College students, police, city officials and others in Oneonta have been preparing for Saturday’s OH-Fest, which after months of planning will have a concert in Neahwa Park after a year’s absence as well as a carnival on Main Street.
The eighth annual OH-Fest carnival will be between 1 and 5 p.m., and four bands will play in Neahwa Park between 6 and 10 p.m. during a concert with enhanced private security.
Students organizers at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College arranged to hire 28 unarmed security officers at a cost of about $4,200 for the concert venue, organizers said, to meet a stipulation imposed by the city Common Council, which was concerned about crowd control. About 7,000 people are expected to attend the concert, organizers said.
In 2011, the rapper Pitbull performed at an OH-Fest concert in the park, drawing a crowd of about 10,000 people that sparked concerns about public safety. Under a revised approach, OH-Fest last year included a week of activities at Hartwick’s Oneonta campus, a carnival downtown and a pair of paid indoor concerts at the State University College at Oneonta.
Students are excited to have the carnival downtown and to be able again to attend a free concert in Neawha Park, MaryBeth Carswell, president of the Student Association Activities council at SUNY Oneonta, said.
“I hope everyone comes and has a great time,’’ Carswell, a member of the organizing executive OH-Fest board. “It will be a great day.’’
Main Street will be closed from 10 a.m. To 6 p.m. Between Chestnut Street and Ford Avenue, Lt. Douglas Brenner of the Oneonta Police Department said.
The city also will have extra police patrols and fire department crews on duty for OH-Fest. In Neahwa Park, a command center will be set up in the skate house near Hodges Pond.