By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.ALLOTSEGO.com
Hanna Bergene, 2020 Cooperstown Winter Carnival co-chair, warns that things could get cheesy.
“New this year is a mac and cheese contest at the Carnival closer,” she said. “We heard from the restaurants that the chicken wing contest was kind of stale – and who doesn’t love mac and cheese in the middle of winter?”
The contest will be free, allowing all the carnival goers to taste samples from almost a dozen restaurants at Upstate Bar & Grill.
And if that doesn’t fill you up, you can head over to the annual Grilled Cheese For a Good Cause at The Farmer’s Market, to benefit Otsego 2000. “It’s going to be a very cheesy Sunday,” she joked.
This year’s carnival has a “Roaring 20s” theme. “It’s glitzy, it’s glam, it’s a little mysterious,” said Bergene. “We wanted to give 2020 a fresh start.”
And what’s a Roaring 20s party without a speakeasy and some dancing? “We’ve got eight local restaurants making 1920s cocktails for the cocktail contest,” she said. “And everyone is really excited to dress up.”
The Speakeasy will be held Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Vet’s Club, and there are prizes for best flapper and most dapper, while Hanzolo will be on hand to help guests dance the night away.
They expanded the carnival to beyond downtown Cooperstown, with the lip-synch contest – dubbed “The Roaring 20s Showdown” hosted 6-9 Friday, Feb. 7, at Brewery Ommegang.
“Ommegang had a great interest in being involved this year and we were open to the idea of it,” she said. “They’re an excellent venue and the lip-synch is always a good time.”
Also new this year is the expanded lineup of trunk shows and pop-up shops, with extra shopping opportunities at Kate’s Upstate, Tin Bin Alley and All About The Girls.
“Kate Lanza at Kate’s Upstate has done pop-ups before with Natalie Wrubleski’s Champagne Hippy and Karen Katz jewelry,” said Bergene. “We worked with the downtown businesses to make a weekend of shopping.”
But it’s not just the adults who can have fun. “We wanted to bring back the event for all types of people,” she said.
For kids, there’s a “Meet the Heroes” event, where they can meet fire fighters and see the fire trucks, as well as a “Storytime with Frosty” at the Village Library.
The Carnival is also partnering with the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce and The Farmers Museum to host activities for families in Pioneer Park.
“It’s my first Winter Carnival!” said Tara Burke, executive director. “We brainstormed with the carnival committee and they were looking for some more family-friendly activities. We were happy to help out.”
Kids can make their own bejeweled snowflakes. “Paint could freeze, so we got markers and jewel stickers,” said Burke.
JV and Varsity Baseball teams will host a wiffle ball home-run derby – yes, in the snow! – to raise money for their spring training camp, and the Susquehanna SPCA will host a Brooks chicken barbecue at the Christ Episcopal Church Parish Hall.