“Everything is great!” said Samantha Pickreign, marketing and communications manager for the fest. “We had between 15,000 and 17,000 at Joan Jett’s concert Friday night. The weather was gorgeous, and we’re hoping it continues the rest of the weekend.”
“Attendance has been really good. The Joan Jett concert was packed; I’ve never seen so many people in that park for a concert. It was really deep; I’ve never seen it that deep,” agreed Kim Cloonan, president of the fest’s board.
Despite the Route 104 bridge being closed, transportation flowed smoothly back and forth across the river during the fest.
“A lot of people are taking the ferry and riding the trolleys. Getting from one side of the river to the other has been very smooth,” Cloonan said. “We’re doing good, despite the rain. The crowd has been enjoying everything and we’ve had no big problems. It’s been a good Harborfest.”
Jim Oldenburg said his family was caught in one of the showers Saturday afternoon.
“We just went from one store’s awning to the next,” he said. “It’s not that bad if you’re prepared.”
Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann agreed.
“The rain wasn’t that big of a problem,” he said. “It didn’t seem to be as crowded as usual. Getting around hasn’t been a problem, either. We’ve been walking. The water taxis are nice. That makes it easier for people to get to both sides of the river.”
“Last year, the one ferry handled 2,400 people. We beat that number at 4 p.m. Saturday,” Pickreign said.
Some people did complain about the rain, and the parks turning into mud.
However, when one person complained about the crowds Saturday night, someone nearby pointed out, “Hey man, it’s Harborfest fireworks night. It’s supposed to be crowded!”
No one complained about the fireworks.
“This is just great,” said Penny Schrader. “I love the fireworks at Harborfest. They’re the best. I live for this!”
On Sunday, Harborfest had a new ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œoldiesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â event in Breitbeck Park.
For the past couple years, the park has been home to the B-Jam Country Music Concert on the final day of the festival. This year, there was a more nostalgic sound.
WSEN 92.1 FM and WFBL 1390 AM partnered with Harborfest to provide an opportunity for classic car enthusiasts to proudly show their cars or admire other enthusiasts’ timeless treasures.
About two dozen classic car owners showed off their vehicles. There was something for everyone to enjoy from classic Fords to Chargers, GTOs, Firebirds and more.
Syl Albert of East River Road had his 1940 Packard on blocks for 30 years.
After he retired he “got back at it” and restored the vehicle.
“I bought it in 1970. For the first 30 years I had it, I just maintained the car on blocks. I never got it ‘road ready’ as they say. About six or seven years ago, I said, ‘I got to get that car on the road.'”
The car has 52,000 miles on it.
It’s a top model Packard with a standard shift on the column, not on the floor.
There were six-cylinder and 8-cylinder models, he noted.
“The top of the line was Super 8. It has a long wheel base, all original. It has the original heater and radio. The backseat interior is wool, the other side of it is leather.
The vehicle cost $2,220 in 1940, a lot more than some of the other companies’ cars.
“It was expensive, but it was the top of the line car,” Albert said.
Dick Thomas’ 1960 Thunderbird was all basically original, he said.
“It was repainted about 14 years ago. I had a dent in the door I had taken out three weeks ago. It took over a week and a half to get the paint matched,” he explained. “There are eight different colors in that green, in the base coat.”
Some people would go across the country searching for a classic vehicle. The Syracuse resident said he had only to go to the next street.
The car was owned by a woman his son used to cut grass for years ago.
His son bought the car a few years later, with some financial aid from his father. However, he doesn’t get to drive it that often anymore. So he turned it over to his father with one stipulation.
“He said, ‘just let me drive it now and then.’ So I got my investment back and the car,” Thomas said. “It’s worth about $45,000.”
Mike Redding and Steve Fulton, two former directors of Harborfest were volunteering at this year’s fest.
Fulton was the director from 1994-98 and Redding just recently stepped down after overseeing the fest from 2000 until earlier this spring.
“It’s been a good festival,” Redding said. “The music was great. The fireworks were wonderful, again.”
“We started planning this fest months ago, with an eye toward the transportation issue with the bridge being out,” Fulton said. “It appears things are going well.”