Exactly a year after 2,000 guests walked through the doors for the grand opening, Yellow Brick Road Casino celebrates its first year of community revitalization and new and renewed partnerships during a special anniversary ceremony this morning.

From inception, Yellow Brick Road Casino was designed to help bring a fresh vitality to the area and revitalize an underused shopping plaza, while celebrating the Village of Chittenango’s connection to the iconic American story, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” The 60,000 square foot non-smoking casino offers a one-of-a-kind experience that is perfectly aligned with the unique Oz identity of Chittenango, attracting new visitors to Central New York.

“We have always believed that the best investments are the ones made right here in Central New York, and that our success will always be linked to the success of the whole region,” said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO, at this morning’s ceremony. “Making Central New York one of the top tourist destinations is predicated not on a go-it-alone attitude, but on a commitment to collaboration and partnerships with community leaders.”

Within the last year, Yellow Brick Road Casino has partnered with several local businesses including Chittenango’s All Things Oz Museum, Dunkin’ Donuts, Tops, Erie Canal Brewing, Life of Reilley Distilling, Northland Communications and many more.

Through a relationship with the All Things Oz Historical Foundation, an assortment of Oz memorabilia is displayed prominently at Yellow Brick Road Casino for all guests to see. The All Things Oz Museum has seen first-hand the casino’s positive impact for Central New York tourism.

“Since Yellow Brick Road Casino opened last June, the number of visitors at the museum and walking the streets of Chittenango have more than doubled,” said Marc Baum, Trustee for the All Things Oz Museum. “The Oneida Nation has been longtime supporters of the museum, as well as our annual Oz-Stravaganza, and we truly appreciate their investment to revitalize Chittenango and the entire region.”

The revitalization of Emerald Plaza may have first started when more than 300 local trade workers worked day and night to build Yellow Brick Road, but it continued long after the doors of the casino opened last June. The Tops grocery store located in the same plaza unveiled a completely remodeled store late last year, mirroring the Oz theme of its new next door neighbor. At the grand re-opening event, Tops acknowledged Yellow Brick Road as being the catalyst for the new improvements. At today’s anniversary event, Tops restated its praise for the partnership with the Oneida Nation and Yellow Brick Road Casino.

“The addition of Yellow Brick Road has truly helped breathe new life into the plaza,” said Scott Brown, Regional Manager for Tops. “The Oneida Nation is a community partner we can count on and we look forward to building on that relationship.”

Another example of the casino’s positive impact on the surrounding community and local businesses is the partnership with Northland Communications. The Oneida Nation worked with the Utica-based technology company to bring a fiber optics network into Chittenango and other areas of Central New York that were not being offered this cutting-edge technology.

“The partnership with the Oneida Nation provides a huge growth opportunity for us and also creates an advanced and more competitive market for other area businesses,” said Northland Communication President Jim McCarthy. “I cannot think of a better partner than the Oneida Nation and with their commitment to Central New York, our region will not be left behind.”

In addition to recognizing several successful partnerships, the Yellow Brick Road anniversary ceremony this morning also kicked-off a weekend of celebratory festivities. The celebration continues as the Oneida Nation carries on its time-honored tradition as the presenting sponsor of the 39th annual Oz-Stravaganza! Festival Friday, June 3rd to Sunday, June 5th. The Nation is thrilled to once again feature a colorful float in the Oz parade on Saturday, June 4. On Sunday, June 5, Yellow Brick Road will host a special first anniversary cookout from noon to 4:00 p.m. with exciting games and prizes and an enormous hot-air balloon cake that measures more than four feet tall. Yellow Brick Road’s anniversary cookout is free to attend and food and beverages are available for purchase.

Yellow Brick Road Casino features more than 430 Las Vegas-style cash slot machines, an assortment of table games and several casual restaurants and bars including home-style cooking at Dorothy’s Farmhouse, New York Style hand-tossed pizza and wings at Wicked Good Pizza, a fierce selection of brews at the country-western style Heart and Courage Saloon, and mischievously great cocktails at Winged Monkey. The Oz General Store offers tobacco products, pre-packaged food and beverages and other essentials.

* Group photo (L to R): Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO, Jim McCarthy, President Northland Communications, Scott Brown, Regional Manager for Tops and Marc Baum, Trustee of All Things Oz Historical Foundation

About Yellow Brick Road Casino
Owned by the Oneida Indian Nation, Yellow Brick Road Casino is a $20 million, smoke-free, 60,000 square foot gaming venue located in Upstate New York in the Village of Chittenango. Celebrating the community’s connection with the iconic story, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” Yellow Brick Road Casino features more than 430 Vegas-style cash slot machines, an assortment of Las Vegas-style table games and several casual restaurants and bars including home-style cooking at Dorothy’s Farmhouse, hand-tossed pizza and wings at Wicked Good Pizza, a fierce selection of brews at the country-western style Heart and Courage Saloon, and mischievously great cocktails at Winged Monkey. The Oz General Store offers tobacco products, pre-packaged food and beverages, bingo supplies and other essentials.