Make Wellsville a Vacation and Tourist Destination

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Kayakers hit the water for a Genesee River Wilds swimmer this summer.

Somebody build an ark? It seems like it has been raining and sometimes hailing every day for weeks. Did you recently see the photos from I-86 between Friendship and Olean? It looked like a winter storm suddenly dropped inches of snow in July. Turned out to be hail. This is something we don’t have to deal with too often.

I remember traveling to Texas with my mom and sister about 25 years ago for Christmas time. My father passed away last summer and neither of us wanted to be home for Christmas, so we decided to visit my sister’s old friend in Lone Star state. Pat had lived in Texas for about 10 years before bringing Kit and Kaboodle and five children back to Wellsville.

As we stopped at various locations between Arkansas and Fort Worth, I noticed cars covered with dents the size of golf balls. After finally discovering several dented vehicles, I asked Pat if she knew what it was. She said it was from hail.

Another good reason to live in west New York. There can be hail in July, but it’s not the size of golf balls.

There’s a lot going on here in the forest. There are several meetings for the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. Congregations from Willing to Fillmore host the project coordinators for public meetings to explain the project and solicit ideas. The problem with us is that we don’t think of the Genesee River as a boardwalk. But from Washington to Delaware, there are communities nationwide that line their boardwalks with rides, theaters, and grandstands.

We can do the same. We just need a little imagination. Go out and attend your ward meeting and dream a little. Meetings were held in Willing, Wellsville, Scio and Belmont this week, and several more are on the agenda:

20th of July

Angelica Grange Hall from 4pm to 5.30pm

Belfast Bingo Hall from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

21 July

Fillmore Park Pavilion from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

It can take 20 or 25 years for scholarships to become available, or it can take months or a few years. Who knows? But when it’s on a plan, it’s more likely to happen.

We’re also waiting to hear about the Genesee Valley Rural Revitalization Grants submitted earlier this year. We received 23 applications from Wellsville alone. The application process also resulted in downtown Wellsville being designated a National Historical District by the Landmark Society.

I’ve always wondered why Angelica and Cuba have historic neighborhoods, but Wellsville doesn’t? Well maybe that will change.

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The past year has made me realize how dependent the village is on the Great Wellsville Balloon Rally for entertainment and catalyzing other activities – pizza and wings competitions and trivia competitions. Before the recent village-wide yard sales were organized, it looked like a pretty boring summer without a balloon rally or rally parade. However, with just the yard sales and Music on the Lawn ending in mid-August, there’s not much to look forward to other than lunch on the library terrace and the Wine Walk.

What happened to Gabby Hayes Days and can’t we bring it back? I know it was said at the time that nobody knew who Gabby Hayes was. In my eyes, it just means it’s time to educate people.

I think it’s time to revamp GHD and celebrate Wellsville’s legacy. It doesn’t have to be a cowboy, somehow shoot her. It could be a theater and variety event, as Gabby left town as a young man to step on the boards long before he became anyone from Hopalong Cassidy to Roy Rogers’ buddy.

Some of the GHD activities were memorable – the shootings, lookalike contests, panning for gold. They could be expanded with a variety-style talent show, chili or barbecue competitions, a cart-and-carriage horse parade in honor of Trigger and Buttercup, a pet or dog show, or both, and of course, grocery and craft sellers.

Why can’t Wellsville celebrate its heritage the way Bolivar celebrates Oil Days, Cuba celebrates Dairy Days and Angelica celebrates Heritage Days?

For some reason, everyone seems to think that special events have to stop in mid-August because everyone is going on vacation. I’m not going on vacation in August. I really don’t know a lot of people who do that. We also need to think about where everyone is going and become one of those places.

Long-time Wellsville Daily Reporter and The Spectator reporter and columnist Kathryn Ross writes a weekly column that appears in print on Fridays.

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