NEWFANE – Tourism officials in this lakeside town are betting on an enhanced mobile audio tour and revamped website to help draw even more visitors to Newfane and Olcott this year.
“We have quite a bit to offer,” said Barb Miller, who has served as president of the Town of Newfane Tourism Committee for the past few years.
Tourism has been a hot topic for decades in this area. In fact, Miller joined the committee at the behest of her mother, Jane Rathke, who became a member 25 years ago. It currently operates under – and is funded by – the town government.
“We have an old caboose at the corner of Route 78 and Route 18 in Olcott and the committee used to man that long ago because it was a tourist stop,” Miller recalled. “They would take turns, especially on weekends, to hand out information to tourists. We’ve been trying to promote our town for a long time. But we’ve evolved from that with our audio tour and website.”
“The revamped mobile audio tour allows visitors to get information about destinations in the area and the history behind them,” said Jason Mollica, who serves on the committee and is also in charge of its public relations. “When the committee officially launched this last year, it was a huge hit. Now, with our new website, which is compatible with smartphones and tablets, this gives a great overview of the area and gives tourists a reason to visit and stay.”
Mollica said the new website, which was recently redesigned by 15 Fingers, a Buffalo-based-- digital advertising and marketing company, is “more responsive, easier to access and it looks more appealing.”
“We want people to come away with a good knowledge of what else there is to do here, so that when you come back to visit, you might want to do something else, like take a charter out fishing, for example,” he said.
And the Newfane-Olcott area has plenty to offer. It has wineries on the burgeoning Niagara Wine Trail, it is home to the popular Olcott Beach Carousel Park and Lakeview Village Shoppes along the Lake Ontario boardwalk. Krull Park in Olcott hosts the Polar Bear Swim for Sight each March, as well as the Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival and Highland Games each September.
A very active membership keeps the Newfane Historical Society busy with the Apple Blossom Festival in May and the Apple Harvest Festival in September, as well as tours of its Van Horn Mansion in Burt.
Other festivals fill up the calendar year-round.
And, due to its envious location, it boasts world-class fishing and derbies on Lake Ontario and Eighteen Mile Creek.
In fact, Olcott was named the “Ultimate Fishing Town” in 2012 by the World Fishing Network.
Rounding out its offerings are its variety of restaurants, bars, shops, farm markets and lodging.
“We’ve had a heavy social presence for a number of years now and have had success with that, especially our popular Facebook page,” said Mollica.
“It seems more people are going for on-line information and almost everyone uses a smartphone now – I finally graduated to one, too,” Miller said. “So we’re really reaching more people now.”
Both committee members are excited about a new summer development this year.
The Town of Newfane and Olcott Beach Community Association have long sponsored fireworks July 3 over Lake Ontario, but an anonymous Olcott Beach family has donated extra fireworks dates this year.
“They just wanted more people to come and visit the area,” Mollica said. “So, now we’ve been able to add five more dates for fireworks; July 10 and 23rd, and August 13 and 27 and September 6th. It’s a free event and easy to find parking. You can see the fireworks over Lake Ontario.”
“Regardless of the economy, you can bring your family here and not worry about spending so much money that you have to take out a second mortgage,” said Mollica.
“And, you can make a lot of great memories here. We’re really excited about what 2015 has to offer and what the future has to offer, too.”
For more information, visit: www.olcott-newfane.com or Facebook.com/NewfaneOlcottNY or the mobile audio tour at 280-6305.