Chautauqua County’s Western roots to be celebrated

By Todd J. Tranum

President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

Ever since the discovery of a rare, antique Buffalo Bill Cody billboard in Jamestown, there have been attempts to bring the International Cody Family Association reunion to Chautauqua County. This year that has become a reality, and local residents and visitors are invited to immerse themselves in both the fun and the history of this event.

In 2002, a construction crew working on a collapsing brick wall unearthed a 10 by 26-foot advertisement for The Buffalo Bill Combination for a performance at the former Allen’s Opera House in Jamestown in 1878. The building was owned by the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, and the now-restored billboard is prominently displayed in the theater’s inner lobby, where it can be easily seen from the mezzanine.

The International Cody Family Association (ICFA) brings together the families of all living descendants of Philip and Martha Cody, who immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony about 1698. Among their descendants was Buffalo Bill.

ICFA will gather this year at Jamestown’s restored Gateway Train Station from July 24-27. A gift shop will be open at the Train Station, and there will be artworks on loan from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Ringling Brothers Museum, Pawnee Bill Museum, and private collections.

A Western Parade will highlight the festivities on Saturday, July 26. The parade will begin at 9 a.m. at the corner of Third Street and Foote Avenue, ending at the Train Station for a salute. The parade will include horses, antique wagons, antique cars, and bands.

In addition, the theme week at Chautauqua Institution that week is The American West, with a focus on how the West shaped our national culture. Among the speakers will be Jeremy Johnston, Curator of the Center of the West’s Buffalo Bill Museum and of Western American History, as well as Managing Editor of the Papers of William F. Cody. Mr. Johnston will speak both Friday and Saturday afternoons at Chautauqua, with his lectures presented in partnership with ICFA. In addition the Saturday night performance in Chautauqua’s Amphitheater will be its second ever Inter-arts Collaboration: Go West! The collaboration includes the Chautauqua symphony, opera, ballet, and theater companies.

Congratulations to Lee Harkness, the local driver behind efforts to bring the Cody Family Reunion to our community. His efforts over the past decade will pay off tremendously for the entire community this month when Buffalo Bill once again comes to Jamestown!

Special County Fair Preview Night for Chamber Members

Once again this year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will provide its members with a special preview evening and networking event at the Chautauqua County Fair. This special Chamber event is scheduled for Thursday, July 17 from 5:00-6:30pm. You can enjoy fair food, stroll along the midway, and have a great evening with other Chamber members and friends!

This event is sponsored by Chadwick Bay Broadcasting/WDOE/KIX96, DFT Communications, Fredonia Place, GPI Greenman-Pederson, Jamestown Jammers Baseball, Nestle Purina PetCare, OBSERVER, PNC Asset Management, The Post-Journal, and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX.

The cost is just $10 for pre-registered guests, or $12 for walk-ins. You can register online at, or call the Chamber at 484-1101 or 366-6200.

Chamber Golf Tournament August 14

The 2014 Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament will be held Thursday, August 14 at Peek’n Peak. This year’s event offers golfers a chance to play on the Peek’s Upper Course a championship caliber course which offers optimum playing conditions in a spectacular setting. A portion of the proceeds from this annual event benefit the Tom Baressi Scholarship Fund through the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.

The Chamber Golf Tournament is being sponsored this year by DFT Communications, Community Bank NA, Cummins, Inc., Dahlstrom Roll Form, Fredonia Place, Jamestown Business College, Jamestown Mattress Company, Lake Shore Savings Bank, Lawley-Tradition LLC, National Grid, National Fuel Gas, PNC Asset Management, and Shults Auto Group.

For more information or to register, visit the Chamber website at, or call 484-1101 or 366-6200.

Chamber Members Invited to Submit Photos

Members of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce are invited to submit photos of their events throughout the year for use in Chamber publications and online. We are always seeking ways to help recognize our members, and we invite you to submit photos to the Chamber that could be used in a variety of ways including the annual Business Builder Source Book, the Chamber’s Value of Membership brochure, and on our website or Facebook pages.

If you are a Chamber member and have photos of your business or a community event, please email them to Sheila Webster at Photos must be high resolution for print use. By emailing your photos to us, you acknowledge that you have rights to the photo content and are authorizing the Chamber of Commerce to use it with the photo credit you provide.