OSWEGO, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ OK, so the temperature didn’t make it out of the teens and the windchill made it feel like 5 below on Saturday.
That didn’t stop hundreds of area residents from shaking off the winter doldrums and coming together to Ã¢â‚¬Å“Warm UpÃ¢â‚¬Â Oswego.
The YMCA adopted the festival in 2006 in order to raise money to renovate the Armory and to create more programs.
The YMCA had a quilt raffle, Warm Up Oswego beads and tickets to Saturday’s fiesta were available at the front of the historic Armory.
The fifth annual event drew hundreds of people to the Armory, and various other locations downtown Ã¢â‚¬â€œ on both sides of the river.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is fun. It might be cold, but the sun is shining and it isn’t snowing,” said Geoff Baer. “It great to come down and see a lot of the people you haven’t seen all winter.”
A scavenger hunt led participants through the city to local businesses, to get their programs stamped.
At the end of the afternoon, at the Fiesta party at G.S. Steamers, the winner was named.
A fireworks display blazed in the sky over the Oswego River at 6 p.m.
Downstairs in the Armory, the Oswego County Humane Society was looking to find permanent homes for several cats.
While they were successful for some, many other felines remain in foster homes.
To find out more about how you can help care for the cats or adopt one (or two) of your own, call 207-1070.
“This is the biggest and the best Warm Up Oswego ever,” proclaimed Mayor Randy Bateman. “There is something for everyone to do, young and old, and the weather cooperated, too!”
He thanked all the sponsors and encouraged those taking part in the Hot 2K Trot race to hurry and get back inside the Armory and get warm.
In the YMCA Armory, local vendors, businesses and organizations had booths which offered a myriad of products and services.
Among the vendors were the Friends of Fort Ontario, Air Hop Inflatables, Idle Paws, Jim Coon Caricature Drawings, Harborfest and many more.
The Oswego Public Library had books on sale, performers from SUNY Oswego gave visitors a taste of the upcoming production of “Songs For A New World,” and several karate students, young and old, displayed their talents.
No one in the Armory went hungry. Besides popcorn and other snacks, Canale’s, Cam’s, Aunt Mary’s and La Parrilla offered a wide variety of cuisine.
The Oswego Valley Railroad Association set up a railroad exhibit that was a hit with young and old.
The club’s goal is to preserve the history of trains in the area, according to Bill Nicholas, secretary of the OVRA.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always fun to come here. We’ve had several people stop by and watch the train, and reminisce about Oswego’s railroad history,” he said. “The kids are just fascinated watching the train going around and all the scenery.”
Some of the group’s upcoming activities include National Train Days on May 8 and 9, the 66th Anniversary of D-Day on June 5 and 6, and Harborfest (Railroads and the Sea) July 22 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 25.
For more information, call 343-2253.
Outside the YMCA, there was a team costume sled race and treasure hunting in the snow.
Most of the teams’ costumes also acted as insulation. However, a group of cavemen were dressed in caveman attire.
It was an incentive to race “very, very fast and get back inside,” one team member explained.
The race was held in the snow-less street in front of the Armory. The YMCA’s team continued its dominance, winning the costume sled race for the fifth straight year.
“There really isn’t any secret to it,” Mike Lavener of the YMCA admitted. “It’s just luck.”