By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.COM
ONEONTA – After the packed Foothills Wedding Expo 2020 Sunday, Jan. 12, Linda Hover arrived at Rainbow’s End Weddings & More to find more than two dozen brides waiting for her in the parking lot.
“We didn’t know how many people would be here,” she said. “But there were a lot of people waiting!”
And it was worth the wait.
The bridal shop was offering its first “Bag O’Bargains” sale as part of Marry Mingle After-Party to the Foothills event.
The rules were simple – buy a tote bag for $5 at the annual Wedding Expo, and at the party everything you can fit inside is $99.
“If you can get a wedding dress in there, it’s yours!” said Rainbow End’s owner Norah Doyle. “The bags are big, so you really can fit a lot in there.”
Seventy-five wedding dresses were placed on the bag-eligible rack, as well as dresses for bridesmaids and mothers-of-the-bride. There were also prom and other formal gowns, and tuxedos, shoes, veils, and jewelry.
“I was inspired by other bridal shops in my network,” said Doyle. “Someone had done it as a Black Friday special, but I thought it would be perfect for after the wedding show, and I asked if I could steal her idea!”
Additionally, more than 100 gowns not eligible for the bag sale were marked down to $99-$199. “It’s a great way to clear out inventory and make room for the new designs,” she said.
Within the first half-hour of the Wedding Expo, Doyle had already sold a dozen bags, and by the end of the show, had almost sold out. “We had such a positive reaction at Foothills,” she said. “I didn’t know how many bags to bring, but I only came back with five.”
The annual Wedding Expo drew more than 200 registered brides and their wedding parties to the atrium. “There were a whole bunch of new vendors and venues,” said Geoff Doyle, operations manager. “Ailish Floral, August Lodge, Stonewall Events and Creekside Station were all new this year.”
And some vendors were even looking ahead to after the Big Day. “Keller Williams called and asked if it made sense for them to set up a table,” he said. “They said that after you get married, the next big step is to buy a house and have a baby, and they wanted to be the buy-the-house part!”
And the brides were all-too-happy to show off their packing skills in an unspoken contest to see who could get the most for their money.
“I found five bridesmaid’s dresses, a rehearsal dinner dress, a tiara, jewelry, a cake cutter and a ring bearer pillow!” said Emily West, a bride-to-be from Franklin. “I had ordered a ring bearer pillow online, but the order got cancelled.”
Though she had already purchased her wedding dress from Rainbow’s End, Missy White still had a few things to pick up for her big day. “I got a veil, a headband and a cake cutter, as well as my rehearsal dress, three dresses for other weddings and events,” she said. “I’m planning ahead!”
Other brides, who had already bought their wedding gowns, stocked up on accessories. “I bought a party dress, padded hangers for my bridesmaids’ dresses, slippers and necklaces,” said Marisa Gray. “We went to the expo first, and it’s a really nice chance to spend time with my future mother-in-law.”
“This is such a great shop,” added her future Mother-in-Law, Ann Marie Deforest.
And some brides didn’t stop at one bag. “I’ve got six dresses over two bags,” said Caitlin Cole. “Plus my veil and a belt.”
The event also featured food, games, a selfie station and models showing off some of this year’s new gowns – in case you didn’t find your dress on the racks.
But if you missed out, worry not – Doyle plans to hold another one. “People had a really good time,” she said.
“It takes awhile to restock, but who knows – maybe I’ll have the next one on Black Friday!”
Otsego County Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan recruited a bumper crop for the 2020 Otsego Leader class, whose program got underway this morning at Foothills Performing Arts Center in Oneonta. Over the next few weeks, the class – rising managers at local enterprises and institutions – will be visiting colleges, hospitals and other key county institutions, to “put them in the picture” as they move forward. The Class of 2020 includes, above, clockwise from front left, Mike Tranvvag, Deborah Cornell, Jackie Burke, Leslie Woodward, Anneth Nelson, Brittany Goodrich, Cynthia Saggese, Tania Cape, Danielle Rowe, Tara Bronson, Tammy Christman, Lisa Cronan, Amanda Stamas, Monica Calzolari, Jennifer Insetta, Sandra Gardner, Kyle Liner, William Rohde,Heegan, Loretta Garcia, Adam Remillard and Lonny Chin. Inset is Number 27 is Melissa Marietta, Oneonta, who introduces herself and tells how she fell in love with out area. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Over 250 brides, grooms and their families came to the 2019 Bridal Expo this afternoon in the atrium of Foothills Performing Arts Center. Guest like Danielle Dobitsch and Tim Maguire, Walton, at right, sampled cake, BBQ and hors d’oeuvres as they spoke with DJ’s, wedding vendors, photographers and more. Afterwards, brides like Marisa Gray, above, Unadilla, who was spending some quality time with her future mother-in-law Ann Marie DeForest, made her way to the Rainbow’s End After Party to try on dresses and partake in the Bag o’ Bargains event, where they could fill a bag with as much wedding attire as possible for only $100. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com
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.
ONEONTA’S EARDLEY ISN’T GIVING UP
It was the Angry Birds that bested all of the contestants on this evening’s episode of Ninja Warrior, including Oneonta’s own Anthony Eardley. The obstacle, seen above, is the second to last on the course, and is styled to promote the upcoming movie Angry Birds 2. Leaping to a platform that rotated while also unable to see the handholds on it proved too challenging for Eardley and all of his fellow contestants despite a strong and confident run on the course. Eardley finished in 16th place, just missing out of the top 13 who advance to the next round in Las Vegas. But, Oneonta’s ninja is far from out. He has his sights on competing in the Florida Ninja League on August 24 and Ultimate Backyard Warrior on Labor Day Weekend. Following the show at Foothills, Eardley took time to talk with fans and pose for pictures, like this one with Camden Hill, 5, Cooperstown, who is already training to be a ninja himself. To watch the episode click here (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – At his halfway point in his run on the “American Ninja Warrior” course, Oneonta native Anthony Eardley paused.
Then, he danced.
“I heard the crowd cheering, ‘Go, Ninja, go!’” he said. “I thought, that’s for me, and I had to.”
Monday night, about 100 people packed Foothills black box theater to watch Eardley take the “American Ninja Warrior” qualifying course in Baltimore, Md.
Sue Jarema, Schenevus, Jeff Moore, Oneonta, Doug Decker, Oneonta, and Nick Sanna, Schenevus, fake conversation as their wait their turn for their costume parade for “Damn Yankees,” the famed Broadway musical comedy about a man who makes a deal with the Devil to help his favorite baseball team win the pennant. At left, George Wells (playing Joe Boyd) has a laugh at the oversized wardrobe of Michael Tamburrino, who plays Boyd’s alter-ego Joe Hardy. The show runs March 29, 30 and 31 at the Bettiol Theater at Foothills. Tickets can be purchased at Orpheus.org. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Speaking to the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours get-together hosted at Foothills this past week, I delivered the following message and I would like to share it with everyone.
As I enter into my sixth year as director this summer, I’d like to thank the Oneonta community and the entire region for their support in 2018, which was our best year ever.
I am proud to report that we hosted a record 321 events which included everything from music (Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Deana Carter, Thompson Square), comedy (Amy Schumer and The Not Too Far From Home Comedy Tour), a Wedding Expo, live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, local dance companies, local theater groups, weddings, private parties, to business and organizational conferences. And the list goes on.