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Q&A: Buffalo booster Karen Fashana

After nearly two decades at Visit Buffalo Niagara (“Best gig in town if you ask me!”), this avid traveler and Lancaster mom of two is a literal pro on all the great things to see and do right here in Western New York.

Were you always a Buffalo booster?

Back in college I remember my classmates talking about what city they were heading to after graduation and yet I thought to myself, ‘Well I like it here so I’m staying!’ So yes, I’ve always loved Buffalo. But after one day on the job with VBN, I fully transitioned into really loving Buffalo, getting to know everything I could about this city and telling anyone who’d listen to me about it.

Best thing about your job?

It’s a toss-up between everything and getting free tickets to the World’s Largest Disco every year! Honestly though, showing up every day to find new, creative ways to tell Buffalo’s story and to show off its beauty is a privilege. You don’t stick around for 18 years if you don’t think so.

One thing about Buffalo that surprises visitors most?

One thing? I’d say all of it. So many people are bogged down with old stereotypes of Buffalo that when they get here and see our incredible architecture, a bustling waterfront, public art sprinkled everywhere, mouth-watering regional foods and friendly locals to top it all off…they’re blown away. But if you forced me to pick just one, I’d probably go with Silo City. It’s unlike anywhere or anything people have ever seen.

Favorite under-the-radar summer spot?

If you’re not outside, you’re doing summer wrong in WNY! The patio at The Terrace at Delaware Park has to be my favorite. An order of their shrimp bao buns, a glass of red wine and that incredible view of Hoyt Lake is all I need.

Most excited to do this summer?

Take our family to the brand new Explore & More Children’s Museum at Canalside is number one on our list!

Has your job changed the way you approach travel?

I certainly have to practice what I preach! I’m a big proponent of ‘Project: Time Off,’ a national program that encourages people to not let their vacation days go to waste. Plus, the best way to learn about how to market to travelers is to be one. Our family already has two trips booked for 2019 with more to come. Trip planning is always in the works in the Fashana household!

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