ilnylogo_stakt-hires.jpgAlbany, N.Y. - As spring spreads its warmth across New York State, festivals and activities celebrating the state's bounty, outdoor attractions and heritage are sprouting up. New York State ranks among the top wine, fruit, dairy and berry producing states in the nation, and farms, wineries and breweries across the state are increasingly opening their doors to visitors. Factor in its protected wilderness--more state-designated wilderness land than any state (except Alaska)-and New York State's many pivotal roles in the history of the country, it's easy to see why the season of awakening is filled with activities for visitors.   What follows is just a sampling of the many festivals and special events happening statewide this spring:   Winning at Wine. New York ranks third in grape and wine production in the U.S., producing highly-regarded wines in more than 35 varieties. Spring is a great time to hit the road and see New York vineyards as they head into their growing season. Many, such as Clearview Vineyard in the Hudson Valley which re-opens to visitors in April, offer live music and other entertainment in addition to free tours. To sample a broad array of wines, head for the Capital-Saratoga region where The Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail hosts the Hudson Berkshire Wine & Food Festival on May 25-26  at Columbia County Fair grounds in Chatham, showcasing about 50 wine, craft beer, spirit and cider producers and a farmers market along with food and wine speakers and demonstrations. At the trail's Pasta & Sauced Passport event on April 20, each venue will serve its own version of mac (macaroni) & cheese as part of a people's choice contest. In the Chautauqua-Allegheny region, wines and works of local artists are on tap, during Lake Erie Wine Country's Wine and Art Saturday wine trail April 13, while artisan cheeses are featured during the Wine & Cheese Weekend May 3-5.   Tasting New York. Ramps (wild leeks) are one of the earliest signs of spring that locavores grazing the restaurants and farm stands of New York State are likely to encounter. Showcasing locally-sourced, inventive farm-to-table cuisine, Hamptons Restaurant Week in Long Island takes place now through April 14. In the Finger Lakes, the United Way of Seneca County is sponsoring the 25th Annual Taste of Spring fund-raiser on April 25 at the Waterloo Holiday Inn, featuring tastes of local foods and wines. In the Catskills, a five-course tasting menu by Chef Ed O'Neill at the Andes Hotel Restaurant using fresh local farm fare is featured in the River Run Bed and Breakfast Taste of the Catskills package.   Farmers markets and food, beer and wine festivals also shift into gear every spring. For example, in the Catskills, TAP New York craft beer and fine food festival at Hunter Mountain April 27-28 offers the chance to sample over 200 individual beers from over 70 craft breweries around New York along with daily cooking demonstrations. The annual Rip Van Winkle Wine & Cheese Festival on May 11 at Historic Catskill Point offers samplings of local wines, cheeses as well as crafters and music.   Waking up to Nature. N.Y. Park State Campgrounds re-open on May 17, but visitors don't need to wait until then to enjoy the trails and events at NYSparks.com. This year it is even easier to visit with the free Oh Ranger! NY State Parks app that allows users to search by location. There's also an easy to use on-line event finder.   Birdwatchers flock to the southeastern shores of Lake Erie in Chautauqua County from now to May to spot raptors and other migratory birds before they embark on their journeys across Lake Erie. The Roger Tory Peterson Institute and Jamestown Audubon Center offer world-class visitors centers with exhibits, nature trails, programs and gift shops.   When it comes to trout fishing, Roscoe, New York is the top destination in the east. Fishing enthusiasts can also compete in the 14th Annual Ausable River Two-Fly Challenge, slated for May 17-18 in Wilmington, in the Adirondacks region. And in the Finger Lakes, the Wild Water Derby and Flat Water Regatta, April 27-28, is one of many ways to have fun on the water.   Many resorts, inns and hotels around the state also highlight special outdoor activities in their spring packages. For example, the Margaretville Mountain Inn in the Catskills, offers guided and individual on- and off-road biking, canoeing and hikes to lovely waterfalls, and the Roxbury Motel features an early evening guided kayak tour hosted a NYS licensed guide to spot bald eagles, heron, osprey, beaver, muskrat and other wildlife.   Two-wheeling the Trails. Spring is an exciting time for road and off-road bicycling and motorcycling events. The Hunter Mountain Spring Classic Bike Race, a 39 mile on-road race with an exciting start and finish at Hunter Mountain, is slated for May 11, while the 31st Annual Americade in Lake George, slated for June 1-8, offers riders a plethora of Adirondack motorcycling events activities and tours.   Groovin' to the Music. Warm weather means music festivals in New York State. In the Catskills, the East Durham Irish Festival on May 25-26 features Irish entertainers from the Old Country as well as New York along with Pipe Bands, Irish Step Dancing Schools and a children's "Land of the Leprechauns" area. The renowned Paul Taylor Dance Company will perform at the Catskill Mountain Foundation's Orpheum Theater in Tannersville on May 22. Radio Woodstock Mountain Jam Fest IX on June 6-9 at Hunter Mountain features national recording artists and local bands, and country music will be theme June 13-15 at Hunter Mountain's Taste of Country Music Festival. The Adirondacks will host the Tug Hill Bluegrass Festival, June 14-16, at the Maple Ridge Center in Lowville.  In the Hudson Valley, Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival music festival will take place June 15-16 at Croton-on-Hudson.   Parading the Past. New York State's intriguing past can be experienced at historic sites in every part of the state where exhibits, discussions, costumed interpreters and re-enactments bring the past to life. Interested in the French & Indian War? Fort Ticonderoga's Eighteenth Annual War College of the Seven Years' War, May 17-19, 2013 draws historians from across the U.S. and the public is welcome with pre-registration. The Warren County Bicentennial in the Adirondacks will bring a year full of fun and serious events, such as an $18.13 three-course menu every Wednesday and a special encampment with re-enactors, live music and fireworks on Old Home Days on June 14-15. Other events include a World War II Encampment, May 18-19 at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Long Island.     The ultimate community parades and parties happen on Memorial Day. Waterloo in the Finger Lakes, the birthplace of Memorial Day, will have events from May 24-27, including canal tours, horse and wagon rides, music and food. Hague in the Adirondacks celebrates on May 25 with games, vendors, marching bands and a Civil War-themed memorial service. At Niagara Falls State Park, Characters of History reenactments, with costumed interpreters bringing Niagara history to life runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.   The Art and Craft of Spring. Whether perfecting a craft or appreciating fine art, visitors will find New York bursting with creativity. On April 28 in the Greater Niagara region, LeRoy Historical Society's Barn Quilt Rally provides maps and directions to hand-painted barn quilts on the sides of buildings around the town plus refreshments, entertainment and a chance to watch quilts being painted and even lend a hand at various stops.   A new arts trail event in the Finger Lakes, Steuben County's Arts in Bloom will showcase local artists on April 27 - 28 with studio tours as well as short scheduled performances by musicians, poets, and dancers at public venues. And in the Capital-Saratoga region, the first annual Fine Arts and Crafts Festival on April 27-28 will feature original works by top artists and craftspeople at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy. Van Cortlandt Manor and the other historic mansions of the Hudson Valley also offer a variety of hands-on crafts and other events this spring.   And lots more. Antiquers and classic car lovers can head to Central New York for the Madison Bouckville Spring Antique Show on May 31 - June 2 at Quaker Acres. The annual Oz-Stavaganza May 31- June 2 in Chittenango celebrates native son and "Wizard of Oz" creator L. Frank Baum. In the Hudson Valley, UFO's are the theme for children's activities, crafts and costumes at the Pine Bush UFO Fair on April 27 in Pine Bush. The Finger Lakes welcomes the golfing season with a $50 gas card promotion for accommodations packages at two championship courses: Ravenwood Golf Club, host of 2003 and 2009 New York State Golf Championships and the 2004 U.S. Open Qualifier, and Bristol Harbour, a Robert Trent Jones designed course with amazing views of Canandaigua Lake. You'll find more spring activities ideas at http://www.iloveny.com/ and http://www.thebeat.iloveny.com/. About New York State New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York's attractions span from landmarks such as Niagara Falls, to the wine trails of Hudson Valley and treasures like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Whether it's wide-ranging outdoor activities for the whole family like fishing, hiking and boating, culinary wonders and farm-to-table fresh foods, or the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies, New York State offers diverse activities for all travelers. For more information, visit iloveny.com. Media can find press releases and more at thebeat.iloveny.com. Follow the I LOVE NY social media channels for news on tourism in New York State. From NYC to Niagara Falls and all points in between, there's so much to love to LOVE in NY! Check out I LOVE NEW YORK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for great ideas for your next getaway. Follow I LOVE NEW YORK on social media: Facebook: Facebook.com/ILOVENY Twitter: @I_LOVE_NY Instagram: ILOVENY YouTube: YouTube.com/OfficialILoveNY Pinterest: Pinterest.com/ILOVENY Flickr: Flickr.com/OfficialILoveNY

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CONTACT: Melanie Klausner                       M. SILVER - A Division of Finn Partners                       (212)-754-6500, ext. 243                       Melanie.klausner@finnpartners.com                         Eric Scheffel                       Empire State Development                       (518) 292-5274                       escheffel@esd.ny.gov