OSWEGO, NY – The 28th annual festival was greeted by mild temperatures and mostly clear skies – with hundreds of people, young and old, ready to celebrate.
Thursday’s music started at 5:15 p.m. with Avalanche, the US Army Band followed at 7 p.m. by Nik and the Nice Guys.
The party band from nearby Rochester 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.
Harborfest officials recognized Chlarissia Crast. The recent graduate of G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton created the artwork for the cover of this year’s program and T-shirts.
I’m so terribly nervous about going up on stage,” she said prior to receiving her honor.
Doug Buske, executive director, presented her with a framed copy of the official Harborfest poster. Another copy will be presented to the school at a later date.
“I’ll really have to thank the community and everybody here for the support we have had the last 28 years,” said Chena Tucker, president of the Harborfest Board of Directors.
Chlarissia is an aspiring artist who “did a fantastic job” with this year’s poster, she said, adding, “That’s what Harborfest is all about. It’s about celebrating our community and the future of our community.”
Bill Foley, Harborfest public relations director, thanked the sponsors and volunteers for all they have done for the festival.
“It just shows commitment and dedication of the people in this community and area who want to be a part of Harborfest. And, they do it for free, all so you guys can have a great time,” he said.
Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals took the stage shortly after 9 p.m.
Val Enwright said she’s been a Rascals fan from way back.
She even wore her Felix Cavaliere and the Rascals shirt to the concert Thursday night.
“I already have their CD,” she said. “It’s signed by Felix. I left it in my vehicle; we were playing it on the way here. All I’ve got with me is the jacket. Maybe I’ll have the rest of the band sign that.”
Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen welcomed the enthusiastic crowd to the 2015 edition of Harborfest.
Harborfest is the largest “family reunion” in the Northeast, he said.
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. Krysta Waters sang the National Anthem.
“Twenty-eight years and we’re still going strong,” Buske told Oswego County Today prior to the opening ceremonies. “We have four days of great weather and great entertainment.”
Mayor Gillen also recognized the Harborfest volunteers for their dedication and hard work.
“Tonight, we’re all one family. That means we take care of each other, we celebrate together,” he told the large crowd.
Following that short interruption, The Rascals took the NRG Lakeview Stage and had many in the crowd on their feet and singing along.
The crowd continued to grow in front of the main stage as the night wore on.
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 24) with The Rembrandts on the Lakeview Stage at 6:30 p.m. followed by Fastball at 8 p.m. and the Gin Blossoms at 10 p.m.
Over in East Park, The Luber Cators starts at 1:30 p.m. on the Labatt Blue Light Jazz and Blues Stage.
Dam Dogs will perform at 3:30 p.m. followed by the Ron Spencer Band at 5:30 p.m., Brent Johnson and the Call Up at 7:30 p.m. and the GhostTown Blues Band at 9:30 p.m.
At the Novelis Family Park, there will be a senior concert by the Oswego County New Horizons Band at 11:45 a.m. and at 1:15 p.m., the Franck Sacci Band will perform.
At 4 p.m., the Children’s Musical ‘Wonderland’ 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 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 festival highlights include the Jersey Disc Devils (K9 entertainment), DownBeat Percussion, Kinlough Irish Dancers, Typhoon Tommy and the Jet Ski Show, Doug Rougeux The Bubble Man, InJest and the Oswego’s Got Talent Variety Show 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