New York State saw a record number of tourists in 2018 with 252.7 million people. Many of them come in the fall to catch the fall color. A big portion of that number was from the holiday weekend at Letchworth State Park.
“My wife comes for the crafts,” said Jim Heuer from Middleport, NY. “I come for the hiking and the picnic.” Heuer has been coming to the Letchworth Art & Crafts Show & Sale for years.
What started as just a few vendors 44 years ago has spawned into an event that draws 60,000-100,000 people each year. Linda Lutz from Kentucky is from Western New York but had never been to Letchworth. “It’s beautiful,” said Lutz. “We were hoping to see the foliage, we were hoping to get it at peak and I think we did.”
For the artists, like Jack and Marian Paluh from Pennsylvania, the color is an inspiration. “It’s such a great contrast to the water,” said Marian Paluh. “The yellows and oranges, the yellows especially are just so beautiful.”
The Paluh’s say of the past seven years they have been selling their art, 2019 has been one of the best. They have had customers from thousands of miles away. Many of their paintings involve the falls.
“We actually had someone come from California, so I think that was the furthest!” Said Jack Paluh.
The three-day event is known as the top 50 best arts and craft shows in the country. The executive director of the Wyoming Arts Council Jacqueline Hoyt is proud of her entire team to put together the event. She says she finds joy in seeing the event enjoyed by so many families. “It’s a beauty to see all the families sitting on the picnic benches,” said Hoyt, “With their little bag of whatever beautiful art they’ve purchased and having something to eat.”