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Harborfest 2011 Opens In Port City

OSWEGO, NY – Nearly idyllic weather greeted the large crowd at Thursday night’s opening of Harborfest #24. There were a few clouds; but other than that everything went like a well-oiled machine – thanks in large part to The Machine performing Pink Floyd.

The music started at 7 p.m. with the Jody Raffoul Band.

Many in the crowd were on their feet dancing and singing along.

The Machine performing Pink Floyd.wowed the opening night crowd with its musicianship and dramatic light show.
The Machine performing Pink Floyd.wowed the opening night crowd with its musicianship and dramatic light show.

And, after a short interruption for the official opening ceremonies, The Machine kept Harborfest 2011 rocking and rolling.

The rock band performed many of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits.

Bob and Barb Bateman strolled the park seeking just the right location from which to enjoy the music.

“We always enjoy Harborfest,” she said. “It’s always great music, no matter what night or what stage you’re at.”

The crowd continued to grow in front of the NRG Lakeview Stage. The crowd was massive, sprawling all the way back to the sidewalk in Breitbeck Park toward the food vendors.

A young lady samples some of the summertime treats Harborfest is famous for.
A young lady samples some of the summertime treats Harborfest is famous for.

Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman welcomed the enthusiastic crowd to the 24th edition of Harborfest.

Harborfest, the largest family celebration in the Northeast, showcases Oswego’s greatest attributes – its history, its warmth and its people, the mayor said.

The festival’s cultural theme this year is “England.” The theme will be highlighted during Friday’s Children’s Parade.

Joining the mayor on stage was Harborfest executive director Tom Van Schaack.

He thanked the Harborfest staff and the hundreds of volunteers that make the event possible. Then wished everyone “a great and safe Harborfest.”

Van Schaack also recognized the Oswego school students who helped create this year’s logo, as seen on the cover of the Harborfest program.

Cast members from the children's musical sing the Star Spangled Banner Thursday night on the main stage.
Cast members from the children's musical sing the Star Spangled Banner Thursday night on the main stage.

“Every year, there are four magic words that start each and every Harborfest,” Bateman reminded the crowd.

Then, as in years past, he counted down from five to one and the crowd roared, “Let the fun begin!”

There might be some pesky scattered showers Friday, according to Bill Gregway, local observer for the National Weather Service.

“But Saturday is looking pretty nice,” he said. “We ought to be warm and dry for the fireworks. And, Sunday looks good, too.”

The winner of the 2011 Harborfest song contest performed the original composition during the opening ceremonies.

Three-year-old Nathan Hibbert displays the Geico fan he got at Harborfest.
Three-year-old Nathan Hibbert displays the Geico fan he got at Harborfest.

“According to the lyrics, “Oswego is where the water never ends, and the fun begins …  Come on over to Harborfest, we want you to be our guest.”

It will also be incorporated into the soundtrack for Saturday’s fireworks spectacular.

Harborfest’s music continues today (July 29) with Oswego’s own Frostbit Blue on the Lakeview Stage at 7:30 p.m. They will be followed by Barenaked Ladies at 9:30 p.m.

Earlier in the day, you can check out Gina Holsopple at 1 p.m. on the River Walk West Veterans’ Stage. Fritz’s Polka Band starts at noon and is followed by the Jazz Cats Big Band at 2 p.m. in East Park. Also in East Park you can find The Voodudes at 4 p.m. and Steve Grills at 5:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Turnip Stampede (3 p.m.), Silent Fury (5 p.m.) and The Blind Spots (7 p.m.) all perform at the Veterans’ Stage.

There’s plenty more music on the other stages as well throughout the festival.

Jody Raffoul and his band performs on the main stage Thursday night.
Jody Raffoul and his band performs on the main stage Thursday night.

The annual children’s musical, “The Pirates of Penzance,” will be performed at the Novelis Family Stage in East Park at various times during Harborfest including at 11 a.m. 2:30 p.m. Saturday and at the same times Sunday.

Cast members lead the crowd in singing The Star Spangled Banner during opening ceremonies.

Youngsters will want to check out all the other performances and activities at the Children’s Stage today and all during Harborfest.

The annual children’s parade moves to the west side this year. It steps off today (July 23) at 11 a.m. from West Park.

The route ends at Breitbeck Park.

Pre-parade activities get under way at 10 a.m.

For more information, visit www.oswegoharborfest.com

1 Comment

  1. So I moved my family here in 2009 because of my work location, Watertown and my wife’s being in Syracuse. We have a 30 foot cruiser and brought that with us from Alexandria Bay. We are now berthed at Wrights. We were excited about the prospects for Harborfest. Well day 2 is over and I can’t wait for it and this summer to end so I can get my boat back where it belongs. What a disaster this event is. I have 2 girls, 9 and 5 and this is a “family” atomosphere. We try walking around the concert area to get out and about, and return to find some drunk peeing behind my car with 20 porta potties 20 feet away, puke, feces in the parking lot etc. As for the music selection. That Machine….well, if I were into an alternative “chemical” state of mind, I would have loved the music, again NOTHING for a family and there were lots of families there, and tonight, Bare Naked Ladies. I have never been so bored in my life. 2 little girls behind us were crying there eyes out because they wanted to go home. I won’t even touch the fact of the losers that come out of the hills and woodwork to trapse around the grounds causing chaos. This country is in trouble if these youth are our future. God help us all. Good riddance Harborfest and Wrights Marina. On a side note, Wrights has spectacular people trying very hard to make it a nice marina. Since it is city owned, I do not know why they have no police support.

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