Ramble Music & Arts Festival.

For more information on all of our local offerings, check out www.VisitGeneseeNY.com

September 4, 2018 - 3:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, Seniors, Erie Canal, tourism, news.

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum will be holding its seventh annual Senior Bus Tour on Thursday, Sept.13th. This year’s tour will be heading to the Colonial Belle Erie Canal Cruises in Fairport.

The cruise consists of a two-hour boat ride through some of the most scenic portions of the Erie Canal with historic narration by the captain. A submarine sandwich lunch from DiBella’s will be provided on board the ship.

Space is limited to 40 people. The bus will be leaving at 10 a.m. on Sept. 13th.

Tickets are $50 per person, and $45 for museum members. To reserve a spot on the tour please contact the Holland Land Office Museum at 343-4727 or [email protected].

We ask that payment be received before the reservation can be granted. The Senior Bus Tour is made possible through a grant from the Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging in Genesee County.

August 22, 2018 - 3:48pm

Summer isn’t over yet, and what better way to enjoy those final weeks of warmth than getting outside and soaking up the sun? We’ve rounded up some great places in Genesee County to enjoy the outdoors, get on the water, and take in everything summer has to offer.

Explore Nature, Wildlife, and the Outdoors

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

Described as “one of the best kept secrets in Western New York," the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is the largest in the state. With more than 10,000 acres, there’s plenty here to explore. This Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 42 species of mammals, plus reptiles, fish, amphibians and insects. It’s a favorite of birdwatchers thanks to its 6,000 acres of swampland. Created at the end of the last Ice Age, the swamp is all that remains of the prehistoric Lake Tonawanda that once stretched from Niagara Falls to Rochester. It supports in excess of 266 species of bird, including bald eagles. 

What to do: Avid birdwatchers can find their favorite species using the eBird Trail Tracker. Find what birds have been sighted on the refuge in the last 30 days, and where the best places to see them are. Non-birders and outdoor explorers can enjoy the outdoors year-round with activities like hunting, fishing, canoeing and cross-country skiing. The refuge also hosts a variety of educational activities, including owl prowls, bird walks, fishing derbies, stargazing and more. While there, don’t forget to browse the gift shop area and stop into the Visitors Center, open year-round from Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Bergen Swamp

While visiting a swamp may sound odd at first, one visit to the Bergen Swamp and you’ll be hooked! Home to 2,000 acres of wetlands, the swamp is a National Natural Landmark and the country’s first private environmental land trust chartered as a New York State Living Museum. Best known for its flowers, the swamp is home to 36 native orchids that flourish in the wet conditions. It’s also the perfect habitat for ferns, cedars and riparian floodplains.

What to do: Visitors to the swamp can explore on their own or take one of the many guided tours offered by the Bergen Swamp Preservation Society. Bring the camera and the sketchbook -- you never know what may inspire you along the trail.

Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Center

Welcome to oldest county forest in New York State! Explore 430 acres of rolling hills, hiking trails, playgrounds, ball fields, a sledding hill and more. Ten miles of trails and five ponds put you up close and personal with nature and our woodland friends. The park in East Bethany is also home to the Interpretive Nature Center, where guests can play their way through the activity room, display rooms and Discovery Zone. The rear porch is known for being a prime place for wildlife spotting.

What to do: What can’t you do here? Visitors love playing on the playground, exploring the trails, sledding, and everything in between. The Park and Interpretive Center also host education seminars and events throughout the year, including owl prowls, crafts, introduction to orienteering and stargazing.

DeWitt Recreation Area

Four seasons of fun! Enjoy 64 acres of outdoors, where the kids can run off all their energy and the adults can join in on the fun. Prior to 1935, DeWitt Recreation Area was used as a sand and gravel quarry, which was later abandoned and adopted as a recreation area for residents. In 1992, the land was donated to Genesee County, and restored to its natural setting. It now operates as an outdoor home for family fun and recreation, year-round.

What to do: Walk the quarter-mile paved trail loop or explore marked dirt trails. Enjoy hiking and biking, as well as canoeing and fishing on the pond during the spring, summer and fall. In the winter, bundle up and try cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing on the trails, or ice skating and pickup hockey games. DeWitt Recreation Area also hosts special events, so keep an eye on the calendar for the next one. 

Play in the Water and Soak up the Sun

Angry Apple Disc Golf Course

Established in 2017, play your way through this 18-hole course as it weaves its way across an old apple orchard. Designed for both finesse and accuracy, you’ll need to get your throwing arm warmed up and ready to go if you want to win.

Oatka Paddle Company

Grab your friends and head for the water! The newly opened (as of July 2018) Oatka Paddle Company offers paddle boat rentals for up to five people per boat, as well as single kayak rentals. Head down to the creek to enjoy an afternoon on the water.

Kayak and Canoe

Genesee County has several great kayak and canoe launch sites, including Harlow Lake at Darien Lake State Park, Oak Orchard River at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, John T. O'Brien Canoe Launch at Kiwanis Park, East Pembroke Genesee County Boat Launch, and the Red Bridge Area in Le Roy – just to name a few.

Explore more opportunities to get in touch with nature on the Genesee County Website, outdoor section, at www.visitgeneseeny.com.

August 1, 2018 - 1:26pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in farmers market, agriculture, news, tourism.

Summer is the perfect time for fresh produce – juicy fruits and tasty veggies. And what better place to get them than farm-fresh from a local farmer’s market or farm stand? Get to know the names behind your food. Shopping local is good for you, and for your local farmers – it’s a win-win!

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Our Farm Markets are colorful, creative and fresh. We’ve rounded up the best in the area – including:

Pully's Farm Market – carrying a huge selection of hanging baskets, annuals, perennials, and vegetable plants. Open from April through October, Pully’s has fresh produce, seasonal treats, and a market full of local items and everyday goods. Visit on the weekend in the fall and you can wind your way through the corn maze or catch their pumpkin-cannon in action!

Le Roy Farmers' Market – fun on a Saturday morning from June to mid-October. Located on Main Street, this farmer’s market is a local favorite with weekly offerings found on their Facebook page. The market also partners with the Genesee County Office for the Aging to offer coupons for seniors. Find baked goods, wines, flowers, cooking demonstrations, weekly entertainment, and organic vegetables.

Downtown Batavia Public Market – open every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from June through October, in collaboration with the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District. The market participates in a number of government assistance programs, ensuring that fresh and healthy foods are available to everyone. Browse their stalls and find growers, bakeries and craft vendors offering a variety of produce, baked goods, cheese, eggs, honey, BBQ, maple syrup, and flowers. More than just the veggies – you can go home with everything from dog treats to quilts, and find new favorites every time you visit.

Smaller than a market, Genesee County is also home to a multitude of farm stands. Shop produce straight off the farm, handcrafted goods, and local treats at these area favorites:

Elba
Torrey's Farm Market – food grown with pride. Load up on potatoes, onions, cabbage, lettuce, seasonal produce, and peaches. You'll even find some crafts!

Star Growers – keep an eye out around harvest time! This little roadside stand offers mid/late seasonal produce: potatoes, cabbage, onions, squash, and pumpkins.

Batavia
Harrington's Produce, Bakery & Market Cafe – it’s a one-stop shop for fresh baked breads, fruits, vegetables and everything in between. And if that wasn’t enough, you can also snag a sandwich at their Clinton Street café – food so fresh it was probably picked that day!

Fenton's Produce LLC – asparagus, sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, blueberries, herbs, flowers – and summer and winter squash are home-grown and offered here. Look for Fenton’s around harvest season at their little roadside setup on Pratt Road.

Le Roy
J&W Farm Fresh Produce – consistently fresh, wholesome and flavorful fruit and produce from a small, local family farm.

Mackenzie Brothers – right on Harris Road, this little stand is serving up fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, cabbage, melons, and winter squash – everything from acorn to butternut to fiesta to hubbard.

Clear out the cupboard and the fridge, you’re going to need room for all the fresh food that awaits! We don’t “carrot” all which one you choose to try – so pick one or (taste) test them all. And find more great spots to shop, eat, stay and experience at www.visitgeneseeny.com.

July 23, 2018 - 2:39pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in Camping, chamber of commerce, news, outdoors, tourism.

The wind whistling through the trees, the sun peeking through the clouds, and just around the corner, a bird is singing. There’s no better way to start your morning than surrounded by nature, and no better way to get in touch with your outdoorsy side than by pitching a tent and setting up camp.

And truly, how great is camping? With the aroma of marshmallows in the air, the sound of the crackling fire, and the stars burning bright overhead, it’s one surefire way to relax, recharge, and reconnect with nature.

Luckily for those in the area or visitors wanting an easy outdoor getaway, Genesee County is home to some seriously awesome campsites.

Skyline Camping Resort

Skyline Camping Resort is your “one stop for family camping fun.” Located atop scenic rolling hills, they boast over 300 campsites with 275 of those sites offering water and electric hookups. Families can enjoy three wading and swimming pools, a pond for fishing, and recreational activities (shuffleboard, basketball, volleyball, horseshoe) for all ages. Send the kids out to enjoy a game of tennis or mini golf, or to play the old-fashioned way at the playground and burn off that pent up energy. Then hype them back up with a candy bar at Skyline’s mini on-site Grocery Store. With something for everyone to enjoy, one weekend just won’t be enough!

Southwoods RV Resort

Southwoods RV Resort is a family friendly campsite in a park-like setting. What does that mean? It means that kids can explore and play on the playground, in the game room, hop in the swimming pool or take to the special wagon rides, while others enjoy the bike track, hiking trails, sand volleyball court or mini-golf course. More than 200 spacious campsites with full hookups for RVs, a propane station, laundry facilities, and more mean that there is room for everyone to camp out and enjoy Southwoods all summer (and fall!) long. The Resort also hosts special events like coffee and donuts, casino night, and live music on holiday weekends.

Lei-Ti Campground

Lei-Ti shows guests how to enjoy LEIsure TIme the right way in Western New York. Started in 1971, the campground has been voted one of the top 100 campgrounds in North American by Woodalls readers. And it's easy to see why - with two huge playgrounds, golf cart sales, swimming in the pool or at Leisure Lake beach, fishing, a rec. lodge (complete with an arcade and fitness room) and live entertainment, activities and events! It's an extended camping trip that's going to feel just like home - busy, fun, relaxing, and with all the amenities you could ever need. 

Cherry Hill Campground

Cherry Hill Campground takes you straight back to the basics, while also offering a crazy convenient location - just across from Darien Lake Theme Park! Enjoy lush, shaded campsites or a lean-to cabin with double doors that close for privacy. Cherry Hill is pet friendly and each site comes with a picnic table and fire ring. 

The Ridge NY

Formerly known as Frost Ridge Recreation Area, The Ridge is a campground that takes its entertainment seriously. The site boasts a pool, camp and farm store, playground, and The Big Ridge Restaurant serving up homemade and homegrown meals. They also hold regular “Jam at the Ridge” concerts featuring local and statewide bands. Concerts are open to the public for single access into each event, but campers staying on property get special passes allowing in-and-out access to come and go as they please. The Ridge is truly where the fun is!

Darien Lakes State Park

Hills, woodlands, ravines, streams, a sandy beach and the 12-acre Harlow Lake make up Darien Lakes State Park. Campers can take their pick of where to park their stuff – choosing from a total of 154 campsites, 141 with electricity and 13 primitive sites without. When you aren’t exploring the trails, fishing for largemouth black bass, or playing a round of 18-holes on the Angry Apple Disc Golf Course, you can make your way over to “Picnic Island” and enjoy a snack while surrounded by the serene views of nature.

Darien Lake Amusement Park Campground

Whether you’re relaxing after a day of thrills at the amusement park, or just getting away from it all, Darien Lake Campgrounds are a great way to unwind. Pitch a tent, pull an RV in, book a cabin rental or settle in to a “ready-made” glamping site nearby picturesque Darien Lake. Lodging Packages offer the best value for those looking to do it all – enjoy the outdoors, hit the waterpark, ride the roller coasters, and enjoy a weekend with family or friends.

Sleepy Hollow Lake

Sleepy Hollow Lake is 104 acres of camping fun! It’s kid friendly, pet friendly, and home to beautiful walking trails and easy waterfront access. The camp has drive through RV sites, tent camp sites, and cabin rentals, with water, electric, on-site restrooms, picnic areas, and more. Each month they host special events ranging from pancake breakfasts and roast beef dinners, to flea markets, hayrides, petting zoos and horseshoe tournaments. There’s always something happening at Sleepy Hollow -- the place to make and preserve memories that last a lifetime.

It doesn’t matter which you choose or where you want to park it, family memories and outdoor fun await! For more information on these sites or other local offerings, check out the camping page on www.VisitGeneseeNY.com.

June 27, 2018 - 12:52pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in tourism, chamber of commerce, business.

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At Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises, you’ll be singing and celebrating over a century of American history as you cruise down the Erie Canal. Located just outside Genesee County (just 15 minutes from Niagara Falls along historic Route 104) and headquartered in a renovated 1840 warehouse, Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises offers a relaxing adventure and exciting take on history -- with daily and charter cruises, lively narration, and private charters and event space.

Experience the Canal

History is, in fact, the main theme at Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises. Experience “Life in the Past Lane" when you take a two-hour scenic cruise down the Erie Canal and enjoy the sights and sounds of the waterway that changed the nation.

From May through October, book an experience that takes you through locks 34 and 35, the only double set of locks on the Canal, and ride 50 feet up as it fills with over three million gallons of water in mere minutes. Pass under Lockport’s "Upside Down Bridge," Lockport's "Big Bridge" (the widest bridge in the United States at 299 feet wide), through the "deep rock cut" and under lift bridges (everybody down!).

Cruise guides provide narration set to popular 1800s music – setting the scene and the mood as you navigate the canal.

Learn the History

Since 1987, Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises has been a family owned business and community staple. From the boats to the building and event space, every detail has been carefully considered and immaculately preserved. The original stone walls are the remains of what was once Niagara Preserving Company, and the property was also at one time Western Block Company, a business that manufactured block and tackle for pulleys used on canal boats. Many of these artifacts can still be found throughout the spacious building.

Across the parking stands a four-story stone building built in the 1840s. The building was once a flour mill that used the water from the Erie Canal as its main power source, and channeled its excess water down a spillway, which still carries water to the canal today.

The building -- preserved in its original condition -- serves as the Lockport & Erie Canal Heritage Museum with hands-on canal related exhibits, a working model of a lock, and many interesting, and educational displays and artifacts.

Make a Memory that Lasts

But, Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises is more than just a history lesson and a cruise along the canal. Each of its three vessels and spacious buildings can be rented out for private events, functions, and even weddings. Book time on a boat with food, drinks, music, and the opportunity to choose-your-own-adventure - we mean, route! Each has its own great atmosphere:

  • Lockview IV, a 48-passenger boat built to resemble the African Queen;
  • Lockview V, a 125 passenger, double-decker boat built for the Great Lakes;
  • Lockview VI, a 150 passenger, double-deck Mississippi-style stern paddle wheel.

Back on dry land, choose from one of three event spaces:

  • The Veranda Banquet Room has more than 100 windows overlooking the Canal for stunning views from every angle;
  • The Meeting Room boasts a giant skylight and windows that overlook cobblestone walkways and the Canal for an atmosphere that will whisk you back in time;
  • The Canalside Grove has an enclosed shelter but puts your event outside directly on the canal. (And let’s not forget the 15-foot fully stocked bar available!)

So good are they at what they do, Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises was recently entered into the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame for earning a Certificate of Excellence every year for the past five years! With so many satisfied customers, you’re sure to be one, too.

For more information on nearby attractions, visit www.visitgeneseeny.com.

June 1, 2018 - 3:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tantrum, darien lake theme park, tourism, news, notify, Darien.

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One of the best parts of Chris Thorpe's job, which he readily admits, is getting to preview the rides before they're open to the public.

He's already been on the theme park's newest ride, Tantrum, a dozen times, and he said it really delivers for thrill seekers.

"My favorite part of the ride, as people ask me, is when I rode it for the first time with my daughters, was the look of astonishment on their faces when it was finished," Thorpe said. "The ride is just dynamic and fun."

Tantrum is nearly a $5 million addition to the park's entertainment assets and its seventh coaster overall. The ride includes a beyond-vertical drop that hasn't been available on previous rides at the park.

Tantrum, the first coaster of its kind in New York State and Ontario, Canada, takes riders on a 98-foot vertical lift at a 90-degree angle – straight up the coaster’s first hill. In a matter of seconds, upon reaching its apex, the train plummets into a 97-degree drop and pretzel inversion, reaching speeds of 52 mph as the coaster snakes through the structure over a bunny hop.

The ride is designed to keep riders guessing which way is up or down over a minute and two-seconds through multiple twists, turns and inversions.

Thorpe said Genesee County residents should definitely come out to the park this summer and give the ride a try.

"Darien Lake is going to deliver the best family experience and make memories that will last a lifetime," Thorpe said. "Come on out, give Tantrum a ride. If you’re a thrill seeker, you will see this ride will really deliver."

Ribbon-cutting photo below: Linda Taylor, former marketing director for Darien Lake, cut the ribbon. Taylor was on hand in 1982 for the ribbon cutting for Viper, the park's first roller coaster. Today was her last day with the park before retiring.

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May 24, 2018 - 4:16pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in accommodations, tourism, news, hotels, Le Roy, darien center, batavia.

After a full day of play in Genesee County, there are plenty of places to lay your head and catch some ZZZs – from boutique hotels with a unique story to tell, to the tried-and-true chain hotels that you know you can rely on. 

When you are done exploring great food, playing the slots at Batavia Downs, learning about the origin of JELL-O, or spending some time out in nature – book your stay and kick your feet up at one of our comfortable lodging properties.

Unique & Boutique

If you are looking for your overnight that’s an experience in itself, check out these three great offerings.

Farmer's Creekside Tavern & Inn. Though Creekside is new to Le Roy, the building it sits in has been a pillar of the community for nearly 200 years. Located along the banks of the Oatka Creek bed, this newly renovated offering has exposed wood and brick, modern charm, and stunning views overlooking the water and Main Street. They have three premier suites for guests – and downstairs is Creekside’s restaurant where diners can enjoy a beverage or order upscale fare.

River Spring Lodge. Gorgeous water views, five-course dinners every night and wine pairings to match. What more could you ask for in this beautiful, reclusive bed and breakfast? Chef David Hamer and his wife, Carolyn, are known for their world-class customer service and incredible food. Tucked away in the woods, with eight suites available to guests, this is the perfect place for a night or a weekend, vacation or staycation.

Hotel at Batavia Downs. With guest rooms and suites over looking the track and the gaming floor just steps away, staying at the hotel at Batavia Downs puts you right in the middle of it all. You don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy this destination location – the hotel offers complimentary breakfast, access to four in-house restaurants, live harness racing from July – December and $10 free play per night stay. Batavia Downs is a one-stop shop for relaxation and fun.

Tried & True

If comfort and convenience are at the top of your list and free breakfast is your savior, we’ve got you covered.

  • Days Inn. Conveniently located near Batavia Downs, Darien Lake and several golf courses, this Days Inn offers pet-friendly rooms, complementary breakfast and a $5 free play at Batavia Downs.
  • Super 8. Situated in between Darien Lake, Batavia Downs, Letchworth and Niagara Falls, this Super 8 offers free Wi-Fi and can accommodate your furry friends. It’s located right next door to Bob Evans restaurant, so you can satisfy your late-night burger craving.
  • LaQuinta. Parents – breathe easy. LaQuinta boasts a complementary breakfast and indoor heated pool where kids can burn off all their extra energy before bed. And once they’re done making waves, you can settle in for a movie from one of the hotel’s premium movie channels. Either way you look at it, LaQuinta offers fun family vibes and a good night’s sleep.
  • Red Roof Inn. The Red Roof Inn puts you just five minutes from Batavia Downs. Recently renovated, this hotel offers free Wi-Fi, free HBO, complementary hot breakfast, and access to five local dining locations within a mile of the property.
  • Best Western Crown Inn & Suites. How does a whirlpool in your room sound? Best Western has a variety of room styles and deluxe amenities to choose from when you stay – including a heated indoor pool and a spa, as well as complimentary breakfast. It’s perfect for couples or families – and even offers evening Manager’s Receptions – a perk for anyone looking to relax without leaving the comfort of their hotel.
  • Quality Inn & Suites. Not only does this hotel boast pet-friendly rooms and a full-service restaurant, it’s also attached to a water park! Hotel guests receive discounted tickets to Palm Island Indoor Water Park as well as $5 free play at Batavia Downs.
  • Econo Lodge. This is not just any Econo Lodge. This property is just minutes away from Darien Lake Amusement Park – giving you access to roller coasters and waterslides right in your backyard. It’s also located 25 minutes away from beautiful Niagara Falls – a must-see if you’re planning a family vacation to Western New York.
  • Comfort Inn. Sixty rooms grace this newly renovated Comfort Inn – including whirlpool suites and places for Fido to sleep. Stay and you’ll be treated to a deluxe breakfast buffet on the house, valet dry cleaning, and access to a seasonal outdoor pool – so you can soak up a few rays while the kids play.

Booking a good hotel can often be the hardest part of any vacation. In Genesee County, the pillows are soft, and the options are plenty. Visit https://visitgeneseeny.com/where-to-stay for more hotels, motels, boutiques and B&Bs nearby.

May 24, 2018 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, sports, baseball, softball.

Press release:

Over the next five weekends (through June 24) Genesee County will host nearly 20,000 baseball and softball players, coaches, families and fans at the eighth Annual Darien Lake Tournament Series. The tournament, which kicks off this weekend, is produced by Pitch ‘n' Hit Events and teams will play at numerous ball fields throughout Genesee County.

The tournament will bring 400 teams to Genesee County from throughout the Northeast and Canada playing both baseball and fast-pitch softball with ages of the players ranging from 10 to 18 years old.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce estimates that the influx of visitors from this event is expected to create more than a $1.5 million economic impact through hotel stays, dining, shopping and incidental spending.  

The Chamber provided Pitch ‘n' Hit with thousands of Genesee County Dining Guides and Visitor Coupons to be included in the welcome packets for each player and their family.

With Memorial Day weekend being the unofficial kick-off of the summer travel season, the Chamber also begins extended Visitor Center hours on Friday, May 25th. More than 30 visitor center volunteers who help to staff the center in peak-season were welcomed back with an orientation breakfast at Terry Hills Restaurant & Banquet Facility earlier this week.

The Visitor Center will remain open with extended evening and weekend hours through Labor Day, while the vestibule remains open to visitors 24/7 with access to key area maps and brochures.

For more information on the Baseball tournament and game locations, please visitv here. Visit Genesee County online at VisitGeneseeNY.com

April 20, 2018 - 2:01pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in batavia, downtown, business, tourism, chamber of commerce, restaurants, Vegan.

This Earth Day, the very first 100-percent vegan restaurant in Genesee County is opening up to share a different kind of delicious food with locals and visitors alike. Yep, you read that right! One-hundred-percent vegan food will be served up at Eden Café & Bakeshop!

Located inside Eli Fish Brewing Company, at 109 Main St., Batavia, there is a glimpse of the garden, with generous plant-based meals, fresh juices, and even treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. Join Eden Café & Bakeshop for their grand opening THIS SUNDAY, April 22nd, starting at 12 p.m.

There will be lots going on including a Cutco knife giveaway, raffles, and branded tumblers will be available for purchase. Be one of the first to experience a new kind of cuisine after the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. 

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What began as a thought of opening a zero-waste store, slowly turned into Eden Café & Bakeshop. Owner, Judy Hysek, is bringing some seriously tasty and animal-free food choices to all in and around Genesee County!

Hysek has been vegan for three years, which just so happens to be enough time to experiment with plant-based foods and create some delicious concoctions to share with you!

“I’m hoping to open the community up to a new way of eating," she said. "I want to make it easier for people who don’t know how to eat without meat and dairy… I would have gone vegan a lot sooner if there was more support, education, and availability... I’m just trying to add to the awareness and make it more accessible."

Now, let’s get down to business. Let’s talk about the food!

Carrot Dogs: You may have heard of these soon-to-be-famous “dogs” already, especially if you follow Eden Café & Bakeshop’s Facebook Page.

Imagine a carrot, in the shape of a traditional hot dog, which has been infused with deliciousness and then topped with more deliciousness of your choice. You’ll have to try it for yourself the next time you're in Eli Fish.

Word on the street is that even omnivores can't tell the difference between a carrot dog and a traditional hot dog. We dare you to give it a try and test your taste buds to see if you can tell the difference. Try your first carrot dog on a roll or wrapped in a pretzel and baked until golden brown! 

Cauliflower Wings: Where have these been all our lives? Since Western New York is the home of Buffalo Wings, it only makes sense to have “wings” on the menu at Eden.

You can have your wings tossed in Buffalo sauce or topped with the sweet mustard sauce. You can’t go wrong with either sauce -- so good! The breaded and baked florets are served with carrots and celery sticks with a house-made dip. The cauliflower wings can also be made gluten free and they're just as tasty!

Loaded Nachos: What goes better with a cold brew from Eli Fish than a pile of nachos? What about a pile of nachos smothered in a vegan beer cheese? There is nothing more satisfying!

Speaking of cheese…

Eden will have a variety of house made vegan, artisan cheeses including almond feta and cashew mozzarella, which will come on the poutine. (Poutine is a dish originating from the Canadian province of Quebec consisting of French fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy.) Where else can you get poutine in Batavia, let alone a vegan poutine?!

Other menu items include desserts like cashew cheesecake, cookies, brownies and more. Desserts will rotate to give everyone the opportunity to try something new and yummy!

Last but definitely not least -- fresh juices, smoothies, lemonades and kombucha! This week I was lucky enough to try a fresh juice made of apples, strawberries and raspberries. (Please make this a rotating juice, it was so good!)

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Did you know?

Veganism is on a climb throughout the world. In the United States, a recent report by Top Trends in Prepared Foods in 2017, says “6 percent of U.S. consumers now claim to be vegan, up from just 1 percent in 2014.”

Eden is here to satisfy some taste buds and open some minds to the benefits of eating healthy, saving animals, and the planet. Everyone should rejoice and get involved in the efforts to sustain our planet and you can start right at home, or at Eden.

Oh, and by the way -- Eden is donating all gratuities to a nonprofit right here in Genesee County. Mockingbird Farm Sanctuary in Byron provides a home and lifetime care to animals regardless of their condition or past. Their goal is to improve the mental, physical and emotional well-being of the animals who live on the farm. Eden is already showing love to others trying to make a difference right here at home!

For more information on Eden Cafe and other hotspots in Genesee County, visit: https://visitgeneseeny.com/

April 18, 2018 - 1:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in magicians, magic convention, tourism, news, business.
Press release:
 

Batavia will once again host the “Original Close-Up Magic Convention” Obie’s 4F convention. This very prestigious gathering draws close-up magicians from 21 countries all over the world. While the first event was held in 1971, Batavia has been the host location for the last 20 years.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has been assisting conference planners with their visit, providing dining guides, visitor coupons and the area visitor guide. The estimated economic impact for this five-day event is $86,000 being left in our community.

The Quality Inn in Batavia is the host location for the more than 250 people that arrive Wednesday to Sunday, April 25-29. This “by-invitation-only” convention will also honor Rocco Silano, an American born, award-winning magician who has appeared on many television shows.

Obie Obrien is the founder of the convention and has an impressive resume filled with not only numerous awards in magic, two master's degrees; but also experience playing, coaching and refereeing several sports, including being an official scorer at the 1980 Olympic Games.

The convention kicks off on Wednesday evening and carries through Saturday with lectures, classes, and shows. The majority of the guests are picked up by shuttles from the Buffalo and Rochester airports and brought here. Once in Batavia, they will travel on foot and by taxi to explore the area.

On Sunday April 29, the Magician’s Alliance of Western New York (MAWNY) has a one-day convention at the Quality Inn Batavia. This event is open to the public; magicians may register in advance for the show and the show itself is open to everyone. Doors open at 6:10 p.m.; adults are $13; and age 12 and under are $10. More information is available at www.mawny.org.

February 28, 2018 - 3:11pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in Farmer's Creekside Tavern & Inn, Le Roy, news, tourism, restaurants, business.

In July 2017, we welcomed a new business to Genesee County – but its building has history dating back to the 1820s. On Main Street in Le Roy sits the beautiful Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn.

Walk in the front doors and you’ll find yourself in a cozy downstairs tavern and restaurant. Journey upstairs, and you’ll be blown away by the stunning gathering spaces and overnight accommodations. And no matter where you step, you’ll be able to see the view of the Oatka Creek bed – stunning in both the summer and winter months.

With so much beauty and finery, you’d never know that Farmer’s Creekside has a rich and tragic history. The building was constructed in the 1820s and was one of Main Street, Le Roy’s first locations. Over the years, the building served as a hat factory, a bank office, and several private residences. But in 2004, a fire nearly claimed the building for good, destroying almost all of the structure and interior.

Restoring this building and opening Creekside has truly been a labor of love for owner Bill Farmer. He acquired the building in 2007 and is welcoming visitors to enjoy the space – 10 years later.

Now that the wait is over, it’s time to make your reservation. Executive Chef Sean Wolf offers a tavern menu with sandwiches, salads and snacks, and a more upscale dinner menu featuring modern expressions of classic tavern fare. You’re bound to find something to make your mouth water. And with a well-stocked bar featuring 18 beers on tap and a selection of regional and global wines, there are plenty of drink options to complement your meal.

Once you’ve filled your belly, check out the view – or check into one of three brand new suites. Each one is decorated differently and features a modern yet timeless design that perfectly blends into the building’s brick walls, black Marcellus shale, and original wood beams.

On occasion, Farmer’s Creekside will host special events that are open to the public. They also offer space for private events and gatherings with advance reservation.

Support Genesee County’s newest offering! Farmer’s is open for lunch and dinner, Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. The Bar is open for extended hours in the evenings, and overnights can be booked year-round.

Learn more about Farmer’s Creekside and their story at: http://www.farmerscreekside.com/. Or visit www.VisitGeneseeNY.com to learn more about Genesee County's unique attractions and local offerings.

February 27, 2018 - 10:21am
posted by Genesee Chamber... in Palm Island Indoor Water Park, batavia, news, tourism.

Escape the wintery winds to a place where the temperature is always 85 degrees, the water is always warm and hot dogs are always on the menu. At Palm Island Indoor Waterpark, summer never ends! Located within the Batavia Quality Inn and Suites, kids and kids-at-heart are sure to have a splashing good time.

Within the park’s 10,000 square feet are water features for all ages. Smaller kids love the Monsoon Lagoon, which includes a beach entry, children’s pools and a play area with a slide, rope-pull shower and five-way tipping buckets. Older kids (and adults!) will have a blast in Paradise Plunge and the Crazy Cobra. These two fully enclosed waterslides loop around the outside of the building before splashing back inside. And everyone finds fun in Paradise Bay with a basketball hoop play area, and huge hot tub.

There’s plenty to do out of the water, too. Two full arcades (one in the waterpark and one in the hotel) are sure to bring hours of fun for all ages. With new games like Buck Hunter and Doodle Jump, and classics like air hockey and Candy Crane, parents and kids alike will have a blast.

Stay for an afternoon, the night or a weekend. Packages start at just $145/night for your hotel, breakfast, admission to the park, arcade tokens and free play at Batavia Downs! You don’t have to go far to have a great time – a night at the Batavia Quality Inn and a day at the waterpark will definitely be a staycation to remember. Also available is special pricing for groups of eight or more. 

Have a special event, like a birthday coming up? Palm Island is the perfect destination to celebrate. Guests can choose from a pizza or hot dog party, and special pricing applies for a Monday or Friday event. Each party comes with ice cream and 20 arcade tokens, too!

Check out the Palm Island website for photos, hours and ongoing packages and their Facebook for deals, and updates. Palm Island Indoor Waterpark is located at 8250 Park Road in Batavia. 

Visit www.VisitGeneseeNY.com to learn more about Genesee County's unique attractions and local offerings. 

February 8, 2018 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, business, news, chamber of commerce.

Sports continues to become a bigger part of Genesee County's tourism economy, Kelly Rapone, tourism marketing director for the Chamber of Commerce, told members of the Ways and Means Committee during an annual update on Wednesday.

For years, since the Batavia Sports Park opened, Batavia has been home of the Empire Cup soccer showcase and this year the two-weekend event will be supplemented by a third weekend of soccer for another tournament.

That additional tournament will mean an addition 4,000 room nights for local hotels and about $500,000 of local economic impact.

June is also booked solid with sports. In this case, baseball.

Genesee County has long been a top destination for Canadian golfers, though last season the number of golfers crossing the border dropped off because of an unfavorable exchange rate. The exchange rate still isn't good, Rapone said, but golfers started booking packages in January, which may be a sign that the Canadians have mentally adjusted to the new prices and are ready to make the trip anyway.

Music has also grown into a source of tourism dollars, Rapone said. The venues have grown from beyond just Darien Lake to include The Ridge, in Le Roy, entering its eighth season, and Batavia Downs.

The first concert series at the Downs last year was a success, so officials there are apparently planning on booking more shows this year.

It's not so much that the concerts sell out, Rapone said -- the concerts help increase casino traffic and lead to more room nights booked at the new hotel.

The hotel hit its first anniversary in October, Rapone said, and in the fourth quarter, as a result of the hotel being open, there was a bump in local tourism revenue in 2017.

Rapone said she believes Batavia Downs is looking to book more expo-type of events, which brings more people to town, more people into the casino, and leads to more nights booked at the hotel.

November 16, 2017 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, genesee county, business, news.

Sports is a booming business for tourism in Genesee County, according to Kelly Rapone, tourism marketing director for the Chamber of Commerce.

Between soccer at Batavia Sports Park, the Darien Lake baseball and softball tournaments, golf getaways, and various other competitive sports events that attract people from throughout the region and the Northeast, Genesee County hotels are often selling out during the spring and summer, Rapone told members of the County Legislator's Ways and Means Committee yesterday.

"Every weekend, I would say, from May right through July, we are booked up, our hotels, for sports," Rapone said.

That helps contribute to one of the major funding sources for the Chamber of Commerce, the county's bed tax.

Last year, the bed tax fell a little short of projections but Tom Turnbull, chamber president, said it looks like the revenue will exceed the $420,000 target, despite a rainy June.

Revenue was up 3 percent in the first quarter, 3 percent in the fourth quarter, but down 1 percent in the third quarter.

"The big factor there is probably Darien Lake," Turnbull said. "They are a big contributor to the bed tax and it was a rainy summer. Their numbers were, I know, down a little bit, but still 1 percent is not too bad."

The fourth quarter should make up for it, Turnbull said, with a projected increase of 17 percent.

Rapone said the golf packages the chamber sells fell off significantly in June, from leading to the booking of 93 room nights a year ago to just 29 this June.

"You can see, they all kind of shifted out to later in the summer and then we did another push for fall packages," Rapone said.

The chamber's budget for 2017 expected $66,000 from New York in matching funds for the "I Love NY" tourism promotion program, but the chamber received only $64,400 this year. That is the number the chamber will budget for 2018 and hope for an increase in that amount.

The chamber also generates its own revenue through a visitors guide, dining guide, coupon book and the golf packages. The budget anticipated $106,000 in revenue from these sources and the actual revenue for 2017 will be at least $108,000. The chamber will budget $110,000 for 2018.

Rapone said the county may see an increase in Chinese tourists, with a shift away over the next four years from bus tours to more individual travelers.

This year, the chamber hosted a group of 16 Chinese travel guides who were touring the state.

She also talked about how the Chinese pay for things. There is only one national credit card and that isn't always accepted by businesses in the United States.

"A Chinese traveller would never pull out his Chinese credit card to pay for something if he thought there might be the slightest chance it would be denied," Rapone said.

So what they carry is a card called Union Pay. What a lot of merchants don't understand, she said, is if they can accept Discover, they can accept Union Pay.

She said she visited a deli over the summer and the owner complained that the Chinese who came in never bought anything. She told him about Union Pay. The next week, he had all the signage up in the store to show he accepted Union Pay.

"It's the simple things that make us more welcoming," she said. "Like, they don't like ice in their drinking water. They want their water and tea at room temperature."

November 5, 2017 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, tourism, business.

kelleyraponeawardnov2017.jpg

Press release:

The New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) recognized individuals and organizations for their high level of excellence and accomplishments in New York State’s tourism industry at the 2017 Tourism Excellence Awards Dinner, held Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Glen Club of the Watkins Glen International.

Kelly Rapone, tourism director for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, was presented with the 2017 Excellence in Leadership award, which honors a tourism professional for leadership through outstanding initiative, impact of their work, and inspiring others around them.

In remarks read at the presentation by Nicole Mahoney, president of Break the Ice Media, noted that Kelly Rapone is a leader in the New York State tourism industry, exemplifying outstanding initiative.

“She is dedicated to bringing tourism into her county, as well as her region and the state.”

Rapone’s influence goes beyond her county borders. The impact of her enthusiastic work is felt statewide. With the launch of the Haunted History Trail in 2013, she created a product for a niche market that helps many historic sites and lesser-known attractions get recognized, and provides a direct economic impact of more than $1.5 million. This is just one of many initiatives in which she takes a leadership role.

Mahoney went on to remark that Rapone is an inspiration to many in the tourism industry.

“From mentoring young professionals to helping interns grow in their careers, to providing guidance and genuine interest to small business owners throughout her county and beyond, she has earned respect and admiration from her peers near and far, and is truly worthy of this honor.”

Rapone has long been a supportive leader with NYSTIA, serving on the board of directors and actively chairing the scholarship committee, which this year raised more than $11,500 dollars to benefit college students.

The winning individuals or organizations of NYSTIA’s 2017 Tourism Excellence Awards were nominated by their peers and reviewed by NYSTIA’s awards committee. The recipients were selected based on demonstrated commitment, leadership, and accomplishment in travel and tourism.

Jill Delaney, NYSTIA president and CEO said, “As the fourth largest employer in the State of New York, the tourism industry continues to grow and evolve, leading to ever more impressive accomplishments. We are honored to have a night set aside to recognize the successes of our industry innovators with the goal of inspiring creativity and passion throughout New York State’s tourism industry.”

Submitted photo: Jill Delaney, NYSTIA president/CEO, Kelly Rapone, Valerie Knoblach, NYSTIA Board chair.

October 11, 2017 - 4:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Announcements, agriculture, tourism, agritourism.

A symposium on agritourism will be held at Genesee Community College on Thursday, Oct. 26.

It will take place inside Stuart Steiner Theatre and is free and open to all. It is hosted by GCC's Tourism & Hospitality Management Program.

Meet the entrepreneurial agritourism leaders in Genesee County. There will be vendor booths and samples.

Here's the day's schedule:

  • 11 a.m. to noon -- Student Session with Sophie Winter, Ph.D.
  • 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. -- Keynote Speaker: Sophie Winter, Ph.D.
  • 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. -- Panel Discussion and Question-and-Answer Session
  • 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. -- Meet, Greet & Eat Reception

The college is located at One College Road in the Town of Batavia.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Amy Slusser, professor, Tourism & Hospitality Management, at 343-0055, ext. 6332, or email   [email protected]

The symposium is sponsored in part by Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement.

May 1, 2017 - 12:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, business, batavia, sports.

Press release:

The 2017 Empire Cup College Showcase has teamed with Elite Tournaments and U.S. Youth Soccer Region 1 to bring the Eastern Regional League to Batavia. Over the next two weekends (May 6-7 and 13-14) Genesee County will host more than 3,000 soccer players, plus coaches, families and fans, as the tournaments are played at the Batavia Sports Park and Genesee Community College fields.

Historically this tournament draws teams from throughout New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Canada. With this new partnership, the event has shown significant growth and the influx of visitors and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce estimates that this event will create an economic impact of more than $1.1 million during the span of the two tournament weekends, from both hotel stays as well as visiting local restaurants and shops. The tournament will generate more than 1,200 room nights at area hotels.

This tournament invites all USYSA and U.S. Club Soccer affiliated boys and girls U13 through U19 teams to participate. Players not only get the opportunity to play with and against the top teams in Region 1; they also get the chance to showcase their abilities and talents to recruits at the collegiate level.

The Genesee County Visitor Center will be open to assist visitors in finding local destinations by providing the new dining guide, maps, visitors guide and area coupons from participating merchants.

April 6, 2017 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Visitor Center, chamber of commerce, tourism, batavia, business, news.

viscenterapril2017_02.png

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s new Visitor Center will operate with extended hours beginning Friday, May 26th, in time for Memorial Day weekend o- the “unofficial” start of the travel season.

The Visitor Center volunteer opportunity is open to any Genesee County resident or civic organization that would like to welcome our visitors, provide directions, or suggestions on places to visit or great places to eat. Volunteer shifts are two-and-a-half hours long and can be done on a weekly, biweekly, or as needed basis.

For more information – please stop by the Visitor Center at 8276 Park Road, or give Lauren Humphrey a call at 585-344-4152.

viscenterapril2017_01.png

February 13, 2017 - 10:03am
posted by Genesee Chamber... in history, Le Roy, Historic Le Roy House, news, tourism.

Tour this mansion-turned-museum for over 100 years of unique history! The Historic Le Roy house was built in 1822 by Jacob LeRoy and later owned by the chancellor of Ingham University, which was the first female university in the United States to grant a four-year degree.

Learn more in this week's historical society feature and be sure to pay a visit! The museum is open Monday -- Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with extended hours beginning in the Spring.

Historic Le Roy House, 23 E. Main St., Le Roy, NY; 585-768-7433.

Visit www.VisitGeneseeNY.com to learn more about Genesee County's unique attractions.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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