camping,  Outdoor recreation

Summer in Southern Tier: Things to do for your bucket list – Pressconnects

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In the summertime, when the weather is fine (hopefully!), the Southern Tier of New York state offers a smorgasbord of places to go and things to do.

With most pandemic restrictions lifted, several popular festivals are returning after their absences left big holes in the summers of 2020 and 2021.

From wine tasting in New York’s famous Finger Lakes Wine Country to hiking in a state park known as the “Grand Canyon of the East” and everything in between, including county fairs, concerts and sports, there are plenty of opportunities to make the summer of 2022 one to remember.

Here are a few to put on this summer’s bucket list

Spend a day in Corning

The Corning Museum of Glass: Browse 3,500 years of glassmaking history at the world’s largest glass museum. You and your family can do just about anything with glass, with the help of  experienced glassworkers. For more information, visit

Gaffer District: Visit the historic, tree-lined streets to discover independent boutiques offering unique finds for every age, style and budget. The Gaffer District includes more than 100 local artisans.

Nightlife: With over 45 restaurants in downtown Corning, there is something for every palate. Enjoy the famed Market Street nightlife with a craft beer, fine wines and a chill atmosphere.

Camping: 21 unique spots to try across the Southern Tier

Dining: From chicken to pork to vegetarian, here are the top spiedie recipes for every taste

For subscribers: Want a little adventure while camping? A herd of bison awaits at this NY ranch

Head out to a ballgame

Before they become Major League legends, diamond stars typically spend time in the minors, where game tickets are more affordable and the ballpark experience often includes special events, promotions and fan giveaways.

Fans can watch the professional progress of future New York Mets and other up and comers this summer in Binghamton and Syracuse. 

Binghamton Rumble Ponies

The Mets’ Double-A affiliate plays at NYSEG Stadium in downtown Binghamton and sparks are guaranteed to fly with 14 fireworks shows scheduled during the 2022 regular season. Other promotions include four Spiedie Saturdays, Thirsty Thursdays with 2-for-1 pricing on regular fountain drinks and domestic draft beers and Luau Night on July 8 with Elvis Tribute Artist Jeff Krick. Also, each Sunday home game (excluding Sept. 4) is a “Bark In The Park” game. Four-legged friends receive a complimentary reserved grandstand ticket in Sections 111 or 113 to enjoy the game and bark the Rumble Ponies to victory. For ticket information and more, visit

Syracuse Chiefs

The Mets’ Triple-A farm team plays at the newly renovated, 11,117-seat NBT Bank Stadium. There is ample parking, a variety of food and beverage options and endless promotions, including “Kids Eat Free NBT Bank Family Sunday” when children 12 and under receive a voucher good for a bag of chips, a 12 oz Coca-Cola beverage, a kids Hofmann hot dog and a Perry’s ice cream. For tickets, visit

Attend a county fair

Allegany County Fair, July 18-23: “The fair with the country smile” returns for its 177th edition at the Angelica fairgrounds in mid-July. Displays and exhibits showcase Allegany County’s rich agricultural heritage. Don’t miss the popular Demolition Derby on the last night.

Steuben County Fair, Aug. 16-21: Carnival rides, harness racing, 4-H shows, a horseshoe pitching tournament and a watermelon eating contest are just a few of the highlights scheduled for the 203rd Steuben County Fair in Bath.

Broome County Fair, July 26-31: The fairgrounds in Whitney Point hosts an impressive lineup of entertaining events, deliciously sweet and savory foods, contests and livestock auctions at this 147th annual fair.

Chemung County Fair, Aug. 2-7: Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge at the 180th Chemung County Fair. Enjoy the rides, displays and a variety of tasty treats on the fairgrounds, 170 Fairview Road, Horseheads.

Get your head in the clouds

Great Wellsville Balloon Rally, July 15-17

Thousands of spectators watch hot air balloon launches from Island Park in the Village of Wellsville. Admission is free. Bring a camera for some of the most spectacular photographs imaginable. Afterglow and tether rides may be available. For launch times and other details, visit

New York State Festival of Balloons (Dansville, N.Y.), Sept. 2-5

The Dansville Airport hosts the official New York State Festival of Balloons over Labor Day weekend. The six scheduled hot air balloon launches are just the beginning of the fun. Enjoy arts and crafts, an international food court, a car show, music and more. There is a $5 entrance fee. Children under 12 are admitted free. For additional details, visit

Check out a food festival

Owego Strawberry Festival, June 17-18: Owego’s iconic Strawberry Festival is coming back to the village’s historic downtown after COVID-19 forced cancellations in 2020 and 2021. Hosted by the Historic Owego Marketplace, past festivals have attracted hundreds of vendors and as many as 20,000 visitors. There’s a block party, a parade, crafts and best of all, strawberries. To learn more about the 40th Owego Strawberry Festival, visit

Finger Lakes Wine Festival, Watkins Glen: After a two-year absence, the Finger Lakes Wine Festival returns July 7-10 to Watkins Glen International Speedway for a 25th anniversary celebration. Experience the event that readers of USA Today have voted the country’s “Best Wine Festival.” Sample more than 90 New York state wineries and artisan food vendors, explore educational wine seminars and enjoy pace car rides around the 3.45-mile race course, live music and more. It’s all in the heart of New York’s famous Finger Lakes Wine Country. The festival opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For ticket information and more, visit

Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally Expo: The three-day festival, Aug. 5-7 at Otsiningo Park in Dickinson, features the Binghamton area’s most popular culinary creation, the spiedie —  marinated cubes of beef, chicken or lamb cooked on a skewer and typically served on a long roll. Spiedie Fest began as a modest spiedie-cooking contest in 1984, and the competition remains a major attraction. The balloon rally includes more than 20 hot air balloons operated by pilots from all over the country. Spiedie Fest also offers a variety of vendors, carnival rides and a car show. For more information, visit

Go to the races

Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y.

Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen Weekend, June 23-26: One of the most prestigious sports car races in North America, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returns in late June with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. The third leg of the Michelin Endurance Challenge features world class drivers and a diverse range of premier Prototype and GT manufacturers. The weekend of nearly 24 hours of on-track activity also includes the Michelin Pilot Challenge Tioga Downs 120, MX-5 Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup and Lamborghini Super Trofeo. Visit sahlens-six-hours-of-the-glen

NASCAR Weekend, Aug. 19-21

The ARCA Menards Series: The ARCA Menards Series returns on Aug. 19 for the second consecutive year. The series first raced at The Glen in 2001, but then didn’t return for 20 years to the historic Central New York road course before racing in 2021. For race details and more, visit nascar-arca-menards-series-race

NASCAR Xfinity Series: The Watkins Glen race on Aug. 20 will start the five-to-go countdown for the conclusion of the 2022 Xfinity Series regular season, and will be the last chance for drivers to flex their skills on a road course in an attempt to get into the postseason. Additional race information at nascar-xfinity-series-race

NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen: The NASCAR Cup Series returns Aug. 21 to Watkins Glen International. There will be added pressure on the drivers in this year’s Go Bowling at The Glen, as the race moves to the penultimate race in NASCAR’s regular season and will help set up the Playoff field. Last year’s Go Bowling at The Glen was won by Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson, who went on to capture the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series championship. For more race details and ticket information, visit

Explore a state park

Letchworth State Park, Castile: Winner of  the 2015 USA Today Readers’ Choice Award for Best State Park in the United States, Letchworth is renowned as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs — as high as 600 feet in some places —surrounded by lush forests. Hikers choose among 66 miles of trails, which are also available for horseback riding and biking. Letchworth offers nature, history and performing arts programs, guided walks, tours, a summer lecture series, whitewater rafting, kayaking, a swimming pool and hot air ballooning. For more information, visit

Mark Twain State Park and Soaring Eagles Golf Course, Horseheads: Named for the19th-century author who spent summers in the area, Mark Twain State Park is home to one of the most scenic and challenging 18-hole courses in the area. Soaring Eagles Golf Course has a unique 18-hole design with only two parallel holes. The excellent conditions for this course were created thousands of years ago by a retreating glacier, which laid down hundreds of feet of sand, gravel and silt. Buried ice blocks slowly melted, leaving water-filled depressions or “kettle ponds” on the course. To register and book tee times, go to /

Chenango Valley State Park, Chenango Forks: Bird watchers can study woodpeckers, nut hatches, warblers and thrushes. Anglers fish for trout, bass, perch and bullhead in Chenango Lake. Campers choose from among 184 campsites and 24 cabins and golfers will appreciate the 18-hole Chenango Valley State Park Golf Course.

Stony Brook State Park, Dansville: The park features a rugged gorge in the rolling hills of Western New York. Camping, picnicking, swimming and hiking are available. The North Entrance has a picnic area with tables, grills, restrooms, playground, a natural stream-fed pool and an entrance to the hiking trails. Hikers can choose among three trails, all about one mile long with stairs, making them moderately difficult. The Gorge Trail is the easiest and most scenic. The Rim Trails climb the towering cliffs through the woodlands that overlook waterfalls and fascinating rock formations. To take a virtual tour, visit

Go to a concert

Tag’s, 3037 Route 352, Big Flats: The outdoor music amphitheater at Tag’s boasts a lineup of superstars from country, metal and pop performing on the summer stage. Shows include Clint Black with special guests Neil McCoy and Little Texas, June 10; the Heavy Metal Meltdown Tour featuring Queensryche with Quiet Riot and Kix, June 11; “I love the 90s” night with Vanilla Ice, Coolio, Rob Base, Tone Loc and Young MC, July 22; the Happy Together Tour with The Turtles, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, The Association, The Buckinghams, The Vogues and The Cowsills, Aug. 2. Call 1-800-650-TAGS or purchase tickets online at

The L, 116 Breesport Road, Horseheads: The venue will present an eclectic lineup of artists this summer. Bands and acts include As I Lay Dying, June 26; Lita Ford, July 22; Bark at the Moon (the ultimate Ozzy Osbourne Tribute). Aug. 6; Beatlegacy, Aug. 13. For the full schedule of acts and tickets, go to

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