By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star
---- — Goodyear Lake Day, a community celebration with fireworks, a parade, music, food, vendors and a 5k race, marked the 106th anniversary of Collier’s Dam and Goodyear Lake.
The event, co-sponsored by Goodyear Lake Association and Goodyear Polar Bear Jump, was held at Krol Field on Lakeshore Drive in Milford.
State Sen. James L. Seward, R-Milford, greeted the crowd of about 50 participants. Seward, who grew up in the Goodyear Lake community, said he enjoys seeing the community gather in celebration.
“These are my old stomping grounds,” Seward said. “I have a lot of respect for the Goodyear Lake Association. They do a lot to preserve the quality of the lake. It is really great to see everyone coming out. This is a great community here. This festival highlights the area and brings people together.”
One of the many display booths featured studies of the lake by State University College at Oneonta graduate students and their research on invasive species in Goodyear Lake. Eurasian watermilfoil is a plant native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, according to the U.S.D.A. National Library. It is often used in aquariums and has found its way into American waterways.
“If you are interested in preserving the natural species, you can pull enough of it out to give the natural species a chance,” said Elli Mazeres, a graduate student at SUNY Oneonta. “They have been pulling the water chestnut out that used to be here. The lake really looks good.”
The day’s events began with a 5k race around the lake, with 24 participants.
The top three men to complete the race were: First place, Michael Hamilton with a time of 17:16:98; second place, Michael Rutledge with a time of 17:36:02; and third place, Dalton Roe with a time of 19:16:03.
The top three women to finish were: First place, Aly Kulp with a time of 23:10:51; second place, Melissa Leonard with a time of 24:35:08; and third place, Julia Eichenlaub with a time of 24:51:10.
“This was really fun,” said Eichenlaub, 13, of Elmira Heights. “I started cross-country last year. I wasn’t expecting to get that time.”
The children’s parade came through Krol Field around noon. More than a dozen children on decorated bicycles, lawn tractors and strollers carried balloons and waved as zydeco music played.
“The theme of the parade this year is “Let the Good (year) Times Roll,” said event coordinator Francine Stayter. “This is my fourth year doing this and we have a great deal of enthusiasm. It is an old tradition to celebrate the end of summer. The children parade around the lake with their wagons and bikes and even lawn tractors decorated. That way residents who may not be able to get to the field can participate. We have 200 families who are part of the Goodyear Lake Association.”
The event featured several exhibits and demonstrations including Otsego County Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, Allied Biological, Otsego County Conservation Association and Otsego County Soil and Water.
A classic car parade and show encouraged Milford classic car collectors to show off their wheels. Several local collectors participated.
There was live music most of the day, with Randy’s Harp Tones performing in the morning and Country Express scheduled for the afternoon. Several vendors sold hamburgers, drinks and ice cream. Commercial vendors joined not-for-profit organizations under tents full of information, activities and merchandise.
In the evening, a lighted boat parade was held around the lake and fireworks by Majestic lit the lake in colorful sparkles.
“Our fireworks are spectacular,” Stayter said. “We shoot them off over the lake and, because we are in a bowl of sorts, the sound echoes all around the lake.”
According to Stayter, Collier’s Dam is one of the earliest hydroelectric dams still in operation in New York. Goodyear Lake was formed 106 years ago with the construction of Collier’s Dam on the Susquehanna River and Goodyear Lake Association was formed in 1921.
The event celebrated 92 years of caring for the lake and the land as well as fostering a sense of community, according to Goodyear Lake Association. The association is involved in protecting the quality of Goodyear Lake by working to remove invasive species from the lake.
Goodyear Lake Association recently was awarded state grants to help with the study of invasive species and to help develop a public launch site and educational walkway on state Route 28 in Portlandville.