News of Otsego County


First Impressions: Our Cultural Landscape Just Grew Richer
First Impressions

Our Cultural Landscape
Just Grew Richer

STANLEY KUBRICK, LONDON, 1969 (Photo by Dmitri Kasterine)

The Kasterine Farm is tucked into a charming valley in the Town of Exeter in northern Otsego County. The owners, Dmitri and Caroline Kasterine, are newcomers to the area, and they bring a wealth of cultural richness to our community. On December 10, the couple held an opening reception of their photography gallery, presenting to the attendees a stunning collection of photographs, the lifework of Dmitri.

Nate Katz Porch Sale

Nate Katz Porch Sale

Nate Katz’s Teepee

Local Cooperstown artist Nate Katz is having a porch sale Saturday and Sunday, September 3 and 4. He’ll be selling his Alpha Folks T-shirts, postcards, and prints, all with his original artwork!

At his porch sale, Nate will feature single postcards and sets of cards from his Cooperstown, Sharon Springs, and Cherry Valley drawing collections of iconic local buildings. Stop by 79 Chestnut Street in Cooperstown, from noon to 4 each day.

Opera soared under Francesca Zambello’s ‘rocket ship phase’

Francesca Zambello

Opera soared under Francesca Zambello’s ‘rocket ship phase’

By TARA BARNWELL • Special to

Glimmerglass Festival loses its leader at the end of its 2022 festival season when the visionary Francesca Zambello steps down after a transformative 12-year run at the helm.

“I first came to the festival in 1997 and directed Iphigene en Tauride, she said. “I fell in love with the region and the festival. Since becoming the general and artistic director, every season has been enjoyable, I can’t pick just one as my favorite. Every year has its highlights.”

“We just keep growing richer and stronger,” she said.

New Cherry Valley business focuses on art, crafts


New Cherry Valley business focuses on art, crafts

By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to

Coco & Cordelia, on Main Street in Cherry Valley, offers one of a kind goods, including handmade jewelry, heirloom-quality rag dolls, origami-style handbags and other locally made and curated artistic goods.

The store is owned by Diana Stiles, a self-taught fiber artist and jewelry maker whose creations comprise much of the inventory. According to the Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore, fiber art is fine art made from fabric, yarns, and other textiles.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: ‘Here Comes The Sun’ Boat Parade 07-03-21

‘Here Comes The Sun’ Boat Parade


BOAT PARADE – 3 p.m. Get out for the annual decorated boat parade. This years theme ‘Here Comes The Sun’ song by the beatles. All boats welcome from human powered to motor powered and all in between, decorated or undecorated. Covid protocols will be in effect. Parade assembles at 3 Mile Point and proceeds on West Side of the Lake to Lakefront Park, Cooperstown. Rain or Shine. 518-542-6630 or visit for info.

In Tribute: Sovocool’s spirit shined on the roads of life

In Tribute

Sovocool’s spirit shined on the roads of life

Editor’s Note: In honor of Richfield Springs marathoner John Sovocool, who died Thursday, May 20, some of his friends collected their thoughts.

Among his accomplishments, John Sovocool ran marathons in all 50 United States, finishing his journey in 2015 in Idaho.

This is not John Sovocool’s obituary. And while it will chronicle some of this Renaissance Man’s myriad accomplishments along the journey from his boyhood farm in Leroy to Cornell University, followed by 15 years in the U.S. Air Force, and, after a stint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, finally purchasing Fieldstone Farm Resort (FFR) in Richfield Springs, which he lovingly managed and enhanced until 2020, when his illness forced him and his dear wife, Jeanie, to sell, this will not be a list.

It is, rather, a narrative painting, a collage of the memories and feelings that he has left his close friends. It is our tribute to a friend who touched us.

John was many men, but most of us met him through his passion for long-distance running. Whether out for a casual run with friends or completing marathons in all 50 states, twice finishing five races in five states in five days, John was in heaven when he was on the roads and trails.

Franklin Stage Company to build outdoor theater in response to COVID

Franklin Stage Company
to build outdoor theater
in response to COVID

STAFF REPORT • Special to

In an email sent Tuesday, May 25, the Franklin Stage Company announced that it is following “the lead of our friends at Glimmerglass and have decided to build an outdoor stage on our lawn — and with it a whole outdoor theater environment with lights and sound and hopefully cool breezes.”

The email said the theater will follow guidance from state and local authorities as well as the Actors’ Equity Union.

“In December we wrote that when fear, uncertainty and scarcity threaten, we will lead with hope,” the email said. “We are indeed hopeful for the future, and can’t wait to see you all again.”

Some of the planned events at the Franklin Stage Company include an art show Saturday, July 3, and Sunday, July 4, the drums of Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng on Friday, July 9, and Saturday, July 10, “Doktor Kaboom” on Friday, July 16, through Sunday, July 18, and “A Doll’s House, Part 2” from Friday, July 23 to Sunday, Aug. 15.

Go to for more information.

Flavors Abound As Chili Bowl Returns

Flavors Abound As

Chili Bowl Returns

Tastes and talents were on parade during the 16th annual Chili Bowl at CANO this afternoon. Art lovers lined up before the doors opened to be the first to browse this year’s selection of artisanal decorated bowls. Inside and outside of CANO, guests enjoyed plenty of chili for all preferences. Above, chef Rhett Mortland, representing the Autumn Cafe, serves Otsego County Representative Danny Lapin, right, a bowl of Montezuma’s Tail and Feather Chili. (Ian Austin/

How Can We Make 8th Most Vibrant Arts County Thrive?


How Can We Make 8th Most

Vibrant Arts County Thrive?

What? In a United States that some insist on characterizing as a burning dumpster, can there be good news?

Well, here it is: Oneonta, as Otsego County’s “urban core,” has been ranked the eighth most-vibrant small community in America in Southern Methodist University’s fifth annual Arts Vibrancy Index Report.

According to the Census Bureau’s American Factfinder, there are 16,360 towns in the U.S. Not all of them, of course, are “small communities.” Still, eighth puts Oneonta and Otsego County in a very elite sliver of arts-oriented locales.

And, of course it is.

It is home to the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, which thrives while such cities as Honolulu, Syracuse and Albuquerque have lost their orchestras. Shock of shocks, even one of the nation’s “Big Five,” the Philadelphia Orchestra, went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011.

There’s the $8 million Foothills Performing Arts Center, owned free and clear, which – hindered by the Great (and long) Recession – is finally getting traction under the steady leadership of Executive Director Bill Youngs and board chair Roxanna Hurlburt.

Over a typical academic year, Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta offer a vast range of top talent from around the nation at the Anderson Arts Center and Goodrich Theater respectively, and in their art galleries.

Oneonta theater troupes? Four, count ’em: Orpheus, Bold Theatrics, Bigger Boat and Stuff of Dreams. Does any similar-sized community have so many. And three dance troupes – Elite, Donna Decker and Jillian’s.

All this in a small city of 14,000.

Beyond the “urban core” of Oneonta, DataArts goes on to single out the Cooperstown museums – the Fenimore and Farmers’ – the Glimmerglass Festival, all nationally known and appreciated. All three are strong, and The Fenimore, beginning this summer with Herb Ritts’ photos from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, began reaching out to a whole new audience, younger, hipper – the future, if you will.

(For whatever reason, Brewery Ommegang has dropped its summertime popular-music concerts, but performers like Norah Jones and Elvis Costello proved there’s a wide draw, at least in summer months.)

Below the Big Three, there are thriving entities like Linda Chesis’ Cooperstown Summer Music Festival, Cherry Valley Artworks’ full series of professional performances at the Star Theater, plus its semi-annual Sculpture Walk.

Gilbertsville’s Major’s Inn has a concert series through the summer, plus arts-related programming year-‘round. (Oneonta filmmaker Joe Stillman is showing his latest documentary, on LBJ’s attorney general, the humanitarian Ramsay Clark, at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Major’s as a fundraiser for the historic venue.)

That reminds us of Barton Kaplan’s Magic Mountain Music Farm in the hills between Gilbertsville and Morris: Top music students from New York City and beyond practice intently for the summer and put on a weekend of performances in a Gllbertsville church.

The monthly Coffee House at the Schuyler Lake Methodist Church – folks with guitars and more – is another example of a decentralized artistic fervor. Here’s another: The Church in Mount Vision, which has been presenting plays all summer long for three years now.

This is hardly comprehensive, and it underscores what a great idea Oneonta’s ArtSpace project is – 66 studio-residential units in a four-story building due to rise on the city’s Dietz Street next year.

The point: While we bemoan what we don’t have – yes, we’re out of natural gas and electricity, if anyone wants to open a factory here – we should be developing what we do.

The DataArts ranking brought to mind former Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller’s Arts Summit in January 2011 at Foothills – it was terrific. There must have been 100 artists and arts enthusiasts there.
Miller was his usual droll self, telling the bubbling gathering, ““I’m not in it for the arts; I’m in it for the economy.”

But he had a point. He offered $200,000 from a City Hall budget surplus – yes, those WERE the days – to help get a comprehensive effort to promote arts off the ground. It never got any traction, but why shouldn’t it?

County Rep. Meg Kennedy, R-Mount Vision, is leading up a countywide Energy Task Force. Why not a countywide Arts Development Task Force?

It wouldn’t have to be government based; there’s plenty of arts leadership clout around here. Something like the 55-member Energy Task Force might be too much. But how about a six-member task force with heavy hitters like The Fenimore’s Paul D’Ambrosio and SUNY Oneonta’s Janet Nepkie, who created the college’s amazing Music Industry major. It could be privately run.

Now, arts is a summer magnet. How about a summer and fall magnet? Then maybe a summer, fall and Christmas magnet? Then add in a winter carnival component.

As SMU DataArts documented, we have what it takes to be much more.


Upstate Arts, Crafts,  & More


ARTISAN FESTIVAL – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Artists, Crafters, Makers from throughout the region come together to sell their works. Find handmade jewelry, textiles, soap, furniture, glass art, pottery, photography, more at Otsego County Campus, 197 Main St., Cooperstown. 607-547-9983 or visit

FAMILY SATURDAY – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Field trip for families features hands-on activities for kids, guided tours, demonstrations of the water-powered sawmill, the gristmill, and woodworking shop. Admission, $9/adult. Hanford Mills Museum, 51 Co. Hwy. 12, East Meredith. Call 607-278-5744 or visit

Fenimore Hosts Art On The Lake

Fenimore Hosts Art On The Lake

Pat Donnelly, Cooperstown, talks with artist Michael McBane about his colorful paintings at the annual Arts On The Lake this afternoon at The Fenimore Art Museum. Works from 21 artists from around the region were on display, ranging from sculpture, to paintings and photography. At right, Linda Tracz, Roseboom, accept her award from Fenimore President Paul D’Ambrosio for the top award in photography. (Ian Austin/


Cold Outside, Chili inside

Cold Outside, 

Chili Inside

Above, Members of the Delhi culinary team Jessica Shultis, Juli Chavez, Carly Yezzo, Peter Blayne, Alex Johnson and Dan Hess of the Delhi Culinary Team took top honors with their beef and duck chili in both People’s Choice and Firefighter’s choice this year at the 14th Annual Chili Bowl held at CANO this afternoon. Chili fans could sample nearly thirty different chilies that ranged from sweet to spicy. At right, Tim Gargash, Oneonta receives his Most Artistic Bowl award from CANO President Jim Maloney for his winning bowl  that depicted a sculpted octopus climbing over a ship.  As popularity of the event grown, so have the crowds. To help elevate the issue, CANO moved some of the chili contestants to an outdoor tent, thereby providing guetst with some much appreciated elbow room. (Ian Austin/

Craft Lovers Flock To Cooperstown Artisan Festival

Craft Lovers Flock To

Cooperstown Artisan Festival

Anna Fredriksen, Utah, Stacey Grady and Amanda Chase, both of Cooperstown, look through stationary by Laura Bremer at Paper Wolf Designs during the first Cooperstown Artisan Festival, going on today and tomorrow on the lawn of the Otsego County offices. Also ongoing throughout the weekend is the Cooperstown Art Association’s Art on the Lawn festival at 22 Main Street. (Ian Austin/


Arts and Artisans


FINE ARTS SHOW – 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Outdoor sale of fine are by over 40 CAA members includes art in oil, photography, printmaking, water color, pen & ink, drawings, pastel, more. Cooperstown Art Association, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Visit

COOPERSTOWN ARTISANAL FESTIVAL – Open to the public, area artisans will show and sell their work. Craft demonstrations will be ongoing and training for both adults and children will be available. Outside the Otsego County Office Building, 197 Main St, Cooperstown. Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce (607)547-9983. Visit

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103