H’port seeks ‘Coolest small town’ title

John Zick

The contest to crown America’s coolest small town is effectively down to three, and Hammondsport needs a late charge to earn the title.

With less than a week until voting closes, Hammondsport leads Beaufort, N.C., in Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Town in America 2012 contest. At the time The Courier went to press, Hammondsport held a slight edge in online voting – 30.0 percent to 29.1 percent.

Weaverville, Calif., is currently third with more than 18.7 percent of the votes. None of the other seven finalists have more than 6.0 percent of the votes.

Voting ends Tuesday. The winner will be determined entirely by online voting. Votes from the same computer are allowed once every 24 hours.

Nearly 650 towns were nominated for the contest last fall. The finalists were determined by online voting, which Hammondsport won, and Budget Travel staffers.

“It’s pretty cool that Hammondsport’s the only town in New York state still in the running and included in this prestigious collection of small-town America,” state Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, said. “I’m proud that we can help rally support for one of our own.”

During the nomination process, Hammondsport leaders explained what makes their town cool.

“The things we offer,” Hammondsport Mayor Emery Cummings said. “Our population is real low. Our community is just nonstop between events. The shops are all full, and new shops are opening all the time. The wineries. The bed and breakfasts. The restaurants. It’s an amazing place.”

Said Marybeth Haar, office manager at the Hammondsport Chamber of Commerce: “I think there’s a diverse amount of things that go on. We have wineries, the lake, aviation history, the geography of area, festivals, the art community – things that appeal to a lot of different people.”