Open Doors Invites Guests: Sampling Jamestown’s Best

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Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut

The City of Jamestown once again opens its doors. Doors Open Jamestown (DOJ) welcomes new friends and old to sample its finest wares, special attractions and culinary delights on Saturday, January 16 between 10 am and 5 pm. In addition to the 16 venues and attractions (six typical examples are described below), nearly two dozen restaurants will add their own welcomes with specials, samples and special deals, whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or late into the night.
Attractions and venues in Doors Open Jamestown don’t represent Chamber of Commerce members only, according to Jason Toczydlowski, Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce coordinator, but a broad spectrum of local businesses aiming to spur regional economic development and create strong local business collaboration and marketing partners.
Doors Open visitors need only say “Doors Open Jamestown” to get their special discounts, deserts, drinks, meals and more. Each restaurant and eatery will have its own version of a DOJ surprise or special indulgence.

Self-guided Tours
“It’s a chance for people to experience for themselves some of the great places in Jamestown they don’t see every day,” said Edwin Rodriguez, events and marketing associate at the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation. “And admission is free wherever you go.”
“We always make a whole day of it with our kids for Doors Open Jamestown,” a local mom said while visiting the Gateway Train Station recently. “We look over the list and plan our route together,” she added. “We make our own tour, see our favorite places and a few new ones too.”

Raffles and Treats
Every one of the 16 attractions will also present a gift-basket raffle that each visitor can put their names in for. Each basket will have a $20 gift certificate from the Chamber of Commerce that can be redeemed at any of the attractions. Each basket will also contain a special gift contributed by each of the other attractions. Each basket will be the same, but each visitor can enter at every location.
“We call it a Swag Swap,” Rodriguez said. “No matter where you go, you have a chance to win something from every one of the attractions.”
As a special plus, some of the attractions will also be holding a separate raffle drawing for one unique, high quality item of their own.
The Martz-Kohl Observatory, for instance, one of this year’s new Doors Open Jamestown attractions (a short ride from Jamestown atop Robin Hill Road in Frewsburg), will be raffling a complete 70mm, refractor telescope and tripod, in addition to the DOJ raffle gift-basket.

Hall of Fame
“Come on in and let us treat you to a cup of hot soup on a cold winter day,” Randy Anderson, director of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame said, describing his attraction. “It’s on the house, Knorr Soups contributed by Jamestown native, Michael Muzza of Golden State Foods.” Admission to the Hall of Fame will be free during Doors Open Jamestown.
In addition to the raffle gift-basket chock full of Swag Swap treats from all the other attractions, CSHOF will also hold a raffle for a new, state of the art LG flat screen TV donated by Acme Appliance, a free CSHOF one-year membership ($30 value) and a ticket to the CSHOF banquet in February ($50 value) where the raffle winner will be revealed.
“I was amazed by Chautauqua County’s place on the American, world and Olympic sports scene,” Rodriguez said. “I was new to Jamestown then and the Hall of Fame just blew me away.” From record breaking motorcycles to championship footballs to famous sluggers’ bats, uniforms and life stories, Anderson promises the vast display of amazing Hall of Fame memorabilia will be well worth a Doors Open visit.

Jim Roselle  and Russ Diethrich to broadcast live with Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame Director Randy Anderson as they welcome Doors Open Jamestown visitors for a cup of soup and an unforgettable tour.
Jim Roselle and Russ Diethrich to broadcast live with Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame Director Randy Anderson as they welcome Doors Open Jamestown visitors for a cup of soup and an unforgettable tour.

Live, On the Air
Jim Roselle and Russ Diethrick will air their popular Saturday morning program, The Times of Your Life, live from the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame between 10 and 11 am during Doors Open Jamestown. Interviews may include a variety of local sports notables, Hall of Fame volunteers, and very possibly – as anybody who knows about Jim Roselle’s favorite “Do Drop Inn” studio format – he will interview a few local folks who happen to drop in through those open doors.

Lucy is in the House
The year 2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Jamestown premier of “Forever Darling”, the box office hit romantic comedy starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, and James Mason.
Doors Open Jamestown at the Lucy Desi Museum will feature continuous screenings of ‘Forever Darling” in the Tropicana Room. “Drop in and bring some popcorn,” Steve Neilands, marketing specialist at Lucy Desi said, inviting guests to watch their favorite scenes or the whole movie in the comfortable and historic Tropicana setting.
The museum will offer its own raffle basket in addition to the DOJ gift-basket. It promises a special collection of Lucy Gift Shop items with special emphasis on the ever popular, annual Comedy Festival.

Prendergast Library
“We want the library to be a place that makes you feel warm and homey on a cold winter day,” Tina Scott, Prendergast executive director said.
Prendergast will start their Doors Open Jamestown experience by offering visitors a novel class in nutrition (10 to 12 am) with tasty, healthy treats freshly prepared in the library’s main lobby for all to watch and sample (11 to 12 am). The program will be presented by Stephanie Caputo from Eat Smart NY.
“We want people to come to the library,” Scott said, “especially if they can give a child a fun experience here. The day will also feature a story time celebrating Peter Rabbit’s 150th anniversary of publishing. The ever growing library book sale will be in full swing and the Doors Open Jamestown basket giveaway raffle and more are expected to swell the library’s usual 600 daily visitor tally by at least a few hundred more.

Martz-Kohl Observatory
In addition to its telescope raffle, Martz-Kohl has contributed a CD of some of its best and most dramatic astrophotography to the Swag Swap raffle basket at each one of the Doors Open Jamestown attractions.
The astronomy club started by Marshal Martz in the 1950s is now one of the premier astronomical observatories in the US northeast. The addition of the Kohl Observatory (donated by local amateur astronomer, Dr. Ron Kohl) and major construction projects funded by a consortium of local foundations, have now created the Martz-Kohl Observatory (MKO) with three major research telescopes. MKO collaborates with local schools so students can robotically control a telescope from their classrooms and carry out their own astronomical observations and research.

Little Theater
The Lucille Ball Little Theater (LBLT) will offer rare tours of the almost never seen and historically rich four lower levels of the theater building along with its busy back stage and working areas. Director Helen Merrill and her husband, stage set designer, builder and theater structure specialist, Norm Merrill, will personally conduct the tours along with Bob Ostrum, LBLT president and frequent star of many of the theater’s most popular shows over the years.
“We’ll have coffee and cookies in the lobby, too, and scrap books and pictures of the theater’s history for people to see, whether or not they take the tours,” Sharon Bergstrom, LBLT office manager said. Then she added with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, “And if you’re lucky and you take Bob’s tour, you might even get a song or two out of him.”
LBLT’s contribution to Swag Swap will be two free tickets to any show in the upcoming season in every raffle gift basket in each Doors Open Jamestown attraction.

Family fun at Jamestown Audubon's Doors Open Jamestown event.
Family fun at Jamestown Audubon’s Doors Open Jamestown event.

Fenton History Center
“It’s a social gathering day,” Joni Blackman, executive director of the Fenton History Center, “this seems to be a central place people like to meet and then travel together to see all the downtown sights. In past years, we’ve averaged 750 visitors in just 6 hours.”
2016 will be the 11th year Fenton has served as a key attraction in Open Doors Jamestown. Admission is normally $10, but as with all DOJ attractions, admission to Fenton’s unique and historically vivid displays and artifacts preserved out of the 19th century are free on Saturday, January 16.

Know More
According to FACEBOOK: Doors Open Jamestown 2016, “For one day of the year, local Jamestown attractions offer FREE admission, raffles, and special offers to the community! This event is our thanks to you for supporting our organizations throughout the year.”
“We want to create ‘Hometown Embassadors’ to send our message wherever Jamestowners go across the country,” Toczydlowski said. “Our community has great businesses and world class attractions worth bragging about, and that’s what Doors Open Jamestown is all about.”
The invitation is open and the promise is good; Doors Open Jamestown is a day worth planning and enjoying.

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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.