BEMUS POINT - Santa surprised travelers who stop at the Chautauqua Lake Rest Area on I-86, a few miles past the Chautauqua Lake Bridge in the eastbound lane.
Being caught up with his Christmas duties, Santa, portrayed by volunteer Patrick Harvey, can be seen around this time of year on Sundays as he volunteers at the Information Center. As the Information Center winds down for 2012, the 40 volunteers who staff the center seven days a week all year long, reflect on the tourists and travelers they have assisted, helping them locate area businesses, attractions and activities. Many of the volunteers are Retired Senior Volunteer Program members and enjoy helping the tens of thousands of people passing through the area.
Moving into the new year, the volunteers will provide travelers with information about skiing, snowmobiling, Lake Erie Wine Country, Chautauqua Institution and the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy among the many other sites throughout the county and other areas of New York State. Handouts showing how easy it is to stay in the area and tour Chautauqua County's lakeside villages are helpful to tourists. Many people decide this is a great place to stay and explore. More than 170 participants have promotional brochures or travel guides at the Information Center. Their information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year 'round. Real estate information along with dining, lodging and historic sites are popular requests.
Patrick Harvey, a volunteer at the I-86 Rest Area Information Center, dons Santa’s hat to welcome visitors during the holiday season.
Throughout the year, the Information Center, managed by the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, is able to provide display space at no cost for the purpose of promoting upcoming events, museums, area attractions and programs. Current displays include the Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy, Jamestown Arena, snowmobiling, Lake Erie Wine Country, Findley Lake and Peek 'n Peak Resort. For more information on visiting the area or displaying information, contact the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau at 866-908-4569.