CONTRADANCE RETURNS – 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. Rejoin your friends for a fun social dance with the Otsego Dance Society. Will feature music by Erik House & Friends and Peter Blue will be the caller. Suggested donation, $8/adult. New location at Cornfield Hall, 655 Co. Rd. 26, Fly Creek. Visit otsegodancesociety.weebly.com
EASTER BUNNY – 10 a.m. – Noon. Bring the kids out to celebrate spring and meet with the Easter Bunny. Take pictures, enter to win an Easter Basket, enter the coloring contest, and each kids brings home a goodie bag. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. 607-376-7599 or visit www.destinationoneonta.com/calendar
TREE LIGHTING – 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Join the Oneonta community for fun evening of holiday activities, carriage rides, and the lighting of the 2021 Community Christmas Tree at 6 p.m. Muller Plaza, Main St., Oneonta. 607-432-2941 visit www.facebook.com/DestinationOneonta/
HOLIDAY PARADE – 10 – 11 a.m. Santa arrives to his cottage with a fun, Home For The Holidays Parade. Line up at 9 a.m. on Elm St. Parade proceeds down Main Street, Oneonta. 607-432-2941 or visit www.destinationoneonta.com/calendar
TRICK OR TREAT – Noon. Kids are invited to join Destination Oneonta to trick or treat at participating businesses and then be wowed by the Ghoulies and Ghosties of the Halloween Parade. Main Street, Oneonta. 607-432-2941 or visit www.facebook.com/DestinationOneonta/
VIRTUAL TOUR – 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Get the family together to explore the exhibit ‘Believe in Yourself: What We Learned From Arthur.’ See original illustrations spanning the career of Marc Brown, the creator of the Arthur Adventure Book series which became the popular television show ‘Arthur.’ See his pencil drawings, learn about the storyboarding process, and see clips from an interview. Free, registration required. Suggested donation, $10. Presented by The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
HARVEST PARTY – Noon – 6 p.m. Join Destination Oneonta for free celebration of all things autumn. Includes themed activities, treats, games, and vendors of all sorts. Neahwa Park, Oneonta. 607-432-2941 or visit www.facebook.com/DestinationOneonta/
ART OPENING – 4 – 6 p.m. Celebrate the 3rd entry in the ongoing art series ‘High Alert, Artists Speak Out on social justice.’ This time enjoy a preview of a 2021 in-progress documentary on the creation of a 9000 sq. ft. mural in NJ and works by 5 of the muralists will be on display on the walls. All welcome. The Art Garage, 689 Beaver Meadow Rd., Cooperstown. 607-547-5327 or visit www.facebook.com/TheArtGarageCooperstown/
SPRING CLEANING – Collect litter around the city of Oneonta to give the city a spring pick-me-up. Each full bag gets a raffle ticket for gift certificates to Latte Lounge and Nina’s Pizza. Kings Kakery will also be providing treats to those who drop of full bags (first come, first serve). Bags can be dropped at 56 Center St., Oneonta. 607-432-2941 or visit www.facebook.com/DestinationOneonta/
AUDUBON SOCIETY – 10 a.m. – Noon. Get your questions in Q&A session with the Delaware-Otsego Audubon society board members. Topics on everything from the society in general to birding to effects of lead ammunition. Presented as part of OCCA’s online Earth Festival. 607-547-4488 or visit occainfo.org/earth-festival/
ORNAMENT DROP-OFF – 8 a.m. Last day for residents to make compost friendly or organic ornaments to decorate Muller Plaza Christmas Tree, then drop them at the office or in the box. Destination Oneonta, 4 Dietz St., Oneonta. 607-432-2941 or visit www.facebook.com/TheOtsegoCountyChamber/
ONEONTA – For Common Council member Mark Drnek, it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas.
“We were in Brooklyn one time during the holidays, and all of a sudden, we heard music in the streets,” he said. “It was a game-changer.”
A similar 16-speaker system, designed by Carrie Schmidt of Bitbybit Solutions, was put in place for the downtown dining event and, come Black Friday, will fill Main Street with the sounds of holiday cheer, courtesy of the Pandora Christmas music station.
“We want to bring back that sense of community shopping downtown,” Drnek said. “We want to train people not to just go straight to Amazon.”
After Thanksgiving, downtown merchants will implement “Shop Small Weekends,” opening Saturdays and Sundays throughout the holiday shopping season.
“By not crowding it in one Small Business Saturday, we’re able to lessen the crowds and facilitate social distancing,” he said. “It’s a great downtown shopping experience.”
COVID-19 restrictions on large crowds forced Destination Oneonta to cancel the annual Santa parade, but that doesn’t mean Santa is skipping Oneonta entirely.
Instead, he will Zoom live from the North Pole to meet with kids – no bundling up or waiting in the cold required.
“Kids can sign up for a time to Zoom with Santa, and one of his helpers will let you into the chat,” said Katrina Van Zandt, Destination Oneonta’s director of membership and events. “Then you can visit one-on-one with Santa.”
Destination Oneonta is also looking for a way to record the chats so that the kids will be able to take them as a memento, Drnek said.
In addition to the Zoom chats, kids can leave letters to Santa in the mailbox at his cottage in Muller Plaza.
The annual Gingerbread House and Festival of Lights tree-decorating competitions will also be held virtually.
“This year’s theme is to build a traditional gingerbread house,” said Van Zandt. “You take a picture of yourself with it and post it on our Facebook page in each category.”
Though many categories – including Best Candy Use, Most Intricate and Tallest – are voted on by the board, there is still a chance to vote for the Viewer’s Choice, determined by who gets the most likes.
The Festival of Trees will be held much the same way, inviting homes and businesses to show off their elaborately decorated trees. “We want to see you, your pets, your families in the photo so we know it’s not one you found a picture of and submitted,” she said. “It’s hard to Photoshop yourself in!”
Both contests are live now, and winners will be announced on Dec. 10.
But there’s no Christmas without some holiday decorations, and the city will begin decorating downtown with banners and snowflakes this weekend. Destination Oneonta has purchased additional banners to promote the merchants and restaurants.