Chamber planning weekend getaways to boost tourism

By Joe Moskowitz
If you are confused about where to go and what to do on a busy summer weekend, the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce wants to help. The chamber is coordinating the first of what are expected to be a number of area “Weekend Getaways” and will publish and distribute posters to help identify and promote activities on those weekends.

The first Weekend Getaway will be held over the weekend of August 23, 24, and 25 and there are a number of events scheduled for that weekend. They include stargazing at the Delaware and Ulster Rail Ride in Arkville, the Outdoor Experience on Main Street in Margaretville, comedy shows at the Belleayre Music Festival and RoxFestNY, a rock music festival at Stone Tavern Farm in Roxbury, among other events.

Lots to choose
Although visitors may not be able attend everything that will be happening that weekend, the chamber’s poster will list all of the bigger events so people will know what events there are from which to choose.

Chamber Executive Director Carol O’Beirne says there will probably be another Weekend Getaway promotion on September 28 that will include the Cauliflower Festival in Margaretville, and “Ski-Tember,” a new event to be held at Belleayre Ski Center.

Parade coming back
The chamber is also going to help bring back a popular event from the past. Chamber member Marc Levenschus, owner of Foothills Footwear in Margaretville, has agreed to try to restart the Thanksgiving Holiday parade in Margaretville. The parade was a popular kickoff to the Christmas shopping season, but fell victim to Hurricane Irene.

The chamber discussed some long-term issues at a meeting last Wednesday morning. One of them is how to take advantage of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) apparent willingness to open its land and waters for increased recreational use. O’Beirne says the DEP was expecting the area to promote some kind of big, Pepacton Reservoir based event this summer, but she says there is no chamber staff to organize a large event. When it was suggested that an event like a triathlon be held, which could utilize the reservoir and the Catskill Recreation Center in Arkville when that it is completed, the chamber was reminded of a problem that plagues many area event planners, the area’s lack of lodging for a large number of participants and spectators.