Saturday August 9 from noon till 7 p.m. and Sunday, August 10 from noon till 5 p.m. the city of Oswego will play host to the first annual Fort Ontario Festival of the Arts.
The festival was originally conceived as a showcase for visual artists to have a venue to display and sell their work on the grounds surrounding Fort Ontario State Historic Site. The idea has since blossomed into a full-fledged community festival encompassing many different media with interesting things to do for the whole family.
Amongst the many attractions to the festival is first and foremost an art exhibition with selected artists and crafts people displaying their work through out the festival grounds, plus a concurrently running art show located in the Oswego Civic Arts Center building across the street from the festival.
There are also three separate, covered stage areas, geared towards different age groups. This includes a Main stage featuring professional musicians from around the area and the world, in an eclectic mix of performances ranging from African drummers to country western bands.
Other venues include the children’s activities tent and stage dedicated to kids of all ages featuring a Magician, Clowning, a children’s Parade around Fort Ontario, “Punch and Judy” Puppet Shows and Audience Participation Plays. Performances are scheduled throughout the festival.
Another area, is especially designed for young adults between the ages of 13 and 25, This stage will feature a “Battle of the Bands” and a concurrently running “Battle of the Acoustics” on Saturday August 9 from 12 p.m. till 7 p.m. On Sunday the teen venue will feature the First Annual “Express Yourself” Variety Show where members of the general public are invited to show off their special talents,
In addition on Saturday evening August 9 at 7 p.m. Old Fort Ontario will echo with the “little bit country and the little bit rock and roll” stylings of the “Whiskey River Band” who will be performing a free concert inside Fort Ontario itself
Another event is designed to celebrate Oswego’s rich sports history with a vintage softball tournament using the big ball used in softball’s infancy.
The public is also invited to participate in a public art project that will benefit Habitat for Humanity. The Festival is teaming up with Can-a-Lot Can and Bottle deposit to provide a fun public art project at the event.
Recyclable cans donated to a special account at Can-a-lot, will used to create a sculpture situated on the festival grounds giving the opportunity for people of all ages to add their own special touch to the Piece. At the end of the festival the cans will be are re-recycled to benefit the local Habitat for Humanity organization to help build homes for area residents.
The Fort Ontario Festival of the Arts is a part of the statewide ‘Canal Splash’ celebration, and is made possible in part by a Decentralization Grant secured through the Cultural Resources Council from the New York State Council on the Arts, and is hosted by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Fort Ontario State Historic Site, The Art Association of Oswego, The Greater Oswego and Fulton Chamber of Commerce, The City of Oswego, The Oswego Players, The American Federation of Musicians and The Oswego Children’s Theater.