OSWEGO, NY – Over the weekend, the Port City celebrated what the area is best known for – Winter. 2014 marked the ninth annual Warm Up Oswego festival.
The YMCA adopted the festival in 2006 in order to raise money to renovate the Armory and to create more programs.
Temperatures lingered in the teens Saturday and the windchill made it even colder. But hundreds of people braved the weather in and around the Oswego YMCA Armory.
Throughout the afternoon, hundreds of people wandered around the Armory to check out the vendors’ wares and watch the various demonstrations and performances.
The crowds came in waves.
Boy Scout Troop 888 raised the flag outside the Armory and lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance to kick off the opening ceremonies.
“This festival gives us the opportunity to celebrate Oswego’s fabulous winters,” Mayor Tom Gillen said. “Today we can show the world that Oswego is one hot town, even when the temperature is below freezing!’
Following the opening remarks, the annual the Hot 2K Trot race got under way.
What was the best part of the day? “I got to dance with the ‘pepper,'” exclaimed one Oswego youngster.
“It’s what you do on a cold winter day in Oswego – you celebrate,” the mayor told Oswego County Today. “There are a lot of people inside (the Armory) having a good time. It’s really great to see all the demonstrations and performances. There are a lot of good things going on in Oswego. I’d like to thank the organizers of the festival for helping highlight some of those things.”
This year’s event drew hundreds of people to the Armory and dozens more to various other locations all around downtown from noon to 4 p.m. for the annual Hot Scavenger Hunt.
Alex’s on the Water hosted the hot wing festival (Friday) to support the Child Advocacy Center in Oswego County.
Other hot spots throughout Oswego kept up the heat all weekend, including Lakeside Artisans’ Mug of Music, SUNY Oswego’s art opening and an open mic night at the McCrobie Civic Center with Larry Kyle Damn Dogs.
Among the other hot spots around the city were Canale’s Restaurant, Lakeside Artisans, GS Steamers, Old City Hall, the Oswego Elks Lodge and Zink.
“This is fun. It’s what Oswego is all about; (children) enjoying the winter,” said Jillian Shaver of the Children’s Museum of Oswego.
The group volunteered to conduct the Treasure Hunt in the Snow event.
Children dug through a mountain of snow in front of the Armory to find prizes. Three lucky hunters unearthed (unsnowed?) three large peppers, red, green and gold.
Each pepper had a special prize attached to it; free lessons at Master Pryors Taekwondo America, a Cosmic Bowling party at Lighthouse Lanes, and a $25 gift certificate to The Comic Shop.
“I think we had a nice turnout,” said Mary Vanouse, community development director and one of the organizers of the event. “Everything is going well and everyone is having a real good time.”
The annual scavenger hunt led participants through the city to dozens of local businesses to get their programs stamped.
The fireworks by Pyrotecnico display began at 6 p.m. and blazed in the sky over the Oswego River for several minutes.
Downstairs in the Armory on Saturday, the Oswego County Humane Society was looking to find permanent homes for several cats.
The “personal warming devices” were available for adoption at a special rate of $20.14 during the festival. (The cost is likely to increase slightly in 2015).
While they were successful for some this year, many other felines remain in foster homes.
To find out more about how you can help care for the cats or adopt one (or two) of your own, call 207-1070.
Inside the YMCA Armory, local vendors, businesses and organizations had booths which offered a myriad of products and services.
Among the vendors were the All Seasons Inn/Beacon Hotel, Amanda Marie Designs, Diann and Peggy’s Avon Boutique, the Hot Shoppe, Zero Draft, Assorted Delights of Crafty Roller Girls, the H. Lee White Marine Museum and many more.
Irish dancers, singers and karate students also showed off their skills.
No one in the Armory went hungry. Besides popcorn and other snacks, Canale’s and and Aunt Mary’s offered a wide variety of cuisine. And, after “lunch” they could enjoy a cupcake, or get several to take home.
Boy Scout Troop 888 cooked hot dogs over a fire outside the historic facility.
Outside the Armory, some youngsters played king of the mountain on a pile of icy snow between the YMCA and Armory following the treasure hunt in the snow event.
The team crazy costume sled race lasted just a few seconds this year.
The YMCA Misfits team captured the title.
They were followed by the squad from the “Once Upon A Time” Port City Roller Girls (winners of the best costume for 2014’s event).
The major sponsors of the Warm Up Oswego festival included the city of Oswego and Pyrotecnico, who put on the fireworks display over the Oswego River on Saturday evening.