The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Guest Column

December 29, 2012

Oneonta's First Night is too good to miss


Carol Mandigo has made arrangements for Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center, where the hour-long parade that starts at 4 p.m. will end, to be a center of children’s entertainment so parents can enjoy the more than 25 musical acts in 18 venues within five city blocks (this last part is a catch phrase from Will Lunn, who almost single-handedly organized those more than 25 performances).

Board members for the past few months have been reserving porta-potties, distributing First Night buttons ($15 each, not necessary for those 12 and younger), securing a 10 p.m. fireworks display, organizing volunteers (more are needed!), making sure landlords will be turning on heat at venues and everything else that needs to be done.

These people are part of what I love so much about Oneonta. They are volunteering their time and energy to create something memorable and inexpensive for the community. They want to give the community something fun to do that doesn’t revolve around champagne or sequins, although the latter are welcome.

First Night is a family-friendly non-alcoholic event that brings together musical entertainment, dance troops, face-painting, clowns, giant puppets and fireworks for one night as a gift to the community.

Monday night, I’ll be checking and selling buttons at the Crystal Palace Barbershop, one of those 18 wonderful venues that has volunteered to be a part of First Night. I’m looking forward to listening to Skyani and the Hop City Hellcats there, and also wandering to the Oneonta Theatre to see the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, and to the Unitarian Universalist Church to hear Driftwood, and wherever else in those magical five city blocks I can get to, by foot or shopping cart.

Buttons will be available at the entrance to venues Monday evening. A full schedule of events is at, where those interested in volunteering can fill out a form to help out Monday.

CASSANDRA MILLER is the former editor in chief of the O-Town Scene and a former editor at The Daily Star.

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