Contributed by: Samantha Flavell
OSWEGO, NY – Oswego County has been called a gem for tourism by many who visit.
Spring is considered “a shoulder season” in the tourism industry in Oswego County.
A shoulder season is a travel season between peak and off-peak seasons, usually spring and fall. For Oswego County, however, fall is not considered a shoulder season because of the strong fishery.
This is a trend seen across many counties because there are not as many strong recreational opportunities available. Instead spring is used to encourage and promote more unique and new events.
Despite a decline in the spring, visitors coming to Oswego County can experience a variety of unique events.
Events such as Iditafat Race and The Fort Ontario Conference in American and Canadian History: Perspectives from History and Archaeology are a couple of the special events coming up in Oswego County.
The race is a unique fat bike race at Winona Forest in northern Oswego and southern Jefferson counties.
The Fort Ontario Conference will extend across three days; April 21-23, including student presentations on that Friday. Lectures from two of Oswego State’s professors, Dr. Douglas Pippin an assistant professor of historical archaeology and Dr. Richard Weyhing, an assistant professor from the history department are planned.
On April 23, there will be a bus tour of the French and Indian War sites.
One of the lead coordinators of the event, Fort Ontario historic site manager, Paul Lear is optimistic of the impact the conference will have on the low rate of tourism in the spring. He predicts that up to 150 people will attend the conference in April.
“The conference will increase tourism by raising awareness of Fort Ontario and Oswego’s roles in history,” Lear said. “And draw history buffs and visitors from all over Central New York and upper Canada.”
Lear believes that not only will this help in reigniting the spark for spring tourism in Oswego County but it will also successfully interpret and promote Oswego’s and specifically Fort Ontario’s internationally significant roles in history.
Other popular springtime events include activities such as maple weekends and spring fishing.
While Oswego County’s tourism may have lower numbers in the spring, the county is still a highly-regarded tourism hotspot throughout the year.
Janet Clerkin, Oswego County Tourism and Public Information Coordinator, said that fishing is the number one reason that people come to Oswego County, making fall one of the most popular seasons for tourism.
People come in the fall for salmon fishing, to hook some of the many salmon found in the numerous rivers and streams of Oswego County.
Fisherman Donnie Filkins from Albany County, makes the 2.5-hour trip up to Oswego County with friends to take advantage of the county’s surplus of salmon. He makes multiple fishing trips from mid-August to mid-October.
Summer is another busy season for Oswego County tourism.
The summer boasts larger events such as Harborfest.
“We have been there in the middle of the summer a bit over the past few years,” Filkins said. “Friends have a camp at Mexico Bay and a 27-foot fishing boat.”
Winter also has a strong track record for tourism, thanks to the many snowmobile trails and opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Winter along with fall provides a strong draw for people to drive multiple hours to enjoy the recreational activities that Oswego County has to offer.
“I like it up there for the snow,” winter enthusiast Onofrio Ottomanelli said.
He frequents Oswego County in the winter to ride the snowmobile trails in Redfield with a group of friends.
From museums to numerous recreational activities, Oswego County has a lot to offer tourists.
While tourism may not be at its peak in the springtime, tourism coordinators, such as Clerkin are working hard to promote and encourage tourism all year-round.
“We focus on the county year-round as a visitor destination,” Clerkin said. “Including helping to encourage and promote unique events in the spring.”
Clerkin and Lear both work towards promoting tourism in Oswego County, hosting numerous events of all different types to attract a wide-range of visitors.
Oswego County Tourism may fall in the spring, but the hustle and bustle of popular summer events are right around the corner.