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Showers Did Little To Dampen Harborfest

</p>Freelance photographer David "Allie" Thompson shared this photo with Oswego County Today, showing both the spectacular fireworks and nature's own show of light and sound.  His website is http://www.thompsonsphotography.tk/
Freelance photographer David "Allie" Thompson shared this photo with Oswego County Today, showing both the spectacular fireworks and nature's own show of light and sound. His website is http://www.thompsonsphotography.tk/
OSWEGO, NY – Although it may have seemed at times this year’s Harborfest was being held in the harbor, organizers say the event was a big success.

“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.”

Syl Albert, right, of Oswego, explains about his classic 1940 Packard
Syl Albert, right, of Oswego, explains about his classic 1940 Packard

“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.

Brittany, left, and Jessica Calasurdo chat in East Park Saturday as they wait out a rain shower.
Brittany, left, and Jessica Calasurdo chat in East Park Saturday as they wait out a rain shower.

Despite the Route 104 bridge being closed, transportation flowed smoothly back and forth across the river during the fest.

Matthew Oldenburg tries to keep his huge fried dough balanced.
Matthew Oldenburg tries to keep his huge fried dough balanced.

“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.

Max sits and eyes Kristen Phillips' dish of sorbet. He was rewarded for his good behavior with his own dish of vanilla ice cream.
Max sits and eyes Kristen Phillips' dish of sorbet. He was rewarded for his good behavior with his own dish of vanilla ice cream.

“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.

Jen Lee of Utica, a music major at SUNY Oswego, plays the violin along the Harbor Rail-Trail Walkway to lift the spirits of those walking in the rain.
Jen Lee of Utica, a music major at SUNY Oswego, plays the violin along the Harbor Rail-Trail Walkway to lift the spirits of those walking in the rain.

“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!”

A burst of white fireworks light up Oswego Harbor on Saturday night.
A burst of white fireworks light up Oswego Harbor on Saturday night.

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!”

Carlton Shippee of the Northeast Navy Showband checks out the motor of one of the classic Fords on display Sunday in Breitbeck Park. A little bit later, he was performing on the Lakeview Stage.
Carlton Shippee of the Northeast Navy Showband checks out the motor of one of the classic Fords on display Sunday in Breitbeck Park. A little bit later, he was performing on the Lakeview Stage.

On Sunday, Harborfest had a new “oldies” 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.

Rachel Edwards, left, and Lexi Gillard prepare to serve more NY Bold Onions to hungry customer at the Buccaneer Boosters' stand.
Rachel Edwards, left, and Lexi Gillard prepare to serve more NY Bold Onions to hungry customer at the Buccaneer Boosters' stand.

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.

Oswego's Elizabeth Enwright smiles after enjoying some fried dough with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Oswego's Elizabeth Enwright smiles after enjoying some fried dough with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

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.

Many people rode the trolley to get around the festival. Another transportation option was the water taxis.
Many people rode the trolley to get around the festival. Another transportation option was the water taxis.

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.

Former festival directors, Steve Fulton, left, and Mike Redding, admire one of the classic cars Sunday.
Former festival directors, Steve Fulton, left, and Mike Redding, admire one of the classic cars Sunday.

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.

Larry Rapshaw was one of the many vendors selling trinkets at Harborfest.
Larry Rapshaw was one of the many vendors selling trinkets at Harborfest.

“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.”

2 Comments

  1. That’s some serious spin going on there by Hfest management.

    Looked like a shell of the once great festival as it’s quality continues to slide into an abyss. As once one of the biggest proponents of the festival when it was about diverse acts, culture, and family entertainment, now that it’s just a drunken stupor fest attracting the lowbrow demographic with crummy cover bands, 1/2 the venues, and seedier sides of life, I say good riddance and don’t come back.

  2. Congrats to Harborfest for another GREAT festival. My family in Oswego enjoyed the festival and appreciate all of the hard work, staff, volunteers and municipal officials put into the effort once again this year. And, for the previous writer, they are not lowbrows or seedy. Harborfest is a GREAT family event that brings people from throughout the country and world and they are a small portion of the families who come together to enjoy the Port City and it’s annual festival. I’m sorry I was unable to travel east to attend the festival this year, however, I continue to be proud enough of it and my hometown to support it in other ways!

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