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New discovery trail promotes Utica as women’s world hockey championship comes to town

By Traci DeLore (tdelore@cnybj.com)

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Oneida County Tourism has launched a new Discover Utica Trail digital trail as the IIHF Women’s World Championship comes to town April 3-14. Participants who check into at least four of the more than 100 locations listed on the trail can redeem their points for this commemorative poster, desgined exclusively for the event. (Photo Credit: Oneida County Tourism)

UTICA, N.Y. — Just ahead of the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, expected to bring thousands of visitors to Utica from Wednesday April 3 through April 14, Oneida County Tourism (OCT) has launched its new Discover Utica Trail.

The digital trail highlights Utica businesses with a focus on restaurants, coffee shops, nightlife, and attractions.

“The IIHF Women’s World Championship is just days away from taking downtown Utica by storm, and we are preparing for thousands of visitors from around the globe to descend on Oneida County,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Piecente, Jr. said in a March 28 news release issued by OCT. “The new Discover Utica Trail is a great way for our guests to explore their surroundings during the … world-class hockey tournament and festival. I encourage everyone to utilize this innovative online tool to experience the amazing food, culture, and entertainment we have to offer and to come back again and check out what they might have missed.”

The mobile, interactive trail is a free mobile-optimized web application that can be accessed on the OCT website (www.oneidacountytourism.com) and features more than 100 businesses in and around Utica. Anyone can sign up on the website and follow the prompts to enter their phone number and email. Participants can check into trail locations on their phone using GPS and earn points for each check-in. They can then redeem those points for an exclusive, limited-edition IIHF poster prize.

“We’re thrilled to launch this trail in time for the much-anticipated IIHF Women’s World Championship,” Oneida County Tourism President Sarah Foster Calero said. “We know attendees will have downtime between games, and this trail is the perfect tool to explore the area. Users can sort locations by category and see coupons for different businesses. After they check into four locations, they can redeem for the beautiful IIHF-themed poster designed by Maria Vallese. We loved working with her to highlight attractions in Utica while showcasing the talents of a local artist. And the poster is the perfect keepsake for this monumental event.”

Oneida County Tourism partnered with Vallese, of Retro Sorrento, to design the poster, which features major Utica attractions such as the Adirondack Bank Center and Stanley Theatre, as well as the Haudenosaunee flag to highlight the Oneida Indian Nation’s history in the region.

“We’re excited to be a part of the Discover Utica Trail, especially during the Women’s World Championship,” Utica Comets Director of Marketing Michael Lehr said. “The restaurants in this area will go up against any in the country as some of the best food and dining experiences out there.”

Along with a host of restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and taverns, the list also includes attractions such as the Oneida County History Center, OCT’s Tourism Welcome Center at Union Station, Utica city parks, the Utica Public Library, and the Utica Zoo.

“The Utica Zoo is eager to welcome guests from all over the nation visiting our greater Mohawk Valley region,” Andria Heath, zoo executive director, said “We have fun for all ages and visiting our urban forest in the center of the city is a great way to add to any memory-filled vacation.”

The Discover Utica Trail pass is designed and executed by Bandwango. Once trail users are ready to redeem their prize, they can do so directly through the web application. A third-party company will send prizes, so participants do not need to redeem in person or be in the area to receive their prize.

Oneida County Tourism is the official tourism promotion agency for Oneida County.

The 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship includes 10 national teams from around the world (United States, Canada, Czechia, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Japan, Germany, China, and Denmark). The hockey games take place at the Adirondack Bank Center and Utica University Nexus Center.

The U.S. won the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship — held in Brampton, Ontario — defeating Canada 6-3 in the gold-medal game.

 

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