Labor Day. The end of an exceptional summer in Cooperstown. Dare we say exceptional? Yes we can, despite the ominous glooms of COVID and recent blooms of algae.
Our Main Street businesses are still here. They may not have had their best summer, and they may still be sadly short-handed, but they are proudly displaying their wares and energetically inviting shoppers into their establishments. The Hall of Fame reopened its doors for Induction Weekend, welcoming pre-COVID crowds for a celebratory salute to the national pastime. Baseball fans swarmed the streets, and the Village was clean within hours. Doubleday Field is refurbished and Dreams Park is back. Our Village is alive.
By CHARLIE VASCELLARO • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
For almost three decades, youth baseball players from all over the country have been chasing their big-league dreams all the way to Cooperstown’s Dreams Park, and this year’s 2021 Major League World Series represents the physical manifestation of those dreams coming true.
More than 500 Dreams Park alumni have made it to the big leagues and seven of them are members of this year’s Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves World Series combatants.
The summer tourism season begins Memorial Day weekend, with businesses and attractions getting set for a better year now that COVID is beginning to dissipate.
After a run of team cancellations earlier in the year, the Dreams Park baseball camp announced new protocols Monday, May 24.
The baseball camp in Hartwick Seminary will open Friday, July 23, with no restrictions on social distancing or mask wearing. However, they will be requiring a vaccine for all participating children and adults.
Dreams Park said on their website that the 2021 season would be the “first step toward a full reopening in 2022.”
Todd Kenyon, director of communications at the Fenimore Art Museum, said that he was optimistic about the upcoming summer and fall seasons.
“There’s always the unknown, but I can feel that people want to get out,” Kenyon said. “I’m hopeful they visit Cooperstown.”
Cooperstown Dreams Park is set to open Friday, July 23, without masks or any guidelines on social distancing, according to the park’s website.
However, a vaccine will be required for participating children and adults.
The opening will include no restrictions on high fiving or other physical contact, as well as face-to-face pin and baseball card training.
The 2021 baseball camp is set to go through August.
Dreams Park gives participants a chance to play in tournaments, visit the Baseball Hall of Fame and watch baseball games at Doubleday Field.
According to their website, Dreams Park gets approximately 500,000 visitors per year, hosting teams for 13 weeks of tournaments. However, it was closed last year because of the coronavirus pandemic and had earlier in the year put its season in doubt when it issued guidelines for campers requiring vaccinations.
For more information, call 704-630-0050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As soon as the coronavirus threat is safely dispatched, Destination Marketing Corporation of Otsego County plans to launch a new promotion: “On Deck: Your Cooperstown Bucket List Getaway,” aimed at attracting fans from around the region whose lifelong dream is to visit Baseball’s Mecca.
“Not now,” DMCOC Executive Director Cassandra Harrington said Tuesday, March 24. “But when things change.”
DMOC was seeking a positive response to Cooperstown Dreams Park’s posting on its website at 9 p.m. Friday, March 20: Because of the coronavirus threat, “Cooperstown Dreams Park has determined it is necessary to cancel the 2020 season.”
Cooperstown Dreams Park’s decision to cancel the 2020 season was only announced Friday.
Two days before, county Treasurer Allen Ruffles, who chairs the county Emergency Task Force, had called Mike Walter, Dreams Park COO, and received no inkling such an economy-shattering decision was in the making.
It’s not locked in concrete. It’s not too late to turn it around.
Four men may be able to make it happen. Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, should approach Gov. Andrew Cuomo and ask him to intervene with Dreams Park COO Mike Walter to keep the door open to a Dreams Park season this summer.
At noontime today, Maskot’s, across Route 28 from Dream Park’s entrance in Hartwick Seminary, had a full parking lot, and servers, from left, Josie Furnari, Cooperstown, and Ally Baker and Leeza Shultz, both of Oneonta, were greeting customers. That’s because Dreams Park and Cooperstown All-Star Village players and their families are arriving today, in anticipation of Saturday’s 7:30 a.m. opening ceremonies. By summer’s end, some 200,000 will be attracted by the youth baseball parks alone. Inset left, Wood Bat Factory manager Chrissie Bridger adds orange highlights to the store’s sign, among businesspeople on Otsego County’s “baseball strip” adding highlights at the season begins. License plates were spotted from Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania. (Thomas Rhodes & Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
On this week’s “Morning Headlines” on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, Jim Kevlin, editor/ publisher of www.AllOTSEGO.com (and Hometown Oneonta & the Freeman’s Journal), reports Dreams Park and Cooperstown All-Star Village families are falling in love with Otsego County and buying homes they plan to rent, pay off and move here on their retirements. The Mellanas of La Habra, Calif, are a case in point.
HARTWICK – Lewen “Lenny” Ray Webb, 66, of Hartwick, passed away Sunday morning, Jan. 22, 2017, at Bassett Hospital.
Born Aug. 4, 1950, at Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich, he was a son of the late Raymond W. and Vera J. (Stratton) Webb.
A graduate of New Berlin Central School, Lenny was drafted into the s Army on May 12, 1970, serving during the Vietnam War. Following his honorable discharge on May 11, 1973, he returned to New Berlin and for a time was employed at the Roostertail Bar and Grill where he met his future wife.
On June 20, 1981, Lenny married the former Colleen A. Morton in Morris.