By Assemblyman Will Barclay
With summer in full bloom, it is the opportune time for residents and visitors alike to take part in the wealth of activities our communities have to offer.
I’m proud to represent a district where tourism represents a growing sector of the local economy. In this week’s column, I would like to highlight why tourism is so important to our economy and take a look at some of the many tourist destinations and events that make our region so unique.
In the past year, regional tourism has increased 13.2 percent, and currently supports nearly 9,000 jobs.
These are promising statistics, but they should not be surprising if you consider our natural resources and historic sites that attract tourists from all over to the area.
One of Oswego’s most beloved and longest-running events is Harborfest. Founded in 1987, Harborfest has brought more than 400 local and national performing artists to its stages and has provided quality family activities and entertainment.
This year’s Harborfest runs from July 25-28 and should be no different. For more information on the performers and activities at this year’s event, visit http://www.oswegoharborfest.com/
For visitors and Oswego County residents looking for more outdoor-centric things to do, there are several activities available.
One event that sounds interesting is the War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden Trail, a 600-mile trail running through a large portion of our state and into Canada.
Located on 158 E. First St. in Oswego, our portion is a peace garden that showcases Oswego’s lighthouse and the historic harbor where British ships attacked Fort Ontario.
There are also hunting and fishing activities and safety training, field days and festivals happening all summer.
For more information on these events and to download the Oswego County Visitors Guide, please check out http://visitoswegocounty.com/
The Syracuse area is also home to festivals and activities throughout the year, from craft brewing showcases to car shows and the Northeast Wine and Jazz Festival this month to Island Festival and the Skaneateles Family Fest in August. There also a host of museums and historical celebrations happening this summer in and around Syracuse. To learn more about these events and more, visit http://www.visitsyracuse.org/
For those in the greater Watertown region, there are scores of parks, historic sites and museums to visit, as well as scenic tours and family-friendly events throughout the summer. A few things I recommend checking out this year are the Alexander Corners Veterans and Pearl Harbor Memorial located in Henderson, Cedar Point State Park in Clayton and the Thousand Islands Bridge 75th Anniversary Fireworks on August 2.
The Watertown Chamber of Commerce has put together a wonderful Visitors Guide highlighting all the events and locales Watertown has to offer and it can be found at http://cloud.chambermaster.com/userfiles/UserFiles/chambers/1171/File/onlinevisitorguide2.pdf
I greatly encourage anyone from or visiting our region to delve into the many events, parks and historic sites and year-round activities our communities have to offer.
Central New York is the home to some of the most beautiful parks, waterways and storied history our state has to offer and taking the time to enjoy these not only celebrates our shared values and history as a community, but supports local roots and local jobs in the process.
If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.