Doors Open Jamestown

Downtown Jamestown experienced more bustle Saturday than would normally be expected during a particularly cold January day.

The city hosted its ninth-annual Doors Open Jamestown event in which a number of tourist destinations opened their doors to thousands of area residents for free.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., people of all ages experienced the best that Jamestown and its many organizations have to offer. Participating in this year’s event were: the James Prendergast Library; Infinity Visual & Performing Arts; Lucille Ball Little Theatre; Jamestown Gateway Train Station; the Busti Grist Mill; the Jamestown Audubon Center & Sanctuary; the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History; the Robert H. Jackson Center; The Fenton History Center; the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum & Center for Comedy; the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts; the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena; the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame; and the Lucile M. Wright Air Museum.

According to Lee Harkness, general manager of the Jamestown Gateway Train Station, a steady stream of visitors made their way within and throughout the train station for the duration of the day.

“If it keeps going like it has, we’ll have about 2,000 people today,” Harkness said, reporting approximately 600 visitors only two hours into the event. “That’s what we had last year, and I was overwhelmed. But at least we’re prepared for it this year.”

Participating in its second Doors Open Jamestown event was the Lucile M. Wright Air Museum, which was crowded with dozens of children and their families. Children were allowed to sit inside the helicopter on the main floor of the museum, while Chris Centi, space science coordinator, gave demonstrations on homemade rocket launches and the remote control of a model Martian land rover.

“Things are going great so far; it’s been excellent,” Centi said. “I don’t know the exact numbers, but we’ve had a great turnout. The planetarium is operational, and we had a good turnout for that. The last group we had in there was about 21 people, which is more than we would normally have. So, it’s been great.”

New to this year’s event was the Busti Grist Mill, which provided visitors with a demonstration on its corn-cracking procedure for making chicken feed. John Siggins, a trustee of the Busti Historical Society, said the mill’s participation in Doors Open Jamestown was a worthwhile endeavor.

“It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve seen a lot of new faces, and that’s a good thing,” Siggins said, indicating that more than 30 visitors had stopped in approximately two-thirds of the way through the event.

Joni Blackman, director of the Fenton History Center, said the museum was on its way to a record year in terms of traffic flow.

“We’re tracking better than normal, and we’re seeing a lot of kids and families,” Blackman said. “And they’re not rushing through; they’re stopping and reading things. Most importantly, we sold two memberships. That may not sound like much, but it’s huge for us.”

Blackman later reported that the museum saw a total of 795 visitors by the end of the event, which is a record turnout for Doors Open Jamestown.

Each participating organization held a drawing for a basket that includes a $25 Shoptauqua gift certificate, a $10 coupon for LaScala’s Restaurant and items unique to each organization. Sponsors for the event were the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce Committee and the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation.

In addition to the attractions, a number of cafes and restaurants also participated in the event. They included: Mariner’s Pier; Babalu Cafe; Labyrinth Press Co.; Brazil; Sully’s Pub; Forte; Cherry Lounge; Shawbucks Press Room; Boomerang; LaScala’s Restaurant; Cibo; and Lisciandro’s, which was in its first day of operation since being closed due to damage from a Jan. 5 fire that also resulted in the closure of The Pub.