Orange County Tourism Department Unveils New Mascot, Logo

Orange County Tourism Department Unveils New Mascot, Logo
Orange County Tourism new mascot and logo designs in Goshen, N.Y., on June 13, 2024. (Cara Ding/The Epoch Times)
Cara Ding
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Orange County’s tourism and film department unveiled a new apple-shaped logo and hound dog mascot under a rebranded agriculture-centric identity on June 13.

The goal is to refresh the county’s image in a competitive tourism market and further spur economic growth, according to department Director Amanda Dana. The new identity was born following a yearlong effort with input from tourists, attractions, and local businesses.

“When we said we were going to say, ‘Pick Orange County, New York,’ or ‘Pick OC,’ that was like the big aha moment,” Ms. Dana told The Epoch Times, adding that the verb “pick” carried dual meanings of “picking” apples and “picking” from an array of tourism destinations.

As to the new mascot, a hound dog dressed in a blue overall with an orange bandana around its neck, it speaks both of family fun and an adventurous spirit, according to Ms. Dana.

The rebranding also comes with a new tagline: “Fresh State of Mind.”

“Tourism is absolutely critical to the economy in Orange County,” County Executive Steve Neuhaus told The Epoch Times. “Sales tax is the biggest generator of the revenue that the county needs to function; it pays for social services, roads, and bridges.

“If you are a person that owns a home or business, you are not getting hit heavily with property taxes from county government because we are able to generate that revenue from sales tax, which is not the same story with every county across America,” he added.

This year, sales and hotel taxes cover nearly 45 percent of the county budget.

Compared to neighboring counties in the Hudson Valley region, Orange is most reliant on sales tax in balancing the budget, according to an analysis by accounting firm O’Conner Davis at a Ways and Means Committee meeting last November.

Clothing stores, car dealers, electronic shopping, gas stations, and restaurants consistently rank among the top sales tax generators in the county, according to data published by the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.

“Tourism is all the driver of our economics, and it lowers the taxes for everyone,” said Joseph Minuta, chair of the county’s Education and Economic Development legislative committee.

“Woodbury Common [Premium Outlets] is one of the biggest contributors to our sales tax,” he told The Epoch Times. “And you have Legoland, you have City Winery, you have Angry Orchard, etc.”

The county’s tourism office also has a film arm that attracts movie and television productions.

In the fall of 2022, with $1 million in county funding, the office began its first four-season campaign to market Orange County year-round. The program has received additional money in this year’s county budget.

“We feed that [campaign] with our hotel and motel taxes, so when people stay in our hotels, money is generated and used to attract more people here,” Mr. Neuhaus said.

Last year’s hotel and motel taxes were still higher than the previous year even as two major hotels went offline, suggesting higher room and occupancy rates among existing lodging, Ms. Dana said at the previous Education and Economic Development committee meeting.

The tourism office rebranding effort also led to a new website at www.pickocny.com.