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News of Otsego County

hill city celebrations

Flying High on First Night

Flying High on First Night

Photo by Carol Mandigo

ONEONTA—Hill City Celebrations’ New Year’s Eve extravaganza at the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center was a huge success. “Holbrook-Wade School of Dance and Harmony Martial Arts were a wonderful complement to our professional entertainment. It was great to see the children and families celebrating together,” said Carol Mandigo, event coordinator. “We haven’t had a First Night since 2019 and it’s the first time we’ve tried to produce two events at the same time, the Festival of Lights and First Night at the Foothills. Everyone pitched in to make it possible…our sponsors, the businesses, and organizations that created beautiful displays in the park, and the community who supported us all the way. We’re very grateful and looking forward to next year!” Above, Raelyn Sinstack of Oneonta spreads her lighted wings during the First Night New Year’s Eve party.

A Little Night Fishing

A Little Night Fishing

Photo by David Hayes

ONEONTA—This light installation, created by Jeff Powell on behalf of the Oneonta Lions Club, is just one of the fabulous displays featured at this year’s Festival of Lights in Neahwa Park. Powell’s creation, which represents the Lions’ Club Trout Fishing Derby, is programmed to simulate a fly-casting fisherman with a fish jumping and water splashing. A separate part of the display presents a fish jumping from one splash to another. “It’s quite the display and Jeff worked on setting it up for six hours in the cold as he was recovering from the flu. He figured out how to program it, too. It’s the most animated of our displays and won first prize in the first year of our contest,” said Hill City Celebrations Vice Chair Carol Mandigo. The Festival of Lights can be viewed now through January 1.

Oneonta 2022 Festival of Lights Commences with Opening Ceremony

Oneonta 2022 Festival of Lights Commences with Opening Ceremony

Hill City Celebrations, formerly known as First Night Oneonta, commenced its third annual Festival of Lights in Neahwa Park on December 18, preceded by an opening ceremony to celebrate this year’s festival honorees, retired A.O. Fox Hospital providers Dr. Yoshiro Matsuo and Physician’s Assistant Lynne Bolstad.

The reception, which took place just before sundown ahead of the festival lighting, celebrated Matsuo and Bolstad, longtime and beloved community practitioners who served the greater Oneonta area for nearly 40 years. Remarks were offered by Mayor Mark Drnek and family physician Dr. Benjamin Friedell, among others.

Organization Changes Name, Prepares for Holiday Events

Organization Changes Name,
Prepares for Holiday Events

ONEONTA – First Night Oneonta has announced a name change to Hill City Celebrations and a new collaboration with the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce. This expansion and re-branding better reflects the year-round events and activities First Night organizes for the community.

The mission of First Night has always been to provide healthy, alcohol-free activities and events for families, the announcement reads. Community partners include LEAF Council on Alcoholism and Addictions, Five Star Subaru and dozens of generous local foundations, individuals, and businesses. Hill City Celebrations also works closely with the City of Oneonta, SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College and Bassett Healthcare Network to produce events such as the Oneonta Festival of Lights, First Night at the Foothills, and the Hometown 4th of July.

Planning Starts Now for Festival

Planning Starts Now for Festival

Exhibit at past Festival of Lights

Hill City Celebrations, formerly First Night Oneonta, is partnering with the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce in the planning of this year’s Festival of Lights.

Volunteers are needed in the following areas: builders; designers; display workers; traffic flow; parking; vendor assistance teams; and more.

If you can help, or for more information, e-mail kvanzandt@otsegocc.com or call 607-432-4500.

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