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How cool is Hammondsport?

    HAMMONDSPORT—Pretty cool.
    Hammondsport has tied for first place in Budget Travel magazine’s “America’s Coolest Small Town” online competition.  Voting ended at midnight, Tuesday, Jan. 31.
    Hammondsport ties with Beaufort, North Carolina.  The two were among the final 10 towns across the country being voted on in the competition.  Anybody could vote online each day over a period of months.  The contest attracted so much attention that the website crashed the last day of voting.  Despite the servers being down for more than six hours Tuesday, more than 30,000 votes were registered.
    Budget Travel released a statement on its Facebook page: “We made what we felt was the very best and fairest decision in this unusual situation. It was not a tie because it was ‘too close to call’ by the numbers alone. It was a tie because technical difficulties meant so many people were locked out of voting at a critical time, and casting a decision when all things were not equal in such a tight situation was, well, not equal.”  Budget Travel added, “We think both towns rock and encourage everyone to visit them.”
    Hammondsport and Beaufort will now both be featured in the September/October issue of Budget Travel magazine.  Budget Travel offers tips in planning, booking, and finding deals on trips.
    “I’m exhausted and overwhelmed – and extremely, extremely proud of the effort everyone put into this,” said Marybeth Haar, office manager for the Hammondsport Chamber of Commerce. “This is what shows how cool we really are.”
    “We couldn’t be happier,” said Peggy Coleman, president of the Steuben County Conference & Visitors Bureau. “While it would have been nice to have a decisive victory, given the circumstances, we’re thrilled with the outcome.  What this means for us in terms of advertising is huge. In a million years, we couldn’t dream of being able to pay for this kind of exposure. It’s very exciting.”
    Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) said in a release: “What a fantastic tribute to one of our great Finger Lakes towns, and what a great show of regional support to help Hammondsport rise to the top.  It’s one more way to remind the nation that the Finger Lakes region is alive and well, and still making unique and valuable contributions to America’s culture and economy.”






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