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Hats Off to Ommegang

The float from the Blue Mingo, Mingo Market, Sam Smith’s Boatyard and Lake Classic Outfitters took the grand $1,000 prize.

“As part of our 25th anniversary, we thought it only proper that we do something to celebrate all the support the Cooperstown business community has given us over the years,” said Tim Holmes, event planner of Ommegang Brewery.

“We began with a kick off on the prior Friday evening with an open invitation to a social gathering around its well-known fire pit,” Mr. Holmes said. “The evening was capped off with a solid and colorful fireworks display.”

Next came the parade down Main Street in Cooperstown.

“The businesses’ participation could be as simple as carrying a banner or as complex as designing an entire float” Mr. Holmes said. The purpose, according to him, was just to have a fun parade.

“It wasn’t intended to be as grandiose of an event as the Induction Day parade, nor was it Ommegang’s intent to shut down the entire town,” he said.

On Saturday, traffic was shut down by the blaring sirens of the Cooperstown police followed by the Cooperstown and Milford fire departments to announce the beginning of the promenade.

As part of that introduction, the Leatherstocking Trolley was filled with a cheering contingent of the 316th Military Police Detachment from Los Angeles, California.

The start of the parade was the ubiquitous Ommegang Food Truck followed immediately by the brewery’s float, which hosted Cooperstown’s Bourbon & Branch blasting their tunes.

Then it was time for the participating businesses to strut their stuff.

The management of Upstate Bar and Grill managed to jack the statue of the bull that usually graces their premises onto a flatbed, followed by Bocca Osteria’s portable pizza maker.

“We had a blast,” said Joe Vezza, owner of Bocca Osteria and Upstate Bar and Grill. “It was a family project. We feel the community/village should do more things like this; we’d love to participate in other events,” he said.

Then came a colorful bright yellow and unmistakable sunflowery car representing the Sunflower Café in Springfield Center, with Cheryl Zambelis driving. What a delight!

Tin Bin Alley next displayed its collection of colorful windmills followed by two energetic bicycle pumpers atop a flatbed representing the Rail Explorers of Milford.

The Susquehanna SPCA’s float sported a giant beagle character, as well as some of its four-legged residents available for adoption.

And tailing the entire parade was a float from the Blue Mingo, Mingo Market, Sam Smith’s Boatyard and Lake Classic Outfitters. Very involved, intriguing and great.

“Our thanks to Brewery Ommegang for organizing this wonderful parade,” said Julian Gialanella, General Manager Blue Mingo, Mingo Market, Sam Smith’s Boatyard, and Lake Classic Outfitters.

“Our team had a fantastic time putting our multifaceted float together and it was a great team-building and morale-boosting project. From our Chef Illario Mulas cooking and handing out hot dogs to little Brixton Greer waving from the 123-year-old, locally built boat the Dirty Bird, it was a truly exceptional experience,” Mr. Gialanella said. “A great time was had by all and the outpouring of community support made it a very special day.””

Prior to the event, Ommegang had announced a $1,000 prize for the best float as chosen by its staff, and that prize was awarded to Blue Mingo, Mingo Market, Sam Smith’s Boatyard and Lake Classic Outfitters float.

The riders on each of the floats of course cheered, laughed, and waved to the crowd, but, in addition to their decorations, all of the floats were loaded with candies and other goodies that were tossed into the crowd,

In 28 minutes, the parade was over, but in that short time span was a concentrated, fun-filled experience that accomplished exactly what all of Ommegang’s management had hoped to achieve — an informal but very memorable celebration. And memorable it was.

The anniversary weekend capped off with a Pub Crawl.

“Local bars and restaurants participated in serving Ommegang beers,” Mr. Holmes said. “Participants got a “Pub Passport”, sampled Ommegang beers, then took the passport out to Ommegang for the chance to win a prize.”


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