Grucci Fireworks Brighten Rainy Harborfest Skies

Thousands waited out the pesky showers Saturday night to witness the spectacular Grucci Fireworks. The rain let up just before 9 p.m. and the extravaganza went on as scheduled.
Thousands waited out the pesky showers Saturday night to witness the spectacular Grucci Fireworks. The rain let up just before 9 p.m. and the extravaganza went on as scheduled.

OSWEGO, NY – It was the bottom of the ninth and things didn’t look good for the home team.

Mudville had already played spoiler the day before, striking out the Children’s Parade.

Saturday night Harborfest was done to its last out; the rains looked like they’d win again.

But there was a glimmer of hope. Tom Van Schaack, manager of Harborfest, was down by one with a runner in scoring position and his slugger at the plate

Grucci was down 0-2, but sent the next pitch soaring for a walk-off homerun. Once again the fireworks spectacular made Harborfest a winner.

Also, earlier in the day, the weather wasn’t able to hold back Harborfest’s annual Children’s Parade two days in a row.

Saturday’s parade, from East Park to Fort Ontario, drew several hundred participants, from infants to teen-agers.

Many of them were dressed in French attire, highlighting the cultural component of the 2010 festival – “France.”

The temperature was only in the lower 80s, but the oppressive humidity made it feel more like 100.

The Oswego Health Sun Patrol, with the help of Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman, passed out sun screen to the marchers as well as those along the parade route.

The parade route was lined with people; many taking pictures of the marchers as they went past.

Several costumed characters mingled with the crowd along the parade route.

There were big smiles at the Children’s Stage as the youngsters were treated to a variety of entertainment.

“This is the reason why I volunteer,” Harborfest Board of Directors President John Scardella said as dozens of excited youngsters scampered around as they lined up for the parade. “The children’s parade, that’s it. It’s all about the children and families.”

“Things got off to a wet start and postponed the children’s parade, for the first time ever for Harborfest,” said Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman. “But, it was a nice turnout on Saturday. There is some more rain in the forecast, but they’re saying we’ll be able to get the fireworks off alright.”

“Considering Friday, we had a tough six hours (with heavy rains), but Friday afternoon, Friday evening were fantastic. The crowd at Breitbeck Park for Kansas was just incredible. We have had two nights of just unbelievable crowds, unbelievable music,” Scardella said Saturday afternoon. “It’s kind of neat to have the (children’s) parade and the fireworks extravaganza in the same day.”

Thursday night’s opening concerts also drew huge crowds.

A fest-goer asked Scardella, “How can you beat two concerts in a row like that?”

“Grucci fireworks,” the Harborfest official responded. “There’s nothing like those fireworks.”

On Sunday, Breitbeck Park will host the Y’all American Country Tour.

Performers will include Jonalee White, Bill Gentry, Burns & Poe, and Doug Stone.

Sunday’s lineup at the Riverwalk West stage features Cheers Elephant followed by The Same Blood Folk Band.

At the Novelis Family Stage at Fort Ontario, Harborfest’s Senior Concert is scheduled.

At the Jazz and Blues Stage in East Park, the music will be world-class, according to Scardella.

Dave Hanlon’s Cookbook kicks things off at 1 p.m. They will be followed by Linda Rodney at 3 p.m.

“She performs under the name ‘Chocolate Thunder.’ Her demo CD gave me goosebumps,” Scardella said. “She has a great voice. She wants to be the next Aretha Franklin, and she has the voice to do it!”

He said he plans to be front and center for her concert.

“I’m going to put my chair down and be a fest-goer for a couple of hours and enjoy the show,” he said.

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