Harborfest 2008 – Is Just Hours Away

OSWEGO, NY – In just a matter of hours, Harborfest will embark on its third decade in the Port City.

Opening ceremonies for the 21st annual festival are slated for 8:30 p.m. today (July 24) at the Labatt Lakeview Stage in Breitbeck Park.

Harborfest opens tonight. The fireworks are set for Saturday.
Harborfest opens tonight. The fireworks are set for Saturday.

Harborfest officials, like the thousands that will flood Oswego this weekend, are keeping an eye on the sky.

The hot, humid weather will be punctuated by ‘scattered’ showers and thunderstorms this weekend, according to forecasters. Friday, they say, will be the best day; the threat of rain lurks on each of the others, including Saturday – the night of the world famous Grucci Fireworks Spectacular, sponsored by Entergy Nuclear.

“It hasn’t been real nice weather recently, that’s for sure,” said Bill Gregway, local observer for the National Weather Service. “The humidity has been terrible. It just keeps coming back over us in waves.”

While the weathermen in the region say Friday will be a good day, Gregway noted he believes some high pressure will make its way into our area Thursday and nudge the clouds and humidity out of the way for Harborfest.

Harborfest officials annually perform a ritual prior to each festival to help ensure dry weather, according to Samantha Pickreign, marketing and communications manager for the festival.

It may be a bit superstitious, she admits, but with the exception of maybe a day or two the festival has enjoyed years of sunny skies.

“We really can’t do too much about the weather. We can’t control the weather, we can only hope for the best,” she said. “We don’t say the ‘R’ word in the office, either.”

The other challenge facing festival officials this year is the Route 104 bridge that is closed for repairs.

Throughout the spring, festival press releases have highlighted the fact the bridge is closed and encouraged everyone to plan accordingly so they won’t miss the events they wish to see.

“We have been very proactive concerning the bridge being closed,” Pickreign said. “We hope everyone plans accordingly and has a great time at Harborfest 2008.”

The Utica Street Bridge, as well as the pedestrian walking bridge located just north of Utica Street, will be open for pedestrians.

However, both will close at dark during the festival, city police said.

The Utica Street bridge will also be closed to vehicular traffic from 9:30 p.m. until midnight following Saturday’s fireworks.

To assist people in getting back and forth across the river, a water taxi service will be offered.

Harborfest features a huge variety of entertainment on stages throughout the city.

Events will be held at the NRG Family Stage in Washington Square Park, the Budweiser Rock Stage at the Port Authority, the Veteran’s Stage on West River Walk, and the Labatt Lakeview Stage in Breitbeck Park.

Starship with Mickey Thomas will be the featured artist today following the opening ceremonies at 9 p.m.

Harborfest will run from July 24 – 27.

Visit www.oswegoharborfest.com for the latest information regarding transportation options and performance schedules.