Lighting production coming to Schuyler
SCHUYLER COUNTY--The Grist Iron Brewing Company in Hector will lease a portion of their property to the company AllPark Solutions for the first-ever Finger Lakes Fantasy of Lights festival.
Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development announced the Fantasy of Lights event Thursday, Feb. 26 and described it by saying, "It's an event (starting in August and running until at least October) that has a visual impact, it will have scale, it will have scope and it has to be a duration that is long enough that people and families that are planning can come. The reason it's so long, over several months, is to give families a chance to plan and visit. The goal is repeatability, the start of an annual event that would run multiple months and attract families at night," Cherry said.
Cherry said the production will include some 3,000 different structures of the display with millions of lights inside of them. Cherry said the Fantasy of Lights will take place over a mile of land and should take hours for people to walk through.
"It's pretty exciting that we have this and it's a chance to really put us on the map in this part of the state in the Southern Tier. And it's going to be beautiful, it's going to be absolutely beautiful," Cherry said.
Put on by AllPark Solutions, Cherry said the company has indicated they view the Finger Lakes as a hidden gem with untapped potential.
"They view the region as being pretty highly rated and growing--they are prepared to spend $200,000 to market this out of the region. They want to be a go to event that not only brings people who are already here for something else, they view this as an attraction in its own right," Cherry said.
She added that it is the hope of everyone involved that this year alone 100,000 visitors will come to Grist for the light show.
"In 2019 AllPark had similar events in Dublin, Paris, Miami, Charleston, Edinburgh, and more. They are internationally acclaimed with a great reputation--and each year they hope to put on a different themed show," Cherry said.
When previously interviewed about the possibility of a light show coming to the region Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk and Montour Falls Mayor John King said the extra people brought to the area by such a show would be an important economic boost to the area.
"While starting in the fall the idea is for the event to eventually move to the winter months and go into February or March," Cherry said, "the idea of this being that it will help lodging and restaurants in the region to stay open longer."
With an event of such a large scale eventually taking place in the winter, Cherry said that it would aid the region in achieving a year-round tourism industry.
"We want this event to move to our quietest time to help all of the small businesses and residents who rely on tourism. This will fit nicely with the aesthetic of Watkins Glen, Odessa, Montour and Burdett and I think this will help all of them," Cherry said.