February can be the coldest month of winter, but that’s no reason to stay indoors. There are plenty of fun festivals, theater performances, art exhibits and culinary delights to experience and explore in Chautauqua County, New York’s western snow belt.
The 1891 Fredonia Opera House features a Live at the Met and Live in High Definition Series including Swan Lake, February 7, Iolanta & Bluebeard’s Castle, Feb 14, and Treasure Island, Feb 27. Due to the tremendous generosity of Opera House patrons, Dr. James M. and Marcia Merrins, the Opera House is able to present live and captured live broadcasts of productions from the renowned Metropolitan Opera and theatres around world including London’s National Theatre and Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet.
The Roger Tory Peterson Institute hosts The Art of Backyard Photography through March 8, 2015, partnering with renowned photographer Mathew Tekulsky to exhibit his stunning and colorful backyard bird images. Photos include eastern species such as the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Blue Jay, and American Goldfinch as well as western species such as the Allen’s Hummingbird, Hooded Oriole, and Scrub Jay, and all are featured in Mr. Tekulsky’s book Backyard Bird Photography (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014).
The annual Snowflake Festival takes place at the Jamestown Audubon Center & Sanctuary, February 7, 2015 from 10 am to 4 pm. This is a wonderful winter tradition with indoor and outdoor activities for the entire family including sleigh rides, arts and crafts, workshops, food, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on five miles of trails. Live birds of prey and other animals will also be attending and kids of all ages can try a variety of new things from building birdhouses to snowshoeing.
President’s Day Weekend brings with it the biggest event of the season with a Winter Festival at Lakeside Park in Mayville. Over February 13-15, 2015, wintry activities take place for all ages including contests for throwing snowballs, building snowmen and snow animals, and creating masterpieces with Legos. Annual favorites include a Polar Bear Swim, fireworks, flare parade, bonfire, horse drawn wagon rides, and when weather conditions permit, a castle made from blocks of ice harvested from Chautauqua Lake.
The Grape Discovery Center in Westfield offers new classes on wine appreciation starting in February. The four-part series begins with an Intro to Wine Appreciation on February 11th followed by the Fundamentals of White Wine on February 25th. The series continues in March with the Fundamentals of Red Wine, March 11th, and Sweet, Sparkle and Spirit, featuring dessert and specialty wines, March 25th.
Sample luscious combinations of wine and chocolate during Lake Erie Wine Country’s Wine and Chocolate Weekend, February 13-15, 2015. Each of 25 wineries along the trail from Silver Creek, NY to North East, PA will feature special chocolate themed food paired with select wines.
Heat up with the Soul of Flamenco on February 24, 2015, at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts. The exciting evening of dance features accomplished artists from the United States and Spain, touching on the universal themes of Pride, Passion, Love, and Sorrow, and striking a chord with audiences of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
In conjunction with the show, the 3rd on 3rd Gallery celebrates the grace, heat, rhythm and romance of the dance through Flamenco! an art exhibit February 16 through March 18. The Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 am until 4 pm.
Bring a companion or the whole family and join a sleigh ride through the historic grounds of Chautauqua Institution. Offered on Saturdays and Sundays until the end of February, rides run every half hour from 1 pm to 3 pm with tickets available at the Chautauqua Bookstore on Bestor Plaza.
For a full schedule of events throughout the year, visit the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau online calendar at www.tourchautauqua.com or call 866-908-4569.