Archive for the ‘New York State tourism’ Category

New Season of Free ‘On the Canals’ Excursions Along New York State’s Canal System

June 17, 2022
Cycling on the Erie Canalway, part of the Empire State Trail, in Medina.  A new season of free “On the Canals” excursions along the New York State Canal system is sponsored by the New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation, offering opportunities to experience the waterways of the Canal system and the adjoining Empire State Trail. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

A new season of free “On the Canals” excursions along the New York State Canal system has launched. Now in its third year, this free recreational program, sponsored by the New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation, offers opportunities to experience the waterways of the Canal system and the adjoining Empire State Trail. This summer’s “On the Canals” excursions include kayaking, cycling, cruising, painting, birding, and accessible activities such as adaptive paddling and biking.

This season’s “On the Canals” program builds upon the successful first two seasons by expanding the types of activities offered, increasing participation by offering more outings over a longer period, and growing the number of locations across the Canal system where excursions are held. “On the Canals” will also be on hand at various festivals this year, with adaptive equipment available to try out. Itineraries this season include:

  • Paddle/Pedal in Brockport with adaptive equipment available
  • Bike Safety Rodeo and Repair Workshops in Buffalo
  • Black Rock Historic Bike Tour in Buffalo
  • Hydrobike & Kayak the Canal Aqueduct in Medina
  • Fish & Kayak at Medina Falls & Glenwood Lake in Medina
  • Kids Paddlesports on the Canal in Oswego
  • Introduction to Kayaking & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Oswego
  • Sunset Paddling and Urban Paddle in Oswego
  • Montezuma Wetlands: In Search of the Bald Eagle in Montezuma
  • Painting Alongside the Canal (En Plein Air) in Amsterdam and other canalside locations 
  • STEAM Workshops for Kids & Teens in Schuylerville and Utica
  • Bike & Boat Cruises in Schuylerville
  • Cycling Tours in Schuylerville and surrounding areas
  • Guided Kayak Tours in Buffalo, North Tonawanda, Waterloo and Macedon
  • Historic Boat Tours in Schuylerville, Herkimer, Buffalo and on Seneca Lake
  • Youth Kayak & Water Safety in Macedon
  • Intro to Cycling & Bike Maintenance in Schuylerville
  • Paddle/Pedal in Halfmoon

“I am thrilled this free program is returning for a third season and can think of no better way to spend the summer than ‘On the Canals,’ as these recreational activities bring New Yorkers and tourists alike to our waterways and trails and help support our local economies,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “As a frequent boater on the Canal and having kayaked and cycled during the first two seasons of ‘On the Canals,’ I know firsthand how spectacular these recreational opportunities are. I look forward to this new season offering unique experiences that allow for families and individuals of all abilities to enjoy our historic Canal system.”  

New York Power Authority Interim President & CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “The ‘On the Canals’ excursions program is an innovative use for New York’s Canal system, and one that has enticed travelers to visit and experience it for what it really is – scenic water and trailways steeped in rich history offering boundless opportunities for exploration and recreation. I am grateful to Governor Hochul for continuing to invest in our canals and I am certain that these excursions will continue to make New York’s Canal system a force for economic growth and recreation.”

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “I am incredibly proud to join Governor Hochul and our colleagues at the New York Power Authority as we officially launch this year’s ‘On the Canals’ summer excursions with new offerings that make this program more accessible than ever. Our Canal system is a fundamental part of our state’s history and should be enjoyed to its fullest capacity by all New Yorkers and visitors who come looking for education, adventure, and fun, and I encourage everyone of all ages and skill levels to spend their summer experiencing New York’s most iconic waterways and trails ‘On the Canals.'” 

Those interested in learning more about the “On the Canals” program or to sign-up for an excursion may do so by visiting the “On the Canals” website. Additional excursions will be launched throughout the year.

Initially piloted in the summer of 2020 as “NY Canal Staycations,” the “On the Canals” program has expanded as a year-round recreation initiative in New York State after participation nearly tripled in 2021.

“On the Canals” is funded through the New York Power Authority and Canal Corporation’s Reimagine the Canals initiative – a $300 million effort to revitalize the Canal system as a tourism and recreation destination while simultaneously boosting economic development and improving the resiliency of canalside communities.

The New York State Canal system, which provides unique and unparalleled experiences, officially opened in May this year for its 198th consecutive season of navigation.

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New York State Designates 2 Free Weekends for Out-of-State Snowmobilers

March 1, 2022

Registration Waived for Out-of-State Snowmobilers for Promotional Weekends 

$4.2 Million for Snowmobile Trail Maintenance and Grooming Across New York State 

Governor Kathy Hochul today designated March 5-6 and March 12-13 for free snowmobiling by all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers. During these promotional weekends, the requirement to register in New York is waived for properly registered and insured out-of-state snowmobiling enthusiasts wishing to explore New York’s 10,500 miles of snowmobile trails. The Governor also announced up to $4.2 million for snowmobile trail maintenance and grooming will be distributed to local partners across New York State.

“New York is unrivaled in its natural beauty in all four seasons and offers a vast recreational trail system for snowmobilers to enjoy our stunning winter landscape,” Governor Hochul said. “New York State partners with local governments and snowmobile clubs who work hard to create an exceptional snowmobile network. By offering free snowmobile weekends, we are helping to highlight our trails to out-of-state visitors and boost our upstate tourism economy, while giving New Yorkers greater opportunity to explore their state.” 

Outside of this promotion, out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers are required to register their snowmobiles with New York State before hitting the state’s trails, stretching from the Hudson Valley to the North Country to Western New York. Participants in the free snowmobiling event must operate a snowmobile that is validly registered in their home state/Canadian Province and must carry any applicable insurance as required by their home state/province. 

This year’s Free Snowmobiling Weekends reinforce the importance of tourism to state and local economies, and New York’s commitment to rebuilding the industry in the wake of the pandemic. The invitation to out-of-state snowmobilers complements the governor’s multi-faceted “Bring Back Tourism, Bring Back Jobs” initiative. Earlier this month, I LOVE NY launched a new global marketing effort that included paid tourism advertising in overseas markets for the first time. Additionally, guidelines and eligibility screening tools for two tourism industry relief programs totaling $125 million in support are available online.

New York State is distributing up to $4.2 million for snowmobile trail maintenance to local communities in New York this winter. The local grants program is funded by snowmobile registration fees collected by the State Department of Motor Vehicles and deposited into the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund. County and municipal governments distribute the grants to about 230 snowmobile clubs across the state, which in turn groom and maintain the trails. The trail grants support 10,500 miles of designated trails across the state for snowmobilers to safely enjoy. 

Erik Kulleseid, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said,”New York State has so many options for outdoor winter enthusiasts to visit the Empire State. I’m grateful to the local governments and snowmobile clubs who help keep trail systems safe and well-groomed for residents and visitors who want to make New York their winter destination.” 

Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said,”Snowmobiling is a great way to experience the picturesque landscapes and winter wilderness throughout New York State. With thousands of miles of trails, visitors can choose from a variety of terrains that, combined with inviting lodging and delicious food and beverage experiences, can make for a rejuvenating getaway. Free Snowmobiling Weekends offer great opportunities for snowmobilers to come be a part of the excitement and natural beauty of New York State.”  

Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said,New York State and its local partners maintain a beautiful and extensive snowmobile trail network that we’re excited to showoff to our out-of-state friends. I encourage sledders to take advantage of these free snowmobiling weekends and enjoy in a safe and responsible manner.”   

Dominic Jacangelo, Executive Director, New York State Snowmobile Association, said, “We appreciate that Governor Hochul understands the economic impact of snowmobiling on the New York State economy, and that she wants to invite others to experience the amazing trail system that we have in New York State.” 

Trail conditions vary depending on snowfall amounts and other factors. Check the websites of area snowmobile clubs for information on trail conditions, including the status of grooming. The New York State Snowmobile Association website has information about snowmobiling and snowmobile clubs. Maps of the state snowmobile trail network are available on New York State Parks’ website here

A guide from I LOVE NY to snowmobile trips available in the state can be found here. 

The DMV reminds New York riders that snowmobile registrations must be renewed annually. DMV allows snowmobilers to renew registrations online on the DMV website, by mail or in person at a DMV office. Snowmobile registration costs $100, but is decreased to $45 if the snowmobiler is a member of a local snowmobile club. 

Non-New Yorkers who wish to use a snowmobile in New York State before or after this promotional weekends can use the NYS Registration for Out-of-State Snowmobile service to get a 15-day registration and operate their snowmobile here immediately. DMV will send a permanent registration in the mail. 

For information on snowmobiling, visit parks.ny.gov. Visit the DEC website here for more information on snowmobiling on state lands. 

Finger Lakes Festival of Lights Underway

November 4, 2021
Finger Lakes Festival of Lights, a new, world-class, attraction featuring thousands of dazzling lights, is now open every evening through December.

Finger Lakes Festival of Lights, a new, world-class, attraction featuring thousands of dazzling lights, is now open every evening through December. More than 1,000 illuminated silk, porcelain and steel larger-than-life Chinese lanterns draw visitors through a magical path of discovery with each turn providing beautiful and unexpected moments of excitement and awe.

Seneca Lake was carefully selected for this incredible show because of its natural, outdoor setting known for its unparalleled vistas, crystal clear water and majestic trees and foliage. The show brings this scenery to life after dark, creating an experience that celebrates and enhances the natural world at night through artistic fantasy and illumination.

Produced by American Lantern Festivals Inc., the Finger Lakes Festival of Lights illustrates the story of a brother and sister who visit their grandfather in the Finger Lakes. Grandpa spins tall tales and stories about Seneca Lake.

The Finger Lakes Festival of Lights is a one-mile, self-guided walk through the woods, on a highly manicured path that’s accessible for people of all ages and abilities. The Festival is located behind Grist Iron Brewing in Burdett. The experience is open seven days a week, opening at 7PM with last entry at 9:30PM. (Grist Iron Brewing Company, 4880 NYS Route 414, Burdett, NY 14818, 929-434-1342, http://gristironbrewing.com/)

All tickets are single use general admission and allow entrance to the festival anytime after opening date.

Tickets start at $19.95 if purchased in advance online; the cost at the door is $30; children four and under enter free. Information and tickets are online, https://fingerlakeslights.com/

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New York State Begins Weekly ILoveNY Fall Foliage Reports; New Interactive Map

September 8, 2021
View from Chimney Mountain, The Adirondacks. ILoveny.com/foliage report helps you monitor the progress of fall foliage throughout New York State © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The 2021 fall foliage season is underway in New York State. Fall is one of the most popular travel times in New York, attracting visitors from around the world to explore the state’s unique communities and support local businesses. To help travelers and foliage enthusiasts plan a fall getaway, I LOVE NY will begin issuing its weekly fall foliage reports on Wednesday, September 8, and will now include a new enhanced interactive progression map (www.iloveny.com/foliage).    

The foliage report is compiled each week using the on-location field observations from I LOVE NY’s team of volunteer leaf peepers. More than 85 spotters extending across the state’s 11 vacation regions are tasked with keeping track of the color change in their area as leaves progress each week. Reports detail the predominant leaf colors, approximate percentage of change, and how much color change has progressed relative to peak conditions.  

New this year, I LOVE NY is introducing an enhanced, interactive map that tracks weekly foliage change and progression across the state throughout the season. The map, located on the I LOVE NY foliage website, showcases great foliage viewing locations in each of the various regions throughout the state. Visitors can also use the map to see what the foliage is like during peak viewing in a given area, and learn about nearby, must-see attractions. 

Thanks in part to its size and location, New York State has one of the longest and most colorful foliage seasons in the country. On any weekend from late September through mid-November, part of the state is likely experiencing peak foliage.  

“Every autumn, New York State’s spectacular foliage and natural beauty beckons travelers to our world-class state parks, majestic overlooks, historic sites and unparalleled attractions,” Governor Hochul said.”New Yorkers have long known about the stunning displays of color showcased all across the state, from Niagara Falls to Montauk Point. Now is the perfect time for residents and visitors alike to plan a fall escape and experience this incredibly colorful season in our great state.”  

“The fall foliage season in New York State is always a magical time of year, and the I LOVE NY weekly foliage report is a great tool for visitors looking to plan a seasonal getaway,” Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said. “Our new interactive fall foliage map highlights a variety of attractions and events, from harvest festivals to Halloween celebrations, craft beverage trails, museums and family fun, helping residents and visitors alike to find what they love while exploring the amazing palette of autumn colors on display across the state.”  

Travelers are also invited to share their photos of New York State’s amazing foliage on social media by using the #NYLovesFall hashtag. Photos submitted to this hashtag have a chance of being featured on the I LOVE NY fall foliage website and official I LOVE NY social media accounts reaching nearly two million followers. Reports and the new interactive map are updated Wednesdays throughout the season at www.iloveny.com/foliage.Reports are also available toll-free by dialing 800/CALL-NYS (800/225-5697) from anywhere in the U.S., its territories and Canada. For more information on how to volunteer for as an I LOVE NY leaf peeper, e-mail your name, address and phone number to foliage@esd.ny.gov.

New Camping Opportunities on New York’s Canals

July 10, 2021
The Erie Canal at Macedon. Tentrr now has a camping site at the Palmyra-Macedon Lock E-29 (Palmyra-Macedon which offers picturesque views of the Erie Canal and easy access to a whole lot of outdoor fun – especially biking on the Canalway © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Through a new partnership between the New York Power Authority, New York State Canal Corporation and Tentrr, the state is opening more hassle-free campsites alongside New York’s Canals this summer. As part of Governor Cuomo’s Reimagine the Canals initiative and the recently announced “On the Canals” excursions program, Tentrr created four fully-outfitted campsites for visitors to reserve, most within a short distance of a free “On the Canals” excursion opportunity.

Each of the Canalside camping locations offers turnkey, outfitted camping facilities, allowing guests to camp in style amongst the Canals. Each site is fully equipped with all the amenities for comfortable camping including spacious canvas tents atop a raised platform, queen size memory foam mattress, solar-powered showers, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs, set up in advance of arrival.

The campsites available this summer within 15 minutes of an “On the Canals” excursion include:

Yankee Hill Getaway (Amsterdam, Town of Florida) Wedged between the Adirondack and Catskills parks in the Mohawk Valley, the Yankee Hill Getaway site lies on a thin strip of land between the original Erie Canal and the current Canal system. Three sites available.

Oak Island Vista (Waterloo) Nestled between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, the beautiful Oak Island site offers easy access to the best of the Finger Lakes Region. Five sites available.

Montezuma Canal View at Lock E-26 (Galen) Campers at Lock E-26 will wake to views of the tranquil Erie Canal and have easy access to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and Northern Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. Six sites available.

Palmyra-Macedon Getaway at Lock E-29 (Palmyra-Macedon) The Palmyra-Macedon site offers picturesque views of the Erie Canal and easy access to a whole lot of outdoor fun. Five sites available.

To book, go to https://www.tentrr.com/pages/new-york-canals.

In addition to these new campsites, Camp Rockaway is managing a glamping site at Lock C-5 on the Champlain Canal in Schuylerville through September 8th.

Through the Reimagine the Canals initiative, Governor Cuomo and the New York Power Authority committed $300 million over five years to revitalize the Erie Canal corridor as a tourism and recreation destination while simultaneously boosting economic development and improving the resiliency of Canalside communities.

Broadway Theater Tickets Back on Sale for Performances Beginning Sept 14

May 7, 2021
Broadway theater, New York City’s Great White Way, will fully reopen its doors this September, in accordance with the New York State’s health and safety guidance. Beginning May 6, and throughout May, tickets for Broadway shows – which begin September 14, 2021 – are already on sale at 100 percent of theater capacity © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Broadway theater, New York City’s Great White Way, will fully reopen its doors this September, in accordance with the New York State’s health and safety guidance. Beginning May 6, and throughout May, tickets for Broadway shows – which begin September 14, 2021 – are already on sale at 100 percent of theater capacity.

The announcement builds upon the reopening of performing arts and live entertainment venues at limited capacities last month and further sets the stage for Broadway shows to return to theaters throughout the fall. 

“Broadway is at the core of our New York identity, and a big part of our economy which employees countless performers and show creators, and beginning this September, the show will go on,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.”Visitors from all around the world have come to New York to experience the arts and culture and see iconic performances on Broadway, and sadly, the pandemic put this unique New York experience on pause. Thankfully, as we continue to monitor the data and reopen our economy, we are now on track to allow full capacity performances on Broadway to resume beginning this September, bringing back this beloved world-famous attraction.”

Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said, “On behalf of the nearly 100,000 people who make their living on Broadway – on stage, backstage, and throughout the city and state – we are immensely gratified by the support of Governor Cuomo today. Restarting Broadway is a complex endeavor, requiring long lead times for productions the need to reconnect with a sustaining audience from across the country and around the world. Today’s green light by the Governor to put our shows on sale now for the fall is vital to our success. Broadway is the beating heart of NYC tourism and we can’t wait for the day soon when our hearts will beat before a live joyful audience.”

The State will continue to work closely with Broadway industry partners to plan for the safe, successful return of this world-class cultural experience.  As public health conditions and the State’s guidance for performing arts and live entertainment changes, Broadway stakeholders will remain flexible and adapt to applicable health protocols, such as face coverings, health screening, enhanced air filtration and ventilation, and rigorous cleaning and disinfection. 

The availability of advance sale tickets and marketing for shows begins the months-long process of reopening to full capacity, building momentum to sustain many long and successful Broadway runs.  The Governor, Department of Health, Empire State Development, and State agency partners join with the industry in their commitment to creating safe and heathy environments for audiences, performers, and employees to enjoy, perform, and work.  If performances need to be postponed due to the public health conditions, theaters have planned to offer customer-friendly refunds and exchange policies. 

To support the performance industry in New York City, the FY 2022 enacted budget included $1 billion in Small Business and Arts Relief and Recovery Assistance, which includes the New York City Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit Program which provides up to $100 million in tax credits to jump start the industry and revitalize tourism in New York City. Under this program, productions which have their first performance scheduled through December 2022 are eligible for a 25 percent credit on eligible costs. 

Prior to the pandemic, almost 250,000 people were seeing a Broadway show every week.  Broadway supports nearly 97,000 local jobs and contributes about $14.7 billion every year to the New York City economy.

For more information, visit the Broadway League, the industry’s trade association: www.broadway.org/

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NYS Greenlights Reopening of Performing Arts, Entertainment Venues

April 7, 2021
Bright lights of Broadway can shine again, as New York State allows reopening of performing arts and entertainment venues with capacity controls and health protocols © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Venues Will Be Able to Host Up to 100 People Indoors or Up to 200 People Outdoors; With Testing or Immunization, Up to 150 People Indoors or Up to 500 People Outdoors

Social Distancing, Face Coverings and Strict Health Protocols Required

Excelsior Pass Now Available for New Yorkers to Show Proof of Vaccination or Recent Negative COVID-19 Test to Attend Venues; Interested New Yorkers Can Use Excelsior Pass and Learn More Here; Interested Businesses Can Learn More Here

New State Guidance Available Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that performing arts and entertainment venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity beginning today. Venues can host up to 100 people indoors or up to 200 people outdoors. If all attendees present proof of completed vaccination or recent negative test result prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 people indoors or up to 500 people outdoors. Social distancing, face coverings, health screening and other health protocols will be required by all attendees, as well as strict adherence to all applicable Department of Health guidance, which is available here.

“New York’s beloved arts and entertainment venues have been hard hit by the public health guidance we’ve implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, and after a long and difficult period, I am glad to see them reopen their doors to New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “Attendees will need to follow strict guidance to keep themselves and others safe, but they’ll now be able to watch world-class performances and take part in our state’s thriving arts and culture scene once again. I encourage New Yorkers to get tested before attending events and to use Excelsior Pass to show venues that they’ve been vaccinated or tested before entering performance spaces.”

On March 26, Governor Cuomo announced the launch of Excelsior Pass – a free, voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM, which utilizes proven, secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines. Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app. Each Pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination. An individual’s data is kept secure and confidential at all times.

Interested New Yorkers can opt in to use Excelsior Pass and learn more here; interested businesses can opt in and learn more here.

On February 20, the Governor announced the launch of NY PopsUp, an unprecedented and expansive festival featuring hundreds of pop-up performances that will revitalize the spirits of New Yorkers with the energy of live performances and will jumpstart the state’s live entertainment industry. During the run of the festival, NY PopsUp will grow in its scale, volume of performances, and geographical footprint. Follow @NYPopsUp on Twitter and Instagram for the latest. More information is available here.

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Weddings, Baseball, Arts and Entertainment Resume in New York State

March 19, 2021
Wedding receptions and catered events can resume statewide in New York State, following the state’s strict health and safety protocols © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Wedding receptions and catered events can resume statewide in New York. All venues hosting weddings and catered events must follow the State’s strict health and safety protocols, including the following requirements:

  • Venues are restricted to 50% capacity, with no more than 150 attendees per event
  • All attendees must have proof of recent negative test result or proof of immunization prior to the event
  • Sign-in with contact information required to assist with potential contact tracing
  • Venues must notify local health departments of large events, above the social gathering limit, in advance
  • Masks will be required at all times except when seated and eating or drinking
  • Ceremonial and socially-distanced dancing allowed in designated areas

Detailed guidance for in-person and catered events is available here.

“New Yorkers have remained resilient throughout this entire pandemic, and the numbers show how effective our behavior has been in stopping the spread of this virus,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.”As the state’s positivity and hospitalization numbers continue to decline and we ramp up vaccinations, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer and we can focus on safely reopening different sectors of our economy without compromising the progress we’ve made. Weddings and catered events will now be allowed to resume across the state, with strict protocols in place to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers. This is great news – but we must continue with the practices that we know work to defeat this virus once and for all.”

The reopening of wedding receptions and other catered events builds on the Governor’s recent measures to further re-open the economy amid a steady decline in New York’s COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates.

Effective March 19th, New York City indoor dining expanded to 50 percent capacity and the rest of New York State increased to 75 percent capacity for indoor dining.

The MTA has partially restored overnight service on the New York City Subway.

On February 14th, the Governor issued an Executive Order extending closing times to 11 p.m. statewide for restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centers, casinos, billiards halls and any other location with an SLA license.

The Governor also announced beginning April 2, event, arts and entertainment venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity, up to 100 people indoors and up to 200 people outdoors.” And Citifield which is the home base for the Mets and Yankee Stadium will be able to welcome fans at 20 percent capacity.

New York’s Major League Baseball teams, the New York Mets and New York Yankees, can resume play with spectators in the stadiums, beginning April 1. Professional sports in large outdoor stadiums that hold 10,000 people or more will be allowed to reopen at 20 percent capacity. Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to strict state guidance on face coverings, social distancing, and health screening. The New York State Department of Health will re-evaluate the testing and vaccination entry requirements in May, and if the public health situation continues to improve, they may be discontinued in mid-May. Vaccinations will continue to be administered at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field during the MLB season.

Building on the recent reopening of large professional sports arenas, the Governor also announced that smaller, regional sports venues that hold 1,500 people indoors or 2,500 people outdoors can also reopen, beginning April 1. Initial capacity will be limited to 10 percent indoors and 20 percent outdoors. Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to strict state guidance on face coverings, social distancing, and health screening.

Governor Cuomo also announced that large outdoor performing arts venues, including stadiums, that hold more than 2,500 people can reopen at 20 percent capacity, beginning April 1. Venue capacity will continue to increase as the public health situation improves with more New Yorkers receiving vaccinations and fewer COVID-19 cases in the community. Attendees must show proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccination series prior to entry and are subject to strict state guidance on face coverings, social distancing, and health screening.

To re-open professional sports with spectators at large outdoor stadiums, each venue must adhere to strict health and safety protocols, including:

  • Obtain NYS DOH approval for ALL venues and events
  • Institute a 20 percent capacity limit
  • Ensure spectators and public-facing event staff present proof of a recentnegative COVID-19 test result or proof of vaccination prior to the event
  • Mandate face coverings, social distancing, and temperature checks for all those in attendance
  • Mandate assigned, socially distanced seating
  • Collect contact information from all those in attendance to help inform contact tracing efforts
  • Meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation, and purification standards for any indoor areas
  • Ensure retail, food services and athletic activities abide by all State-issued guidance

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National Comedy Center, Jamestown NY, Named Best New Museum in the Country by USA Today

February 29, 2020

National Comedy Museum e2

The National Comedy Center, the nation’s official cultural institution and state-of-the-art museum dedicated to comedy as an art form, was named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today as part of the 2020 USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards.

Jamestown,  NY — The National Comedy Center, the nation’s official cultural institution and state-of-the-art museum dedicated to comedy as an art form, was named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today as part of the 2020 USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards.

The National Comedy Center was one of 20 new museums nominated for the award by a panel of nationally-recognized travel journalists, tourism experts and USA Today editors for this USA Today travel award series, which celebrates outstanding destinations, attractions and experiences. All of the nominees were museums that opened over the past two years, including art galleries, science museums and children’s museums in cities across the United States and Canada, including Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis, Seattle, New York City, St. Petersburg, FL , St. Paul, MN and Edmonton, Alberta. The Comedy Center was selected as the #1 museum in the “Best New Museum” category by popular vote after a four-week voting period from January 20 through February 17, 2020.

“We are tremendously proud to be named the Best New Museum in the United States and Canada,” said Journey Gunderson, National Comedy Center Executive Director. “We have reimagined the museum experience with immersive exhibit design and unprecedented personalization. This distinction is a testament to the significance of comedy, and talented comedic artists, to our culture and our daily lives.”

“Our visitors — from all 50 states and 18 countries — already know what a must-see destination the Comedy Center is,” added Gunderson. “We look forward to welcoming thousands more comedy fans from across the country and around the world to the Best New Museum, here in Jamestown, New York.”

“The National Comedy Center team is grateful for the incredible support from our local community, the entire Western New York region, and from comedy fans across the country, all of whom voted for the Comedy Center to receive this national recognition and high honor” said Tom Benson, National Comedy Center project chairman. “It’s tremendous validation of the hard work and vision of our staff and board, our partner organizations, and our community, who believed in this project and worked tirelessly to make it happen.”

“The National Comedy Center is one of my favorite places in the world, and I am thrilled that everyone will now know what I already knew —  it is absolutely the best new museum in the country. It’s an extraordinary showplace for all things comedic –- and interactive from the moment you walk in. I promise you will smile from beginning to end. Now that the Comedy Center is officially the country’s Best New Museum, you need to make plans to visit. You won’t be disappointed,” said Lewis Black, comedian, actor, author and National Comedy Center Advisory Board member.

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “We are very excited that USA Today readers chose the National Comedy Center as the best new museum in the US and Canada. Anyone who loves comedy should plan a pilgrimage to this world-class, one-of-a-kind attraction as part of a New York State vacation that includes nearby destinations like the Lucy Desi Museum, the Chautauqua Institution, Panama Rocks and Niagara Falls.”

Last summer the National Comedy Center was named by TIME magazine as one of the “World’s Greatest Places” and People magazine selected it as one of its “100 Reasons to Love America.”

In early 2019, the National Comedy Center was nominated for the USA Today Readers’ Choice “Best New Attraction” award, where it was voted #2 out of 20 new attractions by USA Today readers and chosen as the #1 museum and #1 ticketed attraction in the USA Today poll.

The National Comedy Center is the United States’ official cultural institution and museum dedicated to presenting the vital story of comedy and preserving its heritage for future generations, as formally designated by the U.S. Congress in 2019. Opened in August 2018 in Jamestown, New York, the museum complex offers an unprecedented visitor experience using state-of-the-art technology, interactivity and personalization to create the first true 21st Century museum environment.

Comedy industry authority The Interrobang named the design team second on its list of “Innovators Who Changed Comedy” in 2018. Visitors from all 50 states and eighteen countries have given the Center a rare 5/5 raring on TripAdvisor, ranking among the highest in the attraction and tourism industry.

Based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for comedy, the National Comedy Center showcases comedy’s great minds and unique voices in ways that engage, inspire, educate and entertain. As a non-profit institution, the National Comedy Center was funded by a mix of federal, state and private philanthropic support, including partnerships with I LOVE NY, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State’s Empire State Development.

Design for the National Comedy Center was led by the most prominent cultural and interactive design firms in the world, whose portfolios collectively include the award-winning 9/11 Memorial Museum, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, The College Football Hall of Fame, SNL: The Experience, and more.

The National Comedy Center has been embraced by the entertainment industry, with props, costumes and archival material provided by many of the most revered names in comedy. The Comedy Center recently announced a major initiative to preserve Carl Reiner’s personal “Dick Van Dyke Show” script archive. Exhibition partners include the Kelly Carlin and the George Carlin estate, George Shapiro and Jerry Seinfeld, Dan Aykroyd, Alan and Robin Zweibel, Joan Dangerfield, The Lenny Bruce Memorial Foundation, Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, The Harold Ramis Family, The Garry Shandling Estate, George Schlatter, Bill Marx and the Harpo Marx Family, the Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams estate, Desilu Too, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Corporate Archive, and many more.

The National Comedy Center operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, which explores the lives, careers and legacy of the “First Couple of Comedy,” and the incredible impact they had on the world.

Now in its 30th year, the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in Jamestown has showcased comedy’s greatest stars and rising young comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Trevor Noah, Lily Tomlin, Jay Leno, Amy Schumer, Brian Regan, Lewis Black, W. Kamau Bell, Jim Gaffigan, Paula Poundstone, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers and more than one hundred other comedic artists. The 2019 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, presented by the National Comedy Center last August, was headlined by Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney. The 2020 festival will feature Jeff Foxworthy and Legends of SNL David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin Nealon.

Stay connected to the National Comedy Center:

Website: www.comedycenter.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nationalcomedycenter/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LucilleBallComedyFestival/

Follow on Twitter and Instagram at @ntlcomedycenter

 

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6th Annual Saratoga Balloon and BBQ Festival, Ballston Spa, NY June 21-23

June 18, 2019

The 6th Annual Saratoga Balloon and BBQ Festival is back again at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa, NY, June 21-23, 2019, with 30 balloons at each launch.

Ballston Spa, NY – The 6th Annual Saratoga Balloon and BBQ Festival is back again at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa, NY,  June 21-23, 2019. Due to the success of the BBQ last year, two new BBQ vendors have been added. There will be bountiful balloons, 30 of them at each launch.

Last year, after four successful years, the event organizers realized that they  wanted to create a bigger and better event, one that was less dependant on the weather. So the barbecue component was added as a protection against the weather. Festival organizer Tim Cianciola says, “The BBQ vendors and music alone are worth the price of admission.” He points out,  “With  all the  great entertainment, our audience can have an enjoyable day.  And let’s not dismiss the balloons; they are a spectacular sight. They ascend as a parade of skyward seeking colorful flying ships, actually, an  amazing happening.”

This year’s Festival schedule is filled with, kids activities,  bountiful BBQ, craft beer, wine slushies, bands, street performers, a trained dog show,  a marketplace with 100 booths including arts, crafts, specialty foods, pony rides, games, and the balloons. During the three days the Festival expects to launch up to 100 balloons. Perhaps, the most exciting  single event is the Friday evening Balloon Glow at dusk. Cianciola  says, “It’s magic, just pure magic.”

The show opens on Friday at 3PM and closes after the Balloon Glow at dusk. Saturday runs from 11 until 8PM. Sunday hours are 11-5.

Admission: Adult admission is $12 at the gate, kids $5.  Discounted Advance sales tickets are available on the the Festival website www.balloonandbbq.com. On Sunday, Family Day, all tickets are just $5 each for adults or children.

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