Harborfest Terminates Executive Director

Harborfest Announces New Executive Board, Restructuring To Gear Up for 25th Year Of The Festival

OSWEGO, NY – The board of directors for Oswego Harbor Festivals, Inc., a non-profit organization, approved new executive board appointments at its last meeting.

The new slate follows:
President – Mike Howard

First VP – Chuck Handley
Second VP – Heidi Strong
Treasurer – Amanda Baker
Recording Secretary – Jon Spaulding
Corresponding Secretary – Sean Callen
At Large – Bruce Turner, Jake Mulcahey, Ed Proto

The first order of business for the executive board is to fill some key positions recently vacated on the
Harborfest staff including the festival’s director, Tom Van Schaack.

Said newly-appointed board president, Mike Howard, “We thank Tom for his two-plus years of service to Harborfest, and we welcome Barbara Manwaring as our interim executive director. Barbara brings several years of experience as business manager and programming coordinator for Harborfest and we are excited for her to help bring our new vision for the 25th year of Harborfest to reality. Our 2012 festival will set the stage for our next 25 years in Oswego.”

Specific details on the new vision, structure, and the 2012 festival have yet to emerge, but Howard made a point to make it known that the board and staff have been gearing up for the grandest of celebrations to ring in the 25th year of the festival.

“Harborfest was conceptualized as a celebration of Oswego’s waterfront and as a representation of the warmth and spirit of our communities in Oswego County,” said Howard. “We will remain true to that concept, while ensuring the 25th year of the festival is the best yet.”

Harborfest 2012 is scheduled for July 26 – 29.

Each year, in addition to the great music and entertainment featured at Harborfest, an educational /cultural theme is chosen.

This past summer, the theme was Great Britain and in 2010, it was France.

This leads up to the 25th year of Harborfest, which coincides with the bicentennial of the War of 1812, where the United States declared war against Great Britain due to their restrictions on trade, expansion, and their repression of our national sovereignty.

Original Article Below:

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego Harborfest is looking for a new executive director.

The board terminated Tom Van Schaack at its last meeting.

“Following the monthly board meeting last Monday (Sept. 19) and executive committee meeting on Sept. 20, the new executive committee was elected at the board meeting the night before, I was informed on Friday (Sept. 23), that I was being terminated,” Van Schaack told Oswego County Today.

He said he was informed that the board was looking to take the festival in a new direction and “reenergize” the festival with the 25th edition of Harborfest coming up next year.

“I was certainly taken by surprise by this decision. I felt that the festival, with all things considered, was in good shape after this year’s event,” Van Schaack said. “We had great weather, super music and attendance was up. Financially, Harborfest was in better shape after this year’s event then the prior three years and plans were already being discussed for the 2012 festival.”

The new president of the Harborfest board hasn’t returned calls seeking information for this story..

“As a native of Oswego, I wish only the best for the future of the festival, and event that gives our community the opportunity to showcase what we have to offer,” Van Schaack said.

In early April of 2009, Harborfest’s board announced the festival had a new executive director – Tom Van Schaack.

“Tom knows his way around Oswego and is excited to be taking on the challenge of executive director of Harborfest. He is a motivated professional and has already hit the ground running and is looking to make Harborfest 2009 a memorable event,” said John Scardella, then president of the board of directors for Harborfest.

A graduate of Oswego High School, Van Schaack holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications / Broadcasting from SUNY Brockport and had spent the past 23 years working in professional baseball for a number of minor league teams, including a stint as assistant general manager with the Syracuse Chiefs and most recently as general manager of the Huntsville Stars.

1 Comment

  1. Glad he’s gone. Hopefully the next person will make the festival family freindly. More activities for children and better entertainment. I would like to see more local talent.

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