Fly Creek’s favorite tourist attraction is seeking new owners.
The Fly Creek Cider Mill, which dates back to 1856 and has been owned by the Michaels family for two generations, closed in January. Co-owner Bill Michaels said at the time that the coronavirus pandemic had hurt sales to the point where it was no longer cost effective to remain open.
“We’ve survived floods. We’ve survived hurricanes, tropical storms, the 2002 recession, the 2009 recession,” Michaels told Iron String Press in January. “We just couldn’t survive the pandemic.”
FLY CREEK – Dean Clarke, 37, a two-year employee at the Fly Creek Cider Mill, was welcomed into the heavenly kingdom on Friday, March 19 at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York after a valiant battle with HTLV-1 Lymphoma.
Dean was born Aug. 19, 1984, at Sixth Street in Kingston, Jamaica, to Marcia Henry and Devon Clarke. Together with his brother Jermaine they he grew up in a combined family of seven.
Thirteen years ago he fell in love with Kamesha Haynes and together they created a loving family including a son Odarie and Kamesha’s daughter, Saskia, whom he loved as his own.
“I learned a lot going through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program,” said the Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard president. “One of them was knowing your numbers. I spent a lot of time looking at them throughout the pandemic.”
In 2020, “our customer visitation was down all year. Then, after the holidays, it just stopped, to the point it was not sustainable.” said Michaels, whose family announced Wednesday, Jan. 20, they would close the regional tourist attraction, perhaps forever.
The historic Fly Creek Cider Mill, operated as a tourist attraction by the Michaels family for more than 50 years, will close at the end of the month, the family announced today. It appears the closing is the result of the COVID Year. “As the recovery from the pandemic progresses, we will reassess our position,” said the announcement. The cider mill, founded in the mid 19th century, pressed apples until the 1950s. After Charlie and Barbara Michaels, in top photo at right, bought the property in 1962, they replanted the orchard, began pressing their own cider again, and over time developed the property into a regional attraction. Their son, Bill, left, and his wife Brenda have operated it in recent years.
COOPERSTOWN – Delores (Dee) Bachanas Burnett, a native of Cooperstown who, with husband, Bill, owned the downtown Western Auto store, died Sunday night, Oct. 4, 2020, at Mountainside Residential Care Center in Margaretville. She was 92.
Born May 14, 1928, at Bassett Hospital, Dee was one of five children of Edmund J. and Harriet (Cross) Bachanas. Dee grew up in Fly Creek, attending the three-room Fly Creek School from kindergarten through the eighth grade. She then attended Cooperstown High School, graduating with the Class of 1946.
5K/10K RACE – 10:30 a.m. Virtual Cider Run 5K/10K race to benefit the Susquehanna SPCA by Fly Creek Cider Mill. Registration extended through May, 2. Cost, $25/adult, $15/child. Call 607-547-9692 or visit sqspca.org/8th-annual-cider-run/
PIT RUN – 10:45 a.m. Run or walk 6.2 miles through scenic Oneonta, passing through SUNY Oneonta campus, ending at Neahwa Park. Also includes 5k race, 2 mile stroll, or kids fun run. In memory of Ricky J. “Pit” Parisian NYS Police Investigator killed in Line of Duty. Start at Main Street Bridge, Oneonta. 607-432-8068 or visit pitrun.org
SCI-FI & HORROR – 11 a.m. Day 2 of the strange and horrific festival. Features authors, vendors, speakers, activities, more. Cost, $6/person for day pass. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. Visit www.facebook.com/SciFiHorroFest/
FAMILY FARM DAY – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Explore local farms throughout Schoharie, Otsego, and Delaware Counties. Tour, try products, learn about farming from fish farming to beekeeping, more. Pick up your farm guide from participating, farms, farmer’s markets, libraries, more in the 3 counties. Call 607-547-2536 or download guide from www.familyfarmday.org
WORKSHOP – 8:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. The League of Women Voters hosts a “User’s Guide for Local Democracy” workshop. Free, pre-registration required. Springbrook Family Engagement Center, Rt 28, Milford. Info, registration, (607) 547-2853, www.LWVoneonta.org.
Proprietor Bill Michaels welcomes a bus load of SPOOMERS, old mill enthusiasts, to the Fly Creek Cider Mill this morning. The SPOOMERS are here from around the country this weekend for the annual convention of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills (SPOOM), which is underway at Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith. At right, Charlie Michaels, Bill’s dad, shows off a freshly peeled and cored apple from a Daisy corer from the early 1900s. The Daisy is one of 200 apple peelers on display upstairs at the mill, which has been turning apples into cider with its water-powered Boomer & Boschert press since the mid 19th century. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
HARVEST SUPPER – 4 – 7 p.m. Community potluck supper to celebrate autumn. Bring a dish to pass, tableware, beverages, enjoy meal with friends. Features live music by Stoddard Hollow String Band, games for kids on library lawn. Main St. between River & Fair St., Cooperstown. E-mail kristen email@example.com or visit www.facebook.com/GrowingCommunityCooperstown/
BENEFIT BREAKFAST – 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pancake breakfast, raffles to support Corena Martin, who has worked as Laurens School Nurse and volunteered with Laurens Fire & Emergency Departments, as she battles deals with health problems. Laurens Central School, 55 Main St., Laurens. 607-432-2050 or visit www.facebook.com/otsegonyfirewire/
FIBER ARTS FEST – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Explore world of natural fibers through demonstrations, exhibits, hands-on-activities showing how they’re harvested, processed, transformed to wearable, utilitarian, and decorative items. Included with admission, $12/adult. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1450 or visit www.farmersmuseum.org/fiber-weekend
HARVEST FESTIVAL – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 2 days of music, performances, activities, workshops, meet the animals, learn about old-time trades, participate in the harvest. Entry, $12/adult. The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1450 or visit www.farmersmuseum.org/Harvest-Festival
BENEFIT JAM SESSION – 3 – 10 p.m. “Play it Forward” all day jam session with musicians from Florida, Long Island, Brooklyn mix with local musicians. All instruments, genres, vocalists invited. Enjoy raffles, BBQ, music. All proceeds go to American Legion Legacy Run, helping children of fallen heroes since 9/11. Oneonta Vets Club, 279 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-0494 or visit www.alrpost259.org/legacy