Walk Right In, Step Right Up: Jamestown Opens Up Its Doors


Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut

Doors Open Jamestown Saturday, January 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. turns downtown Jamestown and the whole Greater Jamestown Area into an all-day block party with free admission for everyone, according to Zach Agett, event organizer at the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation.

Sixteen local attractions and nearly two dozen of the areas most popular restaurants and retail stores will partner together again this year for the annual Doors Open event celebrating the entire region.

“It’s the best day of the year,” said Randy Anderson, director at the Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame. “It’s a community celebration. You get to see people you haven’t seen all year.” Last year more than 300 people visited the Hall of Fame. “Coming downtown is like opening a present you’ve never seen.” The Hall of Fame will have a crock of hot soup to treat every visitor and a live radio show at 10 – 11 a.m.

Finding Hidden Gems
One long-time Jamestown resident named Mary said Doors Open made it fun to see some local attractions she’d often put off for years. “I had never been to the Lucy Museum, so I went last year and had a marvelous time. I was as completely fascinated by the TV technology Lucy invented as by her fashions.”

“Everybody I bumped into was having a wonderful time,” said one of last year’s Doors Open visitors. “It was a fun day with everybody in a good mood.”

“We used to think we were Chautauqua County’s ‘Best kept secret’,” said Gary Nelson, President at the Martz-Koll Observatory in Frewsburg. “But Doors Open changed all that for us! We’re not a hidden gem anymore. For the last two years between 200 and 300 guests came to tour the observatory, learned about our part in local school STEM education and came back later in the year to look at the stars, hear entertaining talks by NASA scientists, astronomers and others.

“We open our doors for hundreds of people every day,” said Tina Scott, James Prendergast library director. “That’s what we’re here for. For Doors Open Jamestown we’re inviting people to experience something new, the Maker Space. People can create with 3-D printers, experiment with materials and supplies of all kinds, craft home or school projects and much more. And our famous Book Sale is all year long now. At Prendergast you can borrow books and you can buy books. Stop in. Our door is always open.”

Free Admission – Big Prizes
Doors Open Jamestown features free admission and raffle prizes (all are free to enter) at every one of the 16 listed attractions shown above. Many of the attractions will also be offering special events or features on site. The raffle prize at every site includes a $20 Chamber of Commerce Gift Card and a big package of items contributed by every attraction, including tickets to shows/events/admission, gift certificates, books, bird seed, and apparel.

Doors Open Sponsors

  • Jamestown Up Close
  • Jamestown Renaissance Corporation
  • Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce
  • Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce
  • Supporting attractions and merchants

Brand new this year, a Grand Raffle anyone can enter by simply making a $10 purchase at any listed attraction, retailer or restaurant in Downtown Jamestown! The big winner will receive a free one free night stay at the new Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Jamestown, a $50 Chamber of Commerce Gift Card, $50 to any downtown restaurant of the winner’s choice, and $50 to any downtown retailer of the winner’s choice!

Entering the Grand Raffle will be quick and easy, Agett said. “Just take a picture of your receipt showing a $10 (or more) purchase at any single location, dated January 20. Send the picture and your name to zach@jamestownrenaissance.org, or stop by with your receipt at the information tent located at AIDS Memorial Park/Wood Park (E 3rd Street, by Potters Alley), before 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Winter Fun
The doors will be open on Saturday for great events worth “Seeing” and “Doing.”

“We want to make it fun for beginning skaters to start a new sport, or for kids and adults alike to just enjoy the arena,” said the Northwest Arena’s General Manager Craig Hinderleider. “Anyone who comes in can enjoy free skates and skating on Saturday, while staying warm on a winter’s day at the food concessions. They can enjoy watching a hockey match and figure skating on the arena’s second rink while they’re here, too.”

“I think it’s just exciting to have all these people downtown here and walking around the streets,” Agett said. “January can be kind of a down time after the holiday rush, so it’s fun to give people something they maybe haven’t seen before. All the downtown merchants are excited to meet new people and just give everybody a pleasant, old fashioned downtown experience.”

“I’ve had a lot of help getting Doors Open together,” Agett said, obviously delighted at the enthusiasm so many people brought to the job. This is his first year in the role of event organizer and marketing specialist at Jamestown Renaissance Corporation. Every attraction sent at least one delegate to our weekly Attractors Meetings for planning, and it seems like the whole city chipped in.”

Plan a Great Day
Follow Doors Open Jamestown on Facebook to get up-to-date information and notifications about the event, including the ever-growing list of attractions, a great selection of partnering restaurants with Open Doors specials, retailers and merchants connecting to make the whole event special. Also, check out the website www.doorsopenjamestown.com.

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation is a public-private partnership supporting downtown and neighborhood revitalization through inspiration, action, and celebration in the Greater Jamestown, New York, area. For more information on Jamestown Renaissance Corporation special events email zach@jamestownrenaissance.org.

Doors Open Jamestown: 2018 Participating Attractions

  1. Audubon Community Nature Center, 1600 Riverside Road
    a. Watch the animals feed between 12 and 3
  2. Busti Grist Mill, 3443 Lawson Road, Busti, NY
    a. Tours of the mill and machinery
  3. Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, 15 W. Third Street
    a. Soup available
    b. WJTN Radio on site from 10 to 11
  4.  Chautauqua Striders, 301 E. Second Street #102
  5. Daughters of the American Revolution, 70 Prospect Street
    a. Light refreshments
  6. Dykeman-Young Gallery, 100 E. Second Street
  7. Fenton History Center, 67 Washington Street
  8. Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, 301 E. Second Street #101
  9. Northwest Arena, 319 W. Third Street
    a. Free skate from 10 to 4 (Skating and skates free)
  10. Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, 2 W. Third Street
    a. Tropicana Room will be decorated. Cookies and coffee for visitors
    b. Screening Room – National Comedy Center pictorials, exhibit explanations and timeline
  11. Martz Observatory, 176 Robin Hill Road, Frewsburg, NY
  12. James Prendergast Public Library, 509 Cherry Street
    a. Makerspace will be open – play and learn about STEM based activities
  13. Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, 116 E. Third Street
    a. Theater Tours
    b. Movies at the Reg – Lady Bird at 8 p.m.
  14. Robert H. Jackson Center, 305 E. Fourth Street
  15. Roger Tory Peterson Institute, 311 Curtis Street
  16. Spire Theater, 317 E. Third Street
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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.