BEMUS POINT - Dan Dalpra is optimistic about the 2009 Bemus Bay Pops summer entertainment series.
Despite the economic downturn and the loss of donors and grant funding, Dalpra said "another big season" is still set for this summer in Bemus Point.
"I think we're in for a big surprise," Dalpra said. "We may see a more positive spin than most other areas in the U.S. have seen."
The Bemus Bay Pops summer entertainment series will begin its 12th year this season. As in past years, the 2009 series will feature a variety of types of entertainment for families to attend on weeknights as well as weekends — from a Jimmy Buffet tribute show and Elvis impersonator to the sixth annual Chautauqua Lake Idol regional vocal competition and free movie screenings.
Begun as a rooftop performance by the Bemus Bay Pops Orchestra on Labor Day in 1998, the Bemus Bay Pops is now a summertime tradition in Chautauqua County - with music, movie, dance and other events happening weekly. These days the entertainment is held not on the roof of the Italian Fisherman, but a floating stage built specifically for the summer events. With an estimated 4,000 people in attendance in 1998, the Bemus Bay Pops series now draws as many as 10,000 people attending the series in recent years.
"This is a really impressive series and we continue to try to do all the events for free," Dalpra continued. "That's a big thing. People want to go out to something and in these times, a free event is a great draw. People can take their families out to Bemus Point for free and if they can afford it, they might spend a little money among the merchants."
Because of these things, Dalpra, the Bemus Bay Pops chairman, said he is confident the Pops' 12th year will again help to stimulate the entire Chautauqua region this summer.
With more than a decade of success behind the entertainment series, the Bemus Bay Pops has built a name and reputation for itself. As Dalpra says, there is not only an awareness of the location, but the location as an entertainment hub in the summer months.
As in past years, the 2009 series will feature a variety of types of entertainment for families to attend on weeknights as well as weekends - from a Jimmy Buffet tribute show and Elvis impersonator to the sixth annual Chautauqua Lake Idol regional vocal competition and free movie screenings.
"People are planning their summer vacations based on what they see on our calendar of events," Dalpra said. "With the Jimmy Buffet tribute show, there is a local guy who is going to be having his birthday party at the same time on the Chautauqua Belle. He's also in charge of the Power Boat Club and is having everyone dress up as pirates and come to the show. We're going to have this huge pirate invasion that night in Bemus Point to the sounds of Jimmy Buffet on stage. And that's just one night."
Also scheduled for this summer is an Aug. 2 revue titled NashVegas and a 1960s psychedelic concert.
"One of the things we're really trying to get out to people is how this is economically positive for the whole region," Dalpra explained. "Sometimes people perceive this as being a direct benefit to only a handful of businesses. However, it's really much more than that. It's a community event that really benefits everybody in the entire community, not only economically, but culturally as well.
"As long as we can get the public out and supporting it and have some corporate support, we'll continue," Dalpra said.
For more details about the 2009 Bemus Bay Pops summer entertainment series, visit online at www.BemusBayPops.com.