OSWEGO, NY – The 29th annual Harborfest was greeted by warm temperatures and partly cloudy skies – with hundreds of people, young and old, ready to celebrate.
Thursday’s music started at 5:15 p.m. on the NRG Lakeview Stage with Avalanche, the US Army Band followed at 7 p.m. by Prime Time Horns.
There was a slight intermission at 8:30 p.m. for the opening ceremonies.
Pete Myles, Harborfest’s executive director, said things were “fantastic.”
“Things are going very well. We have some great weather and the crowds are big,” he said. “It’s a great opening night.”
However, Blues Traveler, scheduled to take the stage shortly after 9 p.m. didn’t appear until nearly 10 p.m.
Some disgruntled fest-goers left the stage area early.
“I really have to thank the community and everybody here for the support we have had the last 29 years,” said Chena Tucker, president of the Harborfest Board of Directors. “This is a grassroots festival and we can not do it without our board and all the volunteers. Thank you so much!
Oswego Mayor William Barlow Jr. welcomed the enthusiastic crowd to the 2016 edition of Harborfest, the largest “family reunion” in the Northeast.
He also thanked all the sponsors and volunteers.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out and participating in Harborfest,” he said.
He then introduced a special guest, former Oswego Mayor John Sullivan who was one of the driving forces behind the genesis of Harborfest.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be here to join you tonight. You know 29 years ago we stared Harborfest with four magic words,” Sullivan said.
Mayor Barlow joined Sullivan in a countdown and then, in unison, they proclaimed, “Let the fun begin!”
Sgt. Krysta Waters, from the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, sang the National Anthem.
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.
Harborfest’s music continues today (July 29) with Jocelyn and Chris Arndt on the Lakeview Stage at 6 p.m. followed by Joe Whiting at 8 p.m. and Dennis DeYoung (Styx) at 10 p.m.
Over in East Park, Down Beat Percussion’s workshop starts at noon on the Labatt Blue Light Jazz and Blues Stage.
Other performers there include: King Chro and the Talisman at 1:30 p.m., Steve Grills and the Roadmasters at 5:30 p.m., and Reverend Raven at 9:30 p.m.
At the Novelis Family Park, there will be a senior concert at 11:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m., My Sweet Patootie and the Rhythm Airs Dance Band will perform.
At 4 p.m., the Children’s Musical ‘Kilroy Was Here’ 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, The Twin Magicians, Typhoon Tommy and the Jet Ski Show, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse Theater, the tugboat Urger, The Shadow Players (pirates) 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