Some area foundations have answered the call to support First Night Oneonta, which will offer a parade, fireworks and about 100 performances Dec. 31, the chairman said.

Unlike last year, this year's event will pay all performers, close in the black and have money for this year's organizers to start planning the next First Night, event chairman David Hayes said.

Fundraising to reach the $45,000 budget continues, Hayes said during a recent interview at The Daily Star, and organizers seek 50 volunteers to help during the events, presented under the theme "It Happens in Oneonta."

More than half the budget will go toward paying performers, Hayes said, and other expenses include insurance, fireworks and publicity. Admission button sales are expected to raise about $15,000, he said.

New this year, event organizers decided to seek donations of $1,000 from area foundations instead of asking small businesses, which are "bludgeoned" for contribution requests, according to Hayes. The appeals request for foundations was set at $1,000, he said, compared with a typical $250 request to small businesses.

The response to date, he said, includes the Future for Oneonta Foundation, $1,000; Community Bank, $1,250; Stewart's Shops, $1,000; the Walmart Foundation, $2,500; and CP Rail, $1,000. The O'Connor Foundation contributed a $4,000 matching grant, which was matched in 21 days.

Hartwick College has given $700 and the State University College at Oneonta, $500, Hayes said, and both colleges are providing in-kind services that put their contributions at about $1,000.

Hayes said other supporters are the city of Oneonta at $4,000 and Otsego County Tourism at $2,500

A board of directors of about 20 volunteer members divided into committees to organize the event, raise money, decide on entertainment and find performance sites, Hayes said.

The entertainment options will range from classical to folk and jazz music, storytelling and student dance performances. Performers in the lineup include the Horseshoe Lounge Playboys, Dana LaCroix, Hobart Bagpipes, Mike the Juggler, the Cosmic Karma Fire dancers and many others.

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