Public Shares Thoughts On Harborfest’s Future

OSWEGO, NY – Around three dozen people gathered Tuesday night at the McCrobie Building to discuss Harborfest part, present and future.

“What we’re looking for is comments, plus or minus, about last (summer’s) Harborfest and if anyone has any ideas for next year’s Harborfest, we’d love to hear them,” Steve Fulton, the festival’s interim executive director said in welcoming the crowd.

Topics included funding, volunteers, transportation, entertainment and more.

“The feedback that I got about this year’s Harborfest was very positive,” Mayor Tom Gillen said.

Mike Howard, president of the fest’s board of directors, praised the volunteers and the small Harborfest staff for their work in creating a world-class festival.

“It’s a very limited staff and a lot of volunteers,” he said. “I think we had an excellent Harborfest last year and we have really big plans for Harborfest 2013.”

Chuck Handley, board vice president, agreed.

“Harborfest is funded by itself. It’s by sponsorships, by vendors, by membership,” he said. “The city and county are big partners in Harborfest. Without this support, there’d be no Harborfest. It’s a two-way street.”

David Granoff suggested making maps of the festival more readily available.

Festival organizers will also continue to take advantage of technology. They currently have a Facebook page and will consider other things like apps for smart phones so that fest-goers can keep updated on what’s going on all over the festival.

They will also look for ways to attract more young people to the event.

Granoff said the festival could take more advantage of the area’s natural assets and offer events like fishing or boat tours.

In previous years, the festival did try something similar with ferries, Fulton noted. “There were no takers,” he added.

Mercedes Niess, executive director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum, thanked fest officials for adding the marine museum to the trolley route.

“That was a huge boost for us,” she said. “I don’t think the public really understands what (Harborfest staff) produces with so little. It is unbelievable. There are festivals all over this country that are folding up and to the affect that this festival is still going on is really a tribute to all the work that the board and the staff do,” she said.

It is also a great promotional tool for the city of Oswego and the county, she added.

Fulton noted that the festival will keep all of its current venues in place for 2013.

“We’re not going to drop anything at all,” he said.

Parking was another issue the public was concerned with.

“We’re looking at actually bringing our parking in closer (to the festival),” Fulton said. “We’re looking at it. Everything will be reviewed.”

In previous years, the festival has contracted with buses to transport people to and from the festival. It has become very expensive to do that, he noted.

Planning is under way for Harborfest 2013.

It will take place July 25 to 28.

Performers interested in appearing at the 2013 festival can obtain an application through the Harborfest website, www.oswegoharborfest.com, by clicking on “Applications” on the home page.

Applications can also be obtained in person from the Harborfest Offices at 41 Lake St., Oswego.

Application deadline is January 17, 2013.

A labeled CD and a press kit must accompany each application.


  1. If Harborfest is such a good deal for the area why is it that they never reveal their financial position, how much spent, how much received, staff salaries, etc.?

  2. It’s public information as the Festival is a not for profit. Contact the office for any of your inquiries. Events like last nights forum are open for things such as that.

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