One of the Jamestown area’s busiest winter events is the Doors Open day traditionally held the third Saturday in January. The Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce sponsors the event every year. Last year the event included 17 attractions, this year ten attractions are taking part on Facebook and YouTube. Everyone is invited to attend the premier on Saturday, February 27, at 12 noon. To participate, visit the Chamber Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JTNYChamber for more information. The ten attractions “open” this year are the Audubon Community Nature Center, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, Fenton History Center, Infinity Visual & Performing Arts, James Prendergast Library, Lucy Desi Museum, Martz-Kohl Observatory, Northwest Arena, Robert H. Jackson Center, Roger Tory Peterson Institute. The premier will take you on a visit to each attraction and chat about the attraction’s hours, offerings and new events.
New This Year
In addition to the event moving to Facebook and YouTube, it will feature a scavenger hunt based on the Wizard of Oz. Viewers are encouraged to find several scavenger hunt props that are hidden in plain sight throughout the event. Once viewers have found all the items, they can submit them to the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page until 5 PM on March 1 st . Prizes include a variety of baskets filled with goodies from the featured attractions and cash prizes. While the virtual tour of the attractions premiers on Saturday, February 27 at noon, it is available at any time afterward.
Joanna Dahlbeck, Jamestown Community Chamber Coordinator, is leading the creative team comprised of the attractions and other community stakeholders. The groups goal is to drive visitors, both local and out of towners, to the wide variety of attractions in the region. “The key person for this event is Jacob Feldt. He is a fantastic community member very connected to the Conduit Ministries work. His ability to produce this virtual event has kept the event alive through this difficult time,” says Dahlbeck, “the committee has worked so well together, and it has been a lot of fun.” The group has been working on the event since last November.
Jamestown is Amazing!
When you talk with Jacob Feldt you can hear the love and respect he has for Jamestown. “Jamestown is historic and beautiful. There is a lot here. It’s an amazing city,” Feldt says. He has many friends that own small businesses in town. He was doing a video project with each one to raise awareness of their
products, services, and locations when Joanna Dahlbeck asked him to join the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce Committee. “We have been meeting weekly to bring this project together. It’s a fantastic group of Jamestown committed individuals. We have had several hurdles to overcome given the pandemic, but we made do and adapted. This will lead to more video-based projects too,” said Jacob.
Local businesses were also asked to join the project by filming short commercials to add to the presentation. Ten businesses responded with creative advertisements of their offerings which are distributed among the interviews.
Celebrating Our Community Treasures
The filming process is as different as the event. Instead of the usual camera person, interviewer and attraction leader in the same room, Mr. Feldt is interviewing the attraction leaders over the Internet. The interviewees are using their phones and tablets to record their sides of the interviews in the attraction with the scavenger hunt items tucked away in the interview space. Leigh Rovegno, Executive Director of the Audubon Community Nature Center, welcomed the collaboration. “This is a great way to keep the event going through the pandemic. It’s a creative approach to meeting this challenge.”
“Jacob was professional, and a good interviewer. He is also the MC for the event,” said Noah Goodling, Fenton History Center Executive Director. “Doors Open is usually a very exciting day. We get hundreds of visitors, and maybe this platform will let thousands more see how great Jamestown’s attractions are.” He added, ”we have all spent this last year trying to keep in contact with our audience, while physical visits are so much better, this is at least a way to stay in touch.”
“Last year was my first year, I tried to visit as many of the attractions as I could fit in,” said Kristen McMahon, President of the Robert H. Jackson Center, “the process this year was as easy as possible. We are excited to share our new space. The construction is finally finished, and the new entryway is bright, airy and open. Our docents are here from 10 AM to 2 PM every weekday, and they miss seeing visitors. My hope is this virtual event will encourage visitors to come see us.”
“I was a bit worried. Technology is not my strong suit!” said Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson, adding, “Jacob did a great job. He made it so easy.” The CSHOF is open Monday through Friday, 12 noon to 3 PM. “In all fairness, downtown Jamestown is very quiet. Usually, we get visitors after they have visited the first things on their list like the Lucy-Desi Museum and the National Comedy Center. This year there are not many of those visitors. We are prepared with all the State suggested virus protocols. I’m here and love to talk about our local sports personalities.”
Anderson went on to congratulate Chamber employees Sheila Webster, Director of Marketing, Communications and Governmental Affairs and Joanna Dahlbeck for taking on this new idea. According to Anderson, “it needed to be done so we don’t lose the momentum from the previous years of success. I can’t wait to welcome the crowds again next year!”
Viewers can also learn about the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History during Jane Johnson’s interview. Jane is the Assistant Curator at RTPI. She set her interview up in the beautiful Breckinridge Room. “It was quite easy and relaxed,” said Johnson. RTPI suffered a small fire with significant water damage in December. The museum plans to re-open in May with a new exhibit.
We are all in this together. Let’s do our part to keep the attractions strong to make Jamestown better. Visit facebook.com/JTNYChamber at noon on Saturday, February 27, to discover your hometown’s treasures.