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Local News

July 5, 2013

Food, fun, fireworks fill Fourth of July


“We love it,” she said, as her daughters finished having their faces painted. Evelina Porta, 6, and her sister, Adiana Porta, 8, said they enjoyed playing the inflatable games, which Adiana said numbered almost 10.

“And they’re all different,’’ her sister said.

Jeff and Belinda Schallert of Oneonta were waiting in line at an inflatable attraction with their three sons. They recently moved back to Oneonta from Florida and were pleased again to be in an area where they could find different, affordable activities nearby to do as a family each weekend, he said, and the Fourth of July event was a good example.

“The kids are having a great time,” he said. “It’s been a really nice family-oriented day.”

David Hayes of First Night Oneonta, which organized the Fourth of July event, said the day had been “absolutely great.” A transformer blew, but vendors and performers cooperated and the show went on, he said.

By observation, crowds appeared larger than last year, Hayes said.

“I see a ton of smiling faces — this shows off Oneonta at its best,” he said. “This is nothing short of fantastic.”

The event cost $15,000 to produce, which was supported by foundations, businesses and individuals, he said, and additionally, Five Star Subaru met the $5,000 cost for the fireworks display, he said.

More than 400 participants preregistered for the LEAF Council’s TUFF eNuff, Oneonta’s first 5k obstacle challenge, which was deemed a success, organizers said.

Lt. Douglas Brenner of the Oneonta Police Department said as of 8 p.m. there were no problems except for two arrests for possessing an open container of alcohol.

Hayes said there were between 30 and 40 vendors, including some nonprofit groups holding fundraisers.

The Walton Historical Society was present for the first time at the Fourth of July event, and President Lorraine Miller said their root beer float sale brought in more than $800. Stewart’s Shops donated most float ingredients, she said, and they went through 40 gallons of ice cream.

Miller said she “couldn’t get over” how relaxed and happy visitors appeared.

“We enjoyed it here,” she said. “It’s been a good day.”

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.

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