The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

April 29, 2013

OH-Fest goes off with barely a hitch

By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star

---- — OH-Fest drew crowds to Main Street downtown and into the city’s Neahwa Park, city officials said, but no arrests or major incidents were reported from Saturday’s events.

“All in all, things went well,’’ Dennis Nayor, Oneonta police chief, said Sunday.

Students from SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College worked with the city Common Council and public safety officials this academic year to meet stipulations for having a concert in the park in the eighth annual OH-Fest. The concert last year was held at the State University College at Oneonta after the city raised concerns about crowd control at the 2011 concert. 

No attendance estimates were available for Saturday’s events, Nayor said Sunday, but a strong police presence “deterred a lot.’’ 

For the concert, police and the Oneonta Fire Department established a command center at the skate house at Hodges Pond in the park, and assistance was provided by SUNY Oneonta University Police, Hartwick College security, state police and Otsego County sheriff’s deputies. 

Nayor said an intoxicated female at the concert was treated by emergency crews after she fell or ran into a hard object. One person was taken to A.O. Fox Hospital, fire officials said. 

Nayor said security officers hired by the OH-Fest committee monitored the concert venue and removed several people, but no arrests resulted.

Chip Holmes, 8th Ward member of the Common Council who worked with OH-Fest organizers, said from his observations, the carnival on Main Street was a ``wonderful event’’ and concerts in the park attracted a “nice crowd.’’ 

Some college students weren’t pleased with the choice of headlining bands, Holmes said, but OH-Fest organizers reviewed options carefully to choose groups that would be appropriate for the community.

One Sweet Burgh and a student band selected during a Battle of the Bands event earlier this month were to open for The Ready Set and Outasight.

For this year’s OH-Fest, each college set aside $40,000, Bill Harcleroad, director of campus activities at SUNY Oneonta, said previously, and Main Street Oneonta, an organization that promotes merchants and businesses downtown, contributed $4,000. 

College students also were having house parties outdoors in reaction to the beautiful weather Saturday, said Holmes who reported hearing no complaints from residents about those parties or OH-Fest. 

OH-Fest students “worked hard to make it a community event,’’ Holmes said, adding the event’s success is reason to welcome student proposals again. 

Harley Roberson, 21, a Hartwick College junior, said he volunteered at the OH-Fest carnival because he will be working on planning student activities next year. He helped vendors and participants, he said.

“It was pretty fun,’’ Roberson, 21, said Saturday. “It was overall a happy feeling, seeing people smile.’’