2020 Chamber & Tourism Testimonial Contest Winners Selected

To celebrate National Travel and Tourism 2020 and Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism’s new tagline “Our Home, Your Adventure,” tourism agency held a testimonial contest wherein Wyoming County fans were encouraged to write a short story and/or recommendation about their favorite tourism attractions and experiences. 

“Who knows more about Wyoming County than the businesses, families, residents and fans that live, work and play here,” said Eric Szucs, director of tourism and marketing for the county. “With the COVID-19 crisis, we want to continue to share our special story, and with remarkable resources like Letchworth State Park, our unique attractions, family-friendly restaurants, abundance of retail opportunities, wide open spaces, and more — we offer tourists an incredibly rewarding experience. Through this contest we want to give our residents a voice in sharing what they love best, because they tell the best stories and these are the experiences and adventures we want to share.” 

The contest ran through June. The three winners selected to win a $50 gift card were: 

• Nancy Sellat, New York City 

• Ken Wallace, Castile 

• Carl Weber, Perry

Winners provided up to 500 words sharing their favorite Wyoming County adventures, recommendations, suggestions and what Wyoming County means to them. Main themes included the many experiences people can enjoy in Letchworth State Park, the connection visitors have with nature, our one-of-a-kind attractions, and more. 

The testimonials will be used as a future advertising and promotion resource, similar to reviews on Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. These testimonials may be shared on social media, the Wyoming County Tourism website, and through other marketing and promotional outlets with tourists that are traveling through our community looking for hidden gems, interesting locations and unique outdoor experiences. 

“Tourism is critical to the economic health of our county, and we are very fortunate to have almost 200 tourism-related businesses in Wyoming County,” said Scott Gardner, president of the Chamber & Tourism office. “Travelers are spending $49 million annually in Wyoming County — which generates millions in state and local sales taxes. This is an important industry to our overall economy which includes attractions, hospitality, and retail businesses across the county.” 

National Travel and Tourism Week is an annual tradition that was established by a Congressional Resolution in 1983 and first celebrated the following year. This nationwide week of events serves to champion the power of the travel and tourism industry. Travel and tourism is one of America’s largest industries, generating $2.5 trillion in economic output, with $1.1 trillion spent directly by domestic and international travelers. 

According to the U.S. Travel Association, tourism directly generated $170 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments. Travel and tourism is America’s largest services export industry and is one of America’s largest employers. Travel is among the top 10 industries and supports 16 million jobs, including 9 million directly in the travel industry and 7 million in other industries. 

One out of every 10 jobs in the U.S. depends on travel and tourism. Each U.S. household would pay $1,300 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel and tourism industry. 

The testimonial winners are below:

“Wyoming County means beautiful landscapes, rolling hills, verdant valleys, rich farmland, visible from almost any highway. It also means the unique geographical features of Letchworth State Park, with its roaring falls, layered gorges and nature-filled trails. Wyoming County means understanding of our country’s past with preservation of the 19th century architecture and ethos at Silver Lake Institute, with its quaint cottages and community programs. It means lively villages like Perry where much of the past is preserved but the future is welcomed, with arts, technology, and earth-celebrating programs. It also means celebration of and promotion of agriculture in its popular and traditional county fair in Pike. It also means delicious ways to sample local food products in farmers’ markets, local retail shops for cheese, baked goods and dairy meat, and a range of restaurants from fine-dining to locally prepared pizza and wings. It means relaxing gathering opportunities with two micro-breweries and a wine bar. Wyoming county means fun and recreation too with boating, fishing, biking and ballooning, golfing, and even a drive-in theater. Wyoming county means a place to love and to come back to.” 

— Nancy Sellat 

“Wyoming County to me is more than a place on the map but a home where I have lived my 66 years on Earth and never felt the need to leave. For me it offers everything I could ask for. Sure we smell the seasonal odor of manure being spread on the land, but this brings forth a bounty of crops that flourish here and grow abundantly to feed the livestock and people of this rural area. I love driving around the back roads and seeing all the farms that have been here for many generations. These farms provide many things for this county, employment, milk and food crops, and good land management. I also love the seasonal changes we experience here, although most of us will agree that winter is too long. Spring gives us delicious Maple Syrup products, Summer provides us with many types of outdoor pursuits, such as fishing, boating, drive-in movies and pleasant drives through Letchworth State Park. Autumn is hard to beat in Wyoming County with splendid leaf colors and cider mills producing sweet apple ciders and loads of harvest vegetables. Winter caps off the year with its own beauty with hiking and cross-country skiing and crisp fresh air. No matter what community you visit in Wyoming County you will be greeted with small town charm, where people you meet on the street will smile and say hello, you sure don’t find that in urban areas. So to sum it all up, I feel blessed that I was born here and grew up and worked here my whole life. Now that I am retired, I appreciate this county more than I ever have as it is my forever home.” 

— Ken Wallace 

Enjoying Wyoming County Maple Weekend is an annual affair It’s in March for everyone to share! Go visit all the sugar houses you can Take your family and a friend! You may need to wear a hood But the maple treats are so good! When the first week of May comes around Hershberger’s open house can be found! There’s a good meal to eat And have homemade pie for a treat! To Letchworth State Park you can go Have a happy picnic, you know! Visit the new High Bridge It’s above the Upper Falls on the ridge! A hot air balloon is a fun ride Something Balloons Over Letchworth can provide. Go high up in the air Get a view that doesn’t compare! If you love local history Visit the town museums to solve the mystery! The Arts Council is fun to visit Jackie always has an interesting exhibit! The Barn Quilt Trail is an adventure to share The many designs are fun to compare! The Pioneer Picnic is a good place to go With a chicken BBQ and a music show! Building the cabin was fun Check the museum to find out where the logs came from! Visit Creekside Fabrics to find out What “Yee Haw” is all about! When the first Friday of the month comes around At the Quilter’s Daughter the Hexi Club can be found Find out the direction the Underground Railroad was bound! The Attica and Arcade Railroad is a blast Take a ride on the steam locomotive from the past! Go to Camp Asbury for a retreat Or something good to eat. There are concerts at the 1894 Epworth Hall Open to one and all! The Charcoal Corral has a lot going on Food, concerts, cruise, even a pond! When there’s a change in the air It is time to for the Wyoming County Fair Checkout the new Agricultural barn And see what’s happening on the farm! January is the Winter Carnival at the Pike Fire Hall Enjoy the snow sculptures and the Chili for all! 

— Carl Weber