OSWEGO – Oswego Harborfest today (April 5) announced a new multi-year agreement with its new Grucci Fireworks sponsors – Exelon Generation and Pathfinder Bank.
Entertainment for the festival also announced. Headliners include Don Felder (formerly of the Eagles), Almost Queen, Changes in Latitude and more.
This year, Harborfest is scheduled for July 26 through 29.
The festival will provide free entertainment and music from nationally known and local acts as well as a wide variety of food and other vendors.
“I am very pleased to have Exelon Generation and Pathfinder Bank as the new sponsors for the fireworks,” Peter Myles, the festival’s executive director, said at a press conference at G&S Steamers in Oswego. “The Grucci Fireworks show has been a major attraction for the festival for the past 30 years. It is nice to see these two companies, that have a vested interest in the Oswego community, come together to carry on this tradition for the next several years.”
Since its founding in 1988, Harborfest has brought to its stages more than 600 regional, national and local performing artists, he said.
“This year, our 31st festival, will be no different. There are more than 50 different shows and performances to be showcased in parks throughout the city for the four-day festival,” he told Oswego County Today. “One of the major attractions for the festival has always been the Grucci fireworks show on Saturday evening.”
Peter Orphanos, Exelon Generation’s Nine Mile Point site vice president, said he looks forward to Harborfest for a number of reasons.
He experienced his first Harborfest his first year here, he said, adding, “I don’t know if I can put into words the impression that that left on me. The energy level, just going around the city, was incredible!”
The fireworks display over the lake was “a world-class adventure,” he said.
“We are very proud of our employees that involve themselves in the community daily,” he said. “On behalf of Exelon Generation, here’s to another great year of Harborfest and the fireworks.”
“As a local community bank, we understand that this festival is an integral part of our community. Not only does it hold economic value, the cultural and civic benefits that Harborfest possess are also beneficial for our community’s growth. We recognize the importance of the festival’s longstanding tradition through its fireworks display and we are proud to be able to be involved and to help support this event now and in the future,” said Dan Capella Jr., a Pathfinder Bank spokesperson and member of the festival’s board. “We are very proud to be a partner with Exelon and sponsor the fireworks.”
Anyone who has never seen the display should make it a point to see Harborfest’s fireworks, he said, describing the event as “unrivaled.”
“We are excited to support the Harborfest fireworks display on its 31st anniversary,” Exelon Generation Senior Vice President Chris Mudrick added in a prepared statement. “This is an important event for the community, the economy and for our employees at the FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point nuclear energy facilities. In fact, more than 75 Exelon employees are planning to volunteer their time before, during and after the festival. We could not be prouder of their energy for the community.”
Harborfest also offered a glimpse at some of the entertainment lineup. It can be viewed at www.oswegoharborfest.com under the venues/parks and performers tabs.
The headlining act, Don Fedler, will be playing on the Friday of Harborfest at 10 p.m.
Chuck Handley, president of the board, is also chairman of the programming committee, “which is actually the fun thing to do at Harborfest; sit around in January and February and listen to the submittals of all the acts, local and national,” he said.
Harborfest is one of the few admission-free music festivals in the country.
Admission-free festivals usually run one of two paths. “One, they usually go away after eight to 10 years,” Handley pointed out. “Or, two, they turn into an admission-based festival. Our board of directors is committed to keeping this festival admission-free.”
“As an admission-free festival, our sponsors are crucial to Harborfest’s existence. We could not offer this four-day festival without your financial support,” Myles said. “At Harborfest, we have a very small and part-time staff that does what ever it takes to plan for and organize Harborfest. Planning for this year’s event began shortly after last year’s event was over with. I am very fortunate to have such a hard-working and dedicated staff.”
Handley thanked the Port City for all it does to support the annual festival.
On the main stage at Breitbeck Park, the festival’s crown jewel, Almost Queen will kick off the festival on Thursday night, Handley said.
“Breitbeck Park will be rocking with all of Queen’s hits. The sing-along of Bohemian Rhapsody will be a moment you don’t want to miss,” he said.
Felder will perform Friday night. It’ll be another classic Harborfest moment when he takes the stage and sings one of the greatest songs ever written – Hotel California.
Saturday night will feature Hard Promises, this area’s premier Tom Petty band will perform prior to the fireworks. They perform a variety of songs, not just Tom Petty songs.
On Sunday, at East Park, Harborfest brings back Enter the Haggis. In 2016, they played to the largest crowd ever in the park’s history.
Closing out the fest on the main stage will be Changing Latitudes, “an outstanding Jimmy Buffet tribute band,” Handley said, add that “all of Jimmy’s hits will be played with beach balls and parrot’s heads in abundance at the park.”
Harborfest was founded with the mission of creating nationally recognized festivals and events that attract and engage a broad and diverse audience, celebrate and build community and advance economic development in Oswego.
It would not be possible to continue the event without the massive continued support received from the city of Oswego, businesses, organizations, government entities and individuals and family members, Myles said.
“The 31st annual Oswego Harborfest will be one not to miss,” Handley added. “To be able to hear and sing along to the music of Queen, The Eagles, Tom Petty and Jimmy Buffet at our admission-free festival will prove once again – the place to be in July is at Oswego’s Harborfest.”
To learn more, contact the Harborfest offices at 41 Lake St., Oswego or visit www.oswegoharborfest.com.