Thousands of visitors descended on Oneonta’s Neahwa Park for Fourth of July festivities that ended with a loud colorful fireworks display accompanied by ohs, ahs and occasional shrieks.
“Look at them — watch, watch,” Nichole Cairns of Delhi said about seeing fireworks for the first time in 10 years. “It’s awesome. I love it.”
The fireworks boomed, then cascaded in bursts of blues, reds, greens and white.
“That was one good show,” a boy said aloud as he left the park.
Some other visitors and organizers agreed Thursday’s Hometown Fourth of July event was a successful friendly and family oriented event. More than 10 bands and performers were listed to appear on the main stage. Several listeners danced, as cluster of families and friends sat in chairs or on grass near Hodges Pond, and others milled around.
Police estimated attendance at 4,000 to 5,000 before people started arriving at 8 p.m. for the fireworks display. Long lines formed at some food venders.
Chicken, hotdogs, pulled-pork sandwiches, fried-dough specialties, cotton candy and popcorn were on the fair-like menu.
Michael Fiore, 14, Sam Devlin, 15, and Timmy Gillaspy, 14, of Troop 400 in Cincinnati said Thursday afternoon that the food was a highlight of the day because they had spent a week on camping rations while hiking in the rain in the Adirondack Park.
They were among 35 scouts and their leaders on a trek that included the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and their first dry night at Gilbert Lake State Park in Laurens. They agreed Oneonta was a friendly and they were looking forward to watching fireworks before boarding a bus to Niagara Falls.
Johanna Teeri of New York City also was staying in Gilbert Lake State Park. The family previously had traveled to Margaretville but wanted to explore farther, she said, and they came to Oneonta.