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Festival Warms Up Oswego

OSWEGO, NY – Close to 1,000 winter-weary Oswegonians packed the Oswego YMCA Armory all afternoon Saturday to celebrate the sixth annual Warm Up Oswego festival.

" data-medium-file="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/WU-treasure-hunt-300x295.jpg" data-large-file="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/WU-treasure-hunt-460x452.jpg" class="size-medium wp-image-55577" title="WU treasure hunt" src="http://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/WU-treasure-hunt-300x295.jpg" alt="Youngsters scamper up the snow mountain in search of prizes during the annual treasure hunt." width="300" height="295" srcset="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/WU-treasure-hunt-300x295.jpg 300w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/WU-treasure-hunt-150x147.jpg 150w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/WU-treasure-hunt-460x452.jpg 460w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/WU-treasure-hunt.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />
Youngsters scamper up the snow mountain in search of prizes during the annual treasure hunt.

The YMCA adopted the festival in 2006 in order to raise money to renovate the Armory and to create more programs.

This year’s event drew hundreds of people to the Armory and hundreds more to various other locations all around downtown.

Apparently, Old Man Winter was irked over the celebration heating up the Port City and he tired to snow on the party. Ironically, it had the opposite affect.

“This is fun. So what if it’s snowing a little?” mused Larry Rapshaw. “This is Oswego. Look at all the people here. This is an amazing event.”

Cody Crouse as ‘Bill Sikes,’ belts out ‘My Name,’ from the OHS production of “Oliver!” The musical opens this weekend in Faust Theater.
Cody Crouse as ‘Bill Sikes,’ belts out ‘My Name,’ from the OHS production of “Oliver!” The musical opens this weekend in Faust Theater.

“This is a wonderful event,” agreed Jake Mulcahey. “It’s great to have something like this during the winter; it gives people an opportunity to get out and have some fun and see all their friends. This place (Armory) is packed, which goes to show how much people enjoy it.”

“I think everyone’s having a lot of fun and that it is a ‘hot time’ in the city of Oswego today,” enthused Mary Vanouse, community development director and one of the organizer of the event.”

Everything was going well, she said late Saturday afternoon. There had been no major glitches and the crowds were huge, she added.

A scavenger hunt led participants through the city to nearly three dozen local businesses, to get their programs stamped. The winner helped press the button to start that evening’s fireworks.

Sue Sweet, pushing Maria, crosses the finish line after running the Hot 2K Trot race.
Sue Sweet, pushing Maria, crosses the finish line after running the Hot 2K Trot race.

The fireworks display, enhanced by the snowflakes, 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.

In his opening remarks, Mayor Randy Bateman joked that “last year, it was about minus 30 degrees” and he gave a short speech. “It’s a little nicer today, so I have a two-page speech – just joking.”

Briana and Alexandra (in red) Coakley watch the train roll around the tracks at the Oswego Railroad Museum's exhibit.
Briana and Alexandra (in red) Coakley watch the train roll around the tracks at the Oswego Railroad Museum's exhibit.

He welcomed the large crowd to the sixth annual Warm Up Oswego festival, thanked all the sponsors and wished good luck to everyone taking part in the Hot 2K Trot race.

He proclaimed the 2011 edition as “the biggest Warm Up Oswego ever!”

Inside 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, the Oswego Valley Railroad Association, the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, Novelis, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and many more.

Night of the Living Sled team members cross the finish line as one of their zombie colleagues stumbles and falls on the slick snow-covered raceway.
Night of the Living Sled team members cross the finish line as one of their zombie colleagues stumbles and falls on the slick snow-covered raceway.

Performers from SUNY Oswego gave visitors a taste of the upcoming spring production of “Grease,” cast member from the OHS musical Oliver! Sang a few songs from their play and several karate students, young and old, displayed their talents.

Irish dancers and gymnastic students also showed off their skills.

No one in the Armory went hungry. Besides popcorn and other snacks, Canale’s, Cam’s and Aunt Mary’s offered a wide variety of cuisine. Boy Scout Troop 888 cooked hot dogs over a fire outside the historic facility.

Cali, one of the felines Oswego County Humane Society has available for adoption, looks for someone to take her home. If you're interested in adopting a cat (or dog), call the society at 207-1070.
Cali, one of the felines Oswego County Humane Society has available for adoption, looks for someone to take her home. If you're interested in adopting a cat (or dog), call the society at 207-1070.

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.

“It’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.”

For more information, call 343-2253.

Outside the Armory there was treasure hunting in a snow mountain. Youngsters dug for candy, trinkets and other goodies buried in the snow.

Nathan Hibbert displays the dozens of beads he (and his mom) collected as they competed in the annual Hot Scavenger Hunt.
Nathan Hibbert displays the dozens of beads he (and his mom) collected as they competed in the annual Hot Scavenger Hunt.

A pair of youngsters unearthed (unsnowed?) two large chili peppers and was awarded bonus prizes.

The team costume sled race followed shortly after the treasure hunt.

The number of teams entered in the popular race nearly doubled this year, jumping from 4 to 7. The large field prompted organizers to run two heats and then pit the winners against each other in the grand finale.

This year’s filed of racers included a squad of zombies (Night of the Living Sled), which stumbled to the starting line to the sounds of “Thriller.”

Students from SUNY Oswego's theater department give a sneak preview of the upcoming production of "Grease."
Students from SUNY Oswego's theater department give a sneak preview of the upcoming production of "Grease."

“I hope we don’t come in dead last,” team member Sue Fox deadpanned.

They earned first place in the best costume segment of the race, but were buried in the back of the pack during the race.

The race was held in the snow-covered street in front of the Armory. The YMCA’s team saw its five-year winning streak snapped by another ‘Y’ team – YP Voice.

Mayor Randy Bateman welcomes the crowd as the festival's mascot and Mary Vanouse, community development director, look on. At left is one of the Oswego County Humane Society’s mascots promoting the cat adoption taking place in the lower level of the Armory
Mayor Randy Bateman welcomes the crowd as the festival's mascot and Mary Vanouse, community development director, look on. At left is one of the Oswego County Humane Society’s mascots promoting the cat adoption taking place in the lower level of the Armory
Runners competing in the Hot 2K Trot race sprint away from the starting line.
Runners competing in the Hot 2K Trot race sprint away from the starting line.
Members of the YP Voice team display the first place medals they won in the 2011 team costume sled race.
Members of the YP Voice team display the first place medals they won in the 2011 team costume sled race.