By Greg Klein
The Daily Star
---- — Organizers of the 2013 Cooperstown Winter Carnival said the biggest change in this year’s event is location, location, location.
“The main thing is we have moved the tents on Saturday back down to Lakefront Park,” co-Chairwoman Teresa Leveille said. “I’m not from the area, but when I talk to people about the carnival, all I hear is how much fun it used to be to do things at the lake. So this isn’t new, but more of a throwback.
“We’re trying to keep it centrally located. We want people to be able to park and walk around to get to everything.”
The carnival’s theme of “British Invasion!” came from the Cooperstown Concert Series, which will feature Beatles tribute band British Mania from 7:30 to 10 p.m. today at the Otesaga.
“We knew they were planning a Beatles cover band, and we wanted to tie it in with them,” Leveille said. “It’s fun once we have the theme and start brainstorming ideas. We actually come up with so many ideas we have too many and have to start throwing some out.”
Also tonight, Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz will crown the “Buckingham Palace” Carnival King and Queen at Lakefront Park at 6:15 p.m. The “Guy Fawkes” fireworks display will follow the coronation. The “Shaken Not Stirred” cooler and drink contest will take place at Templeton Hall from 7:30 to 11 p.m.; admission is $5 for drink samples and dancing.
There will also be a bowling tournament at the Clark Sports Center, a screening of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and a ghost tour starting at Pioneer Park; all three will begin at 7 p.m. From 9 to 11 p.m., there will be a sampling of New York craft beers at Sherman’s Tavern.
On Saturday, the “London Parade” will take place on Main Street at 11 a.m. The puppets from First Night Oneonta and the Cooperstown marching band will both return to the parade this year, according to organizers.
Saturday afternoon, two eating contests will take place. The “Sgt. Pepper’s” chicken wing contest will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Cooperstown Veterans Club and the “Sticky Finger’s” Dessert Lover’s Contest will be at the Farmers’ Market from 4 to 5 p.m.
“The dessert contest is always popular with the people who go to it,” Leveille said, “but last year not a lot of people went. So we want to spread the word that it is going on, because who doesn’t like to eat great desserts?”
Wine lovers have two events they can attend Saturday: Cooperstown Wine and Spirits will host a tasting from noon to 4 p.m., and Nicolettas Café will host a wine benefit for the SPCA from noon to 3 p.m.
Another popular show Saturday afternoon is “The Hounds of Baskerville” Susquehanna SPCA dog show. It will take place at Lakefront Park at 12:30 p.m. and will include prizes for best costume, best trick, best speaker, best butt wiggle and best tail wag.
Saturday night, the Clark Sports Center will host a screening of “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” at 6:30 p.m. The “Monty Python” Lip Sync show will take place at the old Agway Building on Railroad Avenue at 7:30 p.m.
“It is a great family event,” Leveille said. “It is always a big event and a lot of fun.”
Also Saturday, there will be a lasagna dinner from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cooperstown Methodist Church, a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church and an eating contest at Cooley’s Tavern at 5 p.m.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Cooperstown Lions Club will host a pancake breakfast at the Cooperstown Veteran’s Club from 8 to 11:30 a.m. The Bob Smullens 5K and 10K will begin at Pioneer Park at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The Otsego Land Trust will host a 1.5 mile hike starting at Brookwood Point at 1 p.m. Sunday. The “Beefeater” chili contest takes place at the Cooperstown Back Alley Grill at 1:30. And at 4 p.m., the Grill will host the Carnival Closer.
Leveille said the committee is full of hope that this year’s winter events, such as sledding, skating, tubing and ice sculpture will take place as scheduled. Most of those events were canceled last year because of warm weather.
“We’ve got snow on the ground now,” she said Monday morning, “so we are hoping it will last.”