By Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine
Here in Central and Northern New York, we value our summers as an opportunity to spend time with our families enjoying the warm weather, the lush green outdoors and beautiful bodies of water.
Sure, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s winter snowfall and subzero temperatures that make state and national news, and our winter draws many visitors who enjoy these conditions for outdoor recreation. Still, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in the summer when we hold dozens of outdoor events bringing friends, family and thousands of tourists together to celebrate.
Some of the bigger annual events include the St. Lawrence Seaway Festival in Ogdensburg, the French Festival in my hometown of Cape Vincent, and Harborfest in the city of Oswego, but just about every community has its annual event, such as the Granby Family Fun Days or Quaker Days in Philadelphia. These events serve as a homecoming of sorts, which many choose to plan their family or high school reunions around.
This year I visited Harborfest for its opening ceremonies and the size of the crowd was impressive. Every year this city of about 15,000 year long residents draws hundreds of thousands for this nationally recognized event. It has won awards as a tourist destination and anyone who sees how far the people here go to bring in bands, food and other attractions quickly sees why it is so popular.
I had the honor of overseeing the opening ceremonies with Mayor Randy Bateman, Assemblyman Will Barclay, Oswego County Legislature Chair Barry Leeman among other dignitaries. Afterward, my wife and I walked the midway, where we enjoyed some ice cream from one of the booths. The fireworks display is spectacular every year, put on by the same group that does renowned shows in Atlantic City, Connecticut, and Hawaii, and sponsored by Entergy Nuclear.
Many of the smaller local festivals remain, but beyond that there are still great opportunities for hiking, fishing, sightseeing, boating and more. We have a lot to offer in the region and tourism is a key industry for us. Our state parks, rivers, lakes, trails and other local attractions are open and offer something for everyone, whether you are looking for a beach to swim, a place for a beautiful walk in nature, historic buildings, learning opportunities, golfing, whitewater rafting, kayaking and more.
We still have about five weeks left in our summer season and after that we have a typically beautiful fall to look forward to. I hope we all get the opportunity to enjoy where we live this summer and take a step back from our busy lives to spend time with family and friends.