OSWEGO, NY – The 27th annual festival was greeted by mild temperatures and mostly clear skies – with hundreds of people, young and old, ready to celebrate.
The music started at 7 p.m. Thursday with Brass Inc.
The party band from nearby Syracuse got the festival off to a great start with many in the audience singing and dancing along with them
There was a slight intermission at 8:30 p.m. for the opening ceremonies.
Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen welcomed the enthusiastic crowd to the 2014 edition of Harborfest.
The mayor said Harborfest is the largest “family reunion” in the Northeast. It showcases Oswego’s greatest attributes – its history, its warmth and its people, the mayor added.
Doug Buske, president of the Harborfest board of directors, introduced the color guard from the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. As they presented the colors, Sgt. Linda Wolf sang the National Anthem.
“Twenty-seven years and we’re still here; still going strong thanks to you folks,” Buske told the huge crowd in front of the stage. “We have a great four days planned. The weather man looks like he’s going to cooperate with us. We hope everybody has a great time. It’s hard to believe 27 years have passed since the first Harborfest.”
He thanked the sponsors and everyone else who has helped the festival over the years, “especially the hundreds of volunteers who unselfishly donate thousands of hours every year to make this a success.”
“Also, it would not be a success without you folks out there!” he added. “We certainly appreciate every one of you for coming and helping us celebrate our community and Harborfest.”
Mayor Gillen also recognized the Harborfest volunteers for their dedication and hard work.
“One of the things we in Oswego are really good at is having fun. We’re going to have some fun this weekend,” the mayor proclaimed. “Let’s make this the number one (Harborfest) to remember.”
Historically, every year, there are four magic words that start each and every Harborfest, “Let The Fun Begin!”
This year, the mayor lead the countdown from 10 to one and the crowd yelled out, “Let the fun begin!”
Following that short interruption, The Atlanta Rhythm Section took the NRG Lakeview Stage shortly after 9 p.m.
The crowd continued to grow in front of the main stage as the night wore on, many of them singing along to the group’s hits such as ‘Imaginary Lover’ and ‘So Into You.’
There’s More Fun Coming Up
This year’s Children’s Parade will step off at 1:30 p.m. Friday from Breitbeck Park, travel along Lake Street making its way to West Fifth Street where it will conclude at to the Novelis Family Park (West Park).
Prior to the start of the Children’s Parade, pre-parade activities will start in Breitbeck at noon, hosted by Joe Trionfero and his Show of Love.
Harborfest’s music continues today (July 25) with Simplified on the Lakeview Stage at 7 p.m. followed by Grand Funk Railroad at 10 p.m.
Double V’s gets things started at 11 a.m. at the C’s Beverage Center Veterans’ Stage on River Walk West.
The Oswego Valley Barbershop Chorus is slated to follow them at 3:30 p.m. and is followed by Blake at 5 p.m. and Mitty and the Followers at 7 p.m.
Over in East Park, at the Oswego County Federal Credit Union Jazz and Blues Park, The Camillians starts at 1:30 p.m. on the Labatt Blue Light Jazz and Blues Stage.
The Luber Cators will perform at 3:30 p.m. followed by the Carolyn Kelly Blues Band at 5:30 p.m., Mark Doyle and the Maniacs at 7:30 p.m. and The Rusty Wright Band at 9:30 p.m.
At the Novelis Family Park, there will be a senior concert (Dan Elliot’s Greatest American Songbook) at 11:45 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. (My Gal Patsy). At 4 p.m., the Children’s Musical Peter Pan will debut.
There’s plenty of music on all the festival’s stages throughout the weekend.
The annual children’s musical will also be performed twice on Saturday with a final performance on Sunday morning.
Youngsters will want to check out all the other performances and activities at the Children’s Stage today and all during Harborfest.
Some highlights include the Bubbling Juggling Mime, The Marionette Magic Theater, Sylvia Fletcher “The Magic Trunk,” Wade Live and Tae Kwondo America among other attractions.
The Children’s Museum of Oswego will also be a center of activity for all ages to enjoy in the Family Park. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience interactive, hands-on exhibits that nurture the curiosity and imagination in young and old alike.
For more information, visit www.oswegoharborfest.com