By Jessica Reynolds Staff writer
The Daily Star
---- — Despite sporadic downpours on Saturday, organizers said OH-Fest 9 was a “super smooth” event.
The day started out with sunshine as the annual Main Street carnival kicked off at 1 p.m. The carnival featured live music, food and business vendors, carnival games and three inflatable rides for children. More than 60 Hartwick and State University College at Oneonta students volunteered to help at the carnival and concert, according to Kai Malik, president of SUNY Oneonta’s Student Association Activities Council.
“It’s going so amazingly,” Malik said at the carnival on Saturday. “Even though it drizzled a little while ago, we were ready and everything’s been super smooth.”
Malik, a junior at SUNY Oneonta, said she thought this year’s carnival attendance was better than ever and complimented the volunteers for all their hard work and planning.
“Even if it rains later, the concert will still happen,” Malik said. “We’re prepared.”
Tracy and Art Thompson traveled from Binghamton for the third year in a row to sell their handmade jewelry at the carnival, they said. Last year, they did very well and sold many pairs of earrings, the couple said, because the weather was so nice and many people were out and about.
“Business has been pretty good, for the weather,” Tracy Thompson said, of this year’s carnival. “We will certainly come back next year.”
Also seeking to make a profit at the carnival was Hartwick College’s women’s swimming team. Morgan Riggins and Bree Jefferds, both freshmen at the school, stood under a tent as rain started to pour around 3:30 p.m., trying to sell hairbands, crosses and canvases that were hand-painted by the team.
“We’ve done pretty well,” Riggins said, of their profit. “The money will help offset the cost of our personal gear, like tech suits for competitions.”
Chelsea Donovan, 17, said she was disappointed by the rain. OH-Fest is an event that usually brings sunny weather to mind, she said, but she didn’t let it ruin her fun. Donovan, of Oneonta, and her two friends, who were visiting from Binghamton, said their favorite part of the carnival was the food.
“The rain stinks,” Donovon said. “It ruins my hair ... But the fried dough was so good.”
After the sky opened up and the rain began to fall harder, carnival-goers and vendors took cover under tents or in Main Street restaurants and shops. Inflatable rides were taken down and vendors began to pack up their things about an hour before the carnival’s projected end time, 5 p.m., because of the downpour. The majority of the carnival was put away by 4 p.m.
But the rain tapered off just in time for the free concert in Neahwa Park at 7 p.m. Baked Potatoes, a reggae-influenced student group that won the March 5 Battle of the Bands at SUNY Oneonta, opened the show, with Aire Atlantica, a DJ, performing in between. Who’s Bad, an energetic Michael Jackson tribute band, performed to the small crowd near the park’s baseball fields.
Scott Jubar and his family, of Oneonta, enjoyed dancing together to the tunes of Who’s Bad. Jubar’s son, 4-year-old Noah, had the best seat in the house atop his father’s shoulders, where he bounced and waved happily along with the music. About four songs into the set, Noah fell asleep to a “Billie Jean” lullaby.
“We like Michael Jackson,” Jubar said. “That’s why we’re here.”
Cosmic Karma Fire dancers drew a large crowd as spectators waited for Sammy Adams to take the stage. They danced to beats provided by Aire Atlantica and got the crowd involved during their fiery spectacle.
Sergeant Christopher Witzenburg, of the Oneonta Police Department, said there were no major disruptions or problems during Adams’ set. Many state troopers, volunteers and Oneonta city police, including some patrolling on bicycles, stood by to make sure there were no mishaps, he said.
Overall, Witzenburg said, the entire OH-Fest event was “pretty flawless,” with minimal trouble throughout the day. There were a couple of noise violations and several other small citations given, he said, but no notable arrests.