August 9, 2021
News, Happenings & Collaborations
Included in this Issue ...
We are pleased to share the following news, happenings, and collaborations with you! The information contained in this week's newsletter was shared with the Chamber on or before noon on the Thursday before it was sent. To have your information considered for inclusion in future issues, please submit your information on or before noon on the Thursday before you'd like it published.
  • Disc golf demos
  • Deck the Halls is on
  • Planning for Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions
  • History Walks in Montour Falls
  • Best Foliage: Vote Daily
  • Hot spots for cold fun
  • Grants from Congressman Reed's Office
Visit Watkins Glen
& Schuyler County
Watkins Glen
Area Chamber
Pandemic Spotlight Updates

Vigilance is the word of the day. Continue to check the CDC and State web sites for updates. Scroll down for helpful information. We will do our best to keep you up-to-date, but it is likely that there will be new updates as soon as we hit send!
NY Forward & Other Government News

  • Recent stats
  • Schuyler vaccine clinics & others
  • Join your neighbors and VaxUp
  • $800 million in grants for small businesses available
  • FEMA funds
Chamber News
Show your pride in our region! Bragging rights at stake.

The Finger Lakes is known for its natural beauty during every season, but especially during the Fall, when our rolling hills blaze with color. We are in contention for earning the distinction of Best Destination for Fall Foliage in USA Today's 10 Best Readers' Choice Awards for 2021. We have 20 days left to earn these bragging rights. Please bookmark this page on every device and click the blue "Vote" button. Vote every day on every device.
Join us at the second
August Mixer!

The Chamber has re-imagined the Alternatives Federal Credit Union Disc Golf event to be a Chamber mixer (members are free; non-members $10). On August 19, members are invited to attend a mixer at Castel Grisch. Bring a desire to play disc golf (and discs if you have them). Daniel Ragland, a recognized player with the Professional Disc Golf Association, will offer disc golf demonstrations, after which the course will be opened for casual play for Chamber members. The Chamber will have some discs available for those who want to try their hand at this up-and-coming sport. Cash bar, light bites, and raffles. Register online:

August 19 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm
Castel Grisch
3380 County Route 28, Watkins Glen
September schedule:
packed with networking opps!

We are thrilled with the positive comments we're hearing (and loving the socializing and networking we're seeing) at the Chamber mixers and socials. In September, please join us for these networking opps with fellow Chamber members and your community neighbors.

Cornhole Social (Sept. 2, 4:00pm to 7:00pm, Chamber members $10; Non-Members $15)
An evening on the Seneca Legacy (Sept. 8, 5:00pm to 7:00pm; Chamber members free; Non-Members $15)
Chemung Canal Trust Company Golf Tournament (Sept. 17, 9:00am to 5:00pm; visit for details and to register)

Thank you to our members who are supporting this year's Chemung Canal Trust Company 21st Annual Donald Brubaker Memorial Golf Tournament. Also, thanks to Alternatives Federal Credit Union, who is the Photo Sponsor, and Corning Credit Union and Visions Federal Credit Union, who are hole sponsors. Interested in becoming a t-shirt and/or beverage cart sponsor? Call or email Abby Lane for options!
Great space. Interesting history. Strategic networking.

More than 40 members networked and noshed at the first mixer in August. Many thanks to JR Dill Winery for providing tastings, the Bucket Bar and Grill for food, and the Elks for sharing their home and history. We are currently looking for 2022 mixer host locations and businesses who would like to spotlight their products. If you're interested, please call or email Abby Lane, Events Manager.
Time to plan for the holidays

As we're enjoying (really!) the gorgeous summer weather, we're starting to think snow. And holiday lights. And reasons of all kinds to bring guests to our region later this year. The Chamber has hosted one meeting with area leaders. A second meeting is planned for August (date to be announced). Please start thinking of ways you and your organization can participate in Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions. This umbrella event will incorporate the snowflake competition (snowflakes/info have been shared monthly in the Engager) and Watkins Glen's traditional Village Christmas. The event starts with Seneca Lake Wine Trail's first Deck the Halls event in November, continues with Small Business Saturday/Weekend and concludes with anticipated Valentine's Day events and specials. For more information and to share your plans/attend the next meeting, contact Abby Lane, Events Manager.
Marketing Opportunities

The Visitors are here. Summer is here. Share your message with several great marketing opportunities with the Chamber.
Window space at 214 N. Franklin Street: $125/month

Video segments at the State Park & at 214 N. Franklin: $130/month
Questions? Contact Executive Director Michael Hardy: or (607) 535-4300.
Hot spots for ice cream:
Roam the Empire campaign

The New York State Tourism Industry Alliance is in the midst of a season-wide campaign that encourages New Yorkers to Roam the Empire. Social posts on July 30 featured the Great Escape Ice Cream Parlor, Ben & Jerry's, and the Colonial Creamery. Are you posting to social? If so, remember to tag @roamtheempire
Let the Chamber know about
your events and summer traditions 

Let us help you celebrate summer traditions, holidays, and festivities! We want to share your events on our social media platforms and newsletters. Like us on all our social channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), and we’ll return the favor! Using this form, ( please submit your public event to notify the Chamber and its staff. Just a reminder ... the event calendar can be printed to share with future guests. Remember to print a few days ahead of their impending arrival and a few days after to encourage longer stays. Pending membership the Chamber will assist in promoting the event to visitors and locals alike! 
Hints from Hardy

Business and hospitality hints
from Michael Hardy

HINT 1 (Re)Consider masks
We are halfway through the Summer and going into the busiest part of it! With larger crowds and lots of visitors in our region, please remember to be aware of your environments when you are out and about. We love our visitors. We also love our health. Please reconsider wearing your masks, wash your hands frequently with warm soap and water, and physically distance yourself and those you care for from people outside your immediate circle. To be successful, we need to be open. To be open, we need to stay healthy.

Hint 2 Tips to handle negative reviews
Getting your first negative business review can take the wind out of our sails and can be a blow to our egos. How you respond can either spiral you down the proverbial rabbit hole or steer you in a more positive direction, possibly even changing the mind of the unhappy client. Check out this article for tips.

Hint 3 Burnout is real and destructive
I know I have come close a number of times this past 13 months to burnout. How about you? We here at the chamber know many of you, owners, managers, and employees alike are stretched thin. It does no good to work so hard and too long if you get burnout and can’t function soon after. Here are some great pointers from your fellow member and our EAP Service provider, Clinical Associates of The Southern Tier.
Join us for this month's only "Talking Tuesday"

Chat with the Chamber about pressing issues for tourism-based businesses in the Finger Lakes. The next "Talking Tuesdays" will be August 10 from 10am to 11am. This is the only Talking Tuesday this month. This session will primarily focus on Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions. At most upcoming sessions, we will review Domo+rove mobile device data collected for 2019, 2020, and into 2021. These mobile device stats are great for making marketing and advertising decisions for your businesses, both in the short- and long-terms. All tourism-based members and partners are welcome. All sessions are held via Zoom, and advance RSVP is not required. Coffee break, snacking, and /or brown-bag lunches during zoom are encouraged.
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 874 4108 3852 
Passcode: 896020
Live entertainment in Clute Park

Mark your calendar: On August 10, enjoy country melodies from the Dean Goble Band. Please note the venue change to Clute Park (formerly held in Lafayette Park). Performances begin at 7:00pm. Share this news with family, friends, and visitors.
Italian American Festival

The Italian American Festival committee is working hard to prepare for this year's event scheduled for Friday, August 13 and Saturday, August 14. At the moment, there are no events on Sunday. Bookmark this page for the schedule to stay updated.
Construction to the north

Construction continues in downtown Geneva, with sewer work, pavement cutting, and full-depth excavation. Please allow for additional time if your route includes Geneva. This will impact visitor traffic to Watkins Glen. Please share with your front line so they can assist guests and visitors who are making travel plans.
Member News & Collaborations
Updates all around

Does your organization have news to share? A promotion, a new service, a new product? New hours or location? Send us your news so we can help you share it. Looking for advertising opportunities? We have them too. If you'd like to encourage sales of your product line and/or service offerings, please contact Stephanie Specchio.
Deck the Halls returns in 2021

The Seneca Lake Winery Association, which most members of the public know as the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, is excited to announce the return of Deck the Halls later this year. Now celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Trail will hold the event on two weekends: November 19, 20, and 21 or December 3, 4, and 5. This event offers a great opportunity to try different foods and collect delicious recipes for the holiday season. At their starting winery, attendees receive a grapevine wreath, then a custom ornament at each winery to decorate their handmade grapevine wreath. Sixteen wineries are participating. Tickets go on sale on August 20 at 9am, with a variety of ticket options. For more information visit the website.
Featured collection
online at IMRRC

Explore the International Motor Racing Research Center's online collection entitled "Women of Speed." Enjoy photos, including extensive captions and captivating history, in our "Featured Collections" on the Center's website.
Donation from Elks Lodge funds Resident Lift

Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Health (CH) officials received a donation of $4,000 for the Schuyler Health Foundation from the Watkins Glen Elks Lodge. The donation will be used to purchase a resident lift for Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility. Thank you to the Elks Lodge for their support!
NASCAR driver appearance:
Protect Your Melon

NASCAR Xfinity driver Ross Chastain and his brother, Chad, visited with fans on August 5 at two Franklin Street locations (the State Park and the Village Square) Ross is a champion for the power of seatbelts to save lives with his Protect Your Melon campaign. The Chamber worked with the State Troopers and DMV to organize this event.
Award recognizes local leader

The Business Council will award G. Thomas Tranter Jr., a long-time friend and partner of the Business Council, with the Corning Award for Excellence at the Annual Meeting in September. The award is presented annually to a New Yorker who has exhibited exemplary accomplishment and a deep and sustaining commitment to the people of the state. The most prestigious award presented by Corning Incorporated and the Business Council is a magnificent piece of original Steuben Glass, handcrafted in Corning.

WGACC wants to congratulate "Tom" on this recognition. Executive Director Michael Hardy stated: “Tom has been instrumental on many levels in the healthy business environment of this region and most especially in his time, energy, efforts, and expertise lent to the five-county Finger Lakes Wine Country initiative.” Kudos Mr. Trainer!  
Chair of Alzheimer's Walk named
Representatives from the Walk to End Alzheimer’s (scheduled for October 14) has announced that Arie “Jan” van den Blink, CEO/Chairman of the Hilliard Corp., is serving as the chair for this year’s event. Jan walks in honor of his mother, Katherine “Nelson” Mooers van den Blink, who died from Alzheimer’s disease in 2017. Register for this year’s event, on October 14 at Watkins Glen International, by visiting
August is Wine Month
August is Wine Month in the Finger Lakes. Specialty tastings, unique experiences, virtual tastings & events, & happy hours/special menus at restaurants highlighting everything NY’s largest wine region has to offer. Stay in the know here: This is a great opportunity to help encourage guests and visitors to choose the Finger Lakes as their destination. Please include in your messaging and social posts.
Rebuild your workforce with SUNY CCC

Applications are currently being accepted for funding to train and rebuild your workforce! The funding can be used to support the following initiatives:
  • Public-Private Partnerships to Advance 21st Century Skills
  • Employer-Driven Skills so Training Leads to Quality Jobs
  • Workforce Solutions that Match Business Needs

For more information on project criteria and application process please click here.
History Walks in Montour Falls

Schuyler County Historian Gary Emerson is offering guided walks through historic Montour Falls on August 14 and September 11. A tour of the library starts at 10am then through the village and down the Catherine Valley Trail. Call the library or check Facebook if there is inclement weather. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Farm Sanctuary to the rescue

When 160 pigs were rescued in Tennessee, recently, Farm Sanctuary was there to help. They helped to strategize ways to complete the pigs’ first health checks, triage with a local veterinarian for more severe medical needs, and develop records for their newest pigs. Also, members of the Farm Sanctuary's animal care team went to Tennessee to lead a Sanctuary clinic week and completed 70 health checks during that visit. Hooves and tusks were trimmed, vaccines were given, new pig-moving methods were learned, and more.
Any and all accommodation members are welcome to share their food, entertainment, and packages with the Chamber. We will help spread the word here in our e-news and on our social media platforms and website. Please know that we do NOT have complete information on availability and openings. In most cases, we direct guests to, where they can find links to area lodgers. With this in mind, we hope you will keep your listings current and be sure to post your offers for the public and members on the WGACC Bulletin Board when you are checking out and/or updating your listing on the Simpleview Extranet.
Government News
Grants for small businesses

The successful recovery of small businesses is key to New York State's future. Empire State Development is happy to announce the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program is open now. It was created to provide flexible grant assistance to currently viable small businesses, micro-businesses, and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations in the State of New York who have experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grant awards will be calculated based on a business’ annual gross receipts for 2019:
•Annual gross receipts = $25,000-$49,999: $5,000/business;
•Annual gross receipts = $50,000-$99,999: $10,000/business; and
•Annual gross receipts = $100,000-$500,000: 10% of gross receipts (max grant is $50,000).

For eligibility requirements and more information regarding the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Program, please visit The program is administered by ESD and powered by Lendistry. Questions? Call 877-721-0097.
Non-medical private non-profits: apply for FEMA funds

Because the pandemic was declared a Major Disaster and is ongoing, public assistance is authorized for Category B Emergency Protective Measures related to the COVID-19 response. To mitigate the pandemic’s impact on nonprofits, New York State is launching a targeted initiative to provide information and training to NON-MEDICAL Private Nonprofits (PNPs) and intermediary organizations applying for FEMA funding to reimburse costs incurred as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. PNPs and their umbrella organizations are invited to FEMA overview sessions, offering an overview of the FEMA public assistance process as well as a number of COVID-19 disaster-specific topics and policies that FEMA has implemented. For more details on the initiative and related resources, please access the Grants Gateway site. To register for the informational overview, see below for next steps or access the Grants Gateway for more information.
Vaccine clinic info
In the area?
The following options are offered by Arnot Health. Those wishing to be vaccinated can register online at, call 1-800-952-2662, or take advantage of walk-in service up to 30 minutes before the end of the clinic. 
  • Every Wednesday in August, there will be a clinic at the Arnot Mall Event Center on County Route 64 in Horseheads. It runs from 10am to 5pm, with walk-ins welcome until 4:30pm. This clinic will feature all three brands of vaccine: Moderna for those 18 and older, Pfizer for those 12 and older, and the one dose Johnson and Johnson. 
  • August 10, from 9:30am to 4:30pm, vaccine will be offered on the Arnot Ogden Medical Center campus, 600 Roe Avenue, Elmira. The location is the Petrie Conference Room on the lower floor of the main hospital building. Please use the main entrance. This clinic will feature all three brands of vaccine: Moderna for those 18 and older, Pfizer for those 12 and older, and the one dose Johnson and Johnson. Walk-ins are welcome until 4pm.
  • August 13, from 4pm to 8pm, vaccines will be offered at the Italian-American Festival in Clute Park, Watkins Glen. This clinic will offer the Pfizer – which is authorized for those 12 and older - and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Walk-ins are welcome until 7:30pm.
  • August 17, from 10am to 2pm, vaccines will be offered at Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital in Bath. The clinic will take place in the Ruth Cole Conference Room and feature all three brands of vaccine: Moderna for those 18 and older, Pfizer for those 12 and older, and the one dose Johnson and Johnson. Walk-ins are welcome until 1:30pm.
  • Also for people in Steuben County, Arnot Health will be at the Steuben County Fair on August 21 from Noon to 4pm, with walk-ins welcome until 3:30pm.
In addition:
  • August 14, from 1pm to 3pm, vaccines will be offered at the Italian-American Festival at the Clute Park Pavilion. Visit Schuyler County Public Health online at
Stay informed:
Interested in tracking vaccine results? Bookmark this page:
For the latest updates on news and regulations, bookmark the New York Forward webpages.
Grant info from Congressman Reed's office
Add your happenings to the Public Events Calendar on our website!
Add your event quickly, easily, and at no cost. Click here for the submission page.

We will gladly feature your upcoming events and news on our social media channels and in our newsletter.
Contact Michael at (585) 721-6032 or send him your news
at by noon on Thursdays.

Office Phone: (607) 535-4300
Katherine Jack, Visitor Center and Office Administrator email
Abby Lane, Events and Membership-Engagement Manager email
Stephanie Specchio, Director of Communications and Marketing email
Kate Fuller, Marketing Consultant (Part-Time contractor) email
Michael Hardy, Executive Director email and (585) 721-6032 (cell)