NICHOLS, N.Y. - Tioga Downs Casino in Nichols, N.Y. welcomed members of the media to an event that announced the upcoming racing season, which kicks off with their first live harness race at 6:50 p.m. on Saturday, and to announce the line-up of performers slated for this year's summer concert series.
Welcomed by Patrick Coleman, racing marketing manager for Tioga and Vernon Downs, the introduction of speakers followed, including Jason Settlemoir, regional vice president of racing and simulcast for the Tioga and Vernon tracks; Tom Osiecki, president and general manager of Tioga and Vernon Downs; and Linn Redder, director of marketing for Tioga Downs Casino.
Osiecki thanked everyone for their support in getting the word out about the events that take place at the casino, and for pulling together as a community to help them grow. According to Osiecki, attendance at the Tioga Downs facility increased by 15 percent over the last seven months. Osiecki also equated this growth to a six percent increase in their gaming revenue.
But Osiecki specifically noted track owner Jeff Gural's philosophy that if you give back to the community, then everyone grows together.
"Through this philosophy," Osiecki said, "we were able to give $15,000 back to the community last year through charitable contributions."
Redder spoke briefly of the summer concert series planned for this summer that includes a lineup of Blue Oyster Cult on May 28, Little Anthony & The Imperials on June 11, the Four Tops on July 2, Boyz II Men on August 20, and the Charlie Daniels Band on September 2.
According to Redder, Tioga Downs wanted to make the entertainment affordable for everyone, and will be offering tickets at $10 each for the shows.
But the most enthusiastic of talks came from Settlemoir, who gave details about the first live harness race, planned at 6:50 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, at Tioga Downs. Settlemoir talked about the excitement that is building on the track, and shared his motto of Tioga Downs being a place "where fans and horsemen finish first."
Saturday also marks the date for the third annual Tioga Downs Kentucky Derby Fest, which will be celebrated with special buffets, a hat contest, a mint julep jamboree, live music and much more. The evening will be capped off with a live fireworks display.
To learn more about Tioga Downs' events or activities, visit www.tiogadowns.com. Tioga Downs is located along the north side of Route 17, and is two miles west of exit 62 in Nichols, N.Y.