ONEONTA – Starting 9 a.m. next Saturday, July 18, and continuing through Sept. 5, Main Street from Elm to Chestnut will be closed to allow restaurants to expand their outdoor dining opportunities.
“It’s highly marketable,” said Council Member Mark Drnek, Eighth Ward, who chairs the Survive, Then Thrive committee. “Downtown Oneonta could become the Best Restaurant in New York.”
Restaurants will be able to place tables in front of their restaurants only, as well as determine whether to offer service or ask diners to order take-out. Patrons will still be required to wear masks where social distancing is not possible.
SCAVENGER HUNT – July 1 – August 31. Youths and families are invited to participate in 2020 Historic Oneonta’s Main Street Architectural Detail Scavenger Hunt. Search for architectural details on Main Street Oneonta and tell the Oneonta History Center about them. A great lead in to upcoming exhibit ‘Building Blocks Of A City: 100 Years og Architecture In Oneonta.’ Visit www.oneontahistory.org/upcomingevents.htm for info.
Main Street was filled with people this afternoon as craft-beer connoisseurs flocked to the sixth annual Snommegang in Oneonta to sample dozens of brews from nearly 30 companies. Above, Lauren Ward, Oneonta, right, Cooperstown Brewing Co. manager, serves a glass of the new All American Lager to Brenden Kovits and Katie Whitcomb of Little Falls. At right, Bev Hodges, Unadilla, dances with Julianne Morris, Oneonta, in the music tent to Oneonta’s Hop City Hellcats.(Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
ONEONTA – This will be the year, Mayor Gary Herzig said, that the City of Oneonta begins to see the results of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grants
“In 60 days, we’ll unveil the redesign of our downtown,” he said. “And this redesign is not by City Hall, but by 80 downtown business owners who have submitted proposals for $2.5 million in funding for improvements. This is a downtown made possibly by the energy of our local businesses.”
Herzig, alongside Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, spoke at the annual State of the State breakfast, hosted by the Otsego County Chamber this morning at SUNY Oneonta’s Morris Hall.
HERO RUN/WALK – 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Memorial run/walk for all the heroes who lost their lives on 9/11/01 and honoring the heroes who still answer the call. Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Company., 832 Co. Hwy. 26, Fly Creek. Visit hero5k.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=6181
RODEO – 4 – 11 p.m. Support your hometown baseball team at Saturday Night Showdown. Pre-rodeo features games, food, music. Rodeo kicks off at 7, followed at 9 by party with music, cash bar, snacks. Tickets, $20/adult. Available at SFCU locations, ISD, The Shipping Room, or Online. Oneonta Outlaws, Damaschke Field, 15 James Georgeson Ave., Oneonta. 607-432-6326 or visit www.facebook.com/oneontaoutlawsbaseball/
The American Legion Color Guard – from left, Gary Walters, Gary Ballard, Tony Moore, Wayne Gregory, Terry Harkenreader and Harry Martin – marches down Main Street. during the Memorial Day parade this morning in Oneonta. They are followed by the rifle detail from Fort Drum that volunteered for the occasion, under the direction of Sgt. Ericson Brenner, son of Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner. Following the parade, crowds gathered at the Veterans’ Memorial in Neahwa Park for services honoring fallen soldiers, veterans and their families. At right, OHS Valedictorian Teagan Mackey recites Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to the crowd, including Lincoln look-alike Pete Lindemann, Cobleskill, foreground, who was dressed as the former President for the occasion. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
ONEONTA – Joseph Ruffino Sr, 78, founder of Ruffino’s Pizzeria in downtown Oneonta, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, at Bassett Hospital.
He was born on March 1, 1938, in Carini, Sicily, the son of Giuseppe and Rosa (Sgroi) Ruffino.
In the late 1950s a young Joseph, barely 20 years old, came to the great USA as a stone quarry worker from Carini, Sicily, in search of the American Dream. During the years that followed, he worked hard in his country early on as a farmer and later as a construction worker.
While working throughout the Tri-Borough area of New York City, he was reintroduced to his future wife Rosaria Altadonna, whom he had known from his hometown in Sicily.
Scoring a bargain online may be a thrill to some, but it’s nothing compared to the fun of going into a shop in downtown Oneonta and finding that perfect gift.
Especially if it’s a gift you didn’t even know you were going to buy.
That’s exactly how I felt when I walked into the Green Toad Bookstore and spotted “Everything I Need To Know About Christmas I Learned From a Little Golden Book.” It was perfect for my grandmother, who read many, many Golden Books to me and my sisters as we were growing up.
And sure, I could have found it online – if I’d known it existed – and had it shipped to my mailbox, but really, where’s the fun in that?
“Shopping locally is fun,” said Jim Havener, the new owner of the Green Toad Bookstore, 198 Main, as he wrapped up my purchase in festive paper. “I had a customer come in earlier and who told me she was buying here instead of at Barnes & Nobel because it made her feel like she was part of the community.”
I’ll confess, I’m not one for planning what I want to buy as gifts. I like to look around, and find something so unexpected that I can just imagine the look on my friend’s face as they open it.
And Oneonta, it seems, is the place to do just that.
At Razzle Dazzle, 248 Main, every inch floor-to-ceiling is packed with nifty-gifties, from kitchen gadgets to wooly gloves to kid’s toys. “We come here for the kitchen stuff,” said Mary Southern, Oneonta. “You find things in here that you can’t find anywhere else!”
Like the cute Anne Taintor “You Be Thelma, I’ll Be Louise” socks that screamed my friend Liz’s name, or the beautiful purses owner Debbie North knits by hand. “I labor over them and each one is one-of-a-kind,” she said. “People ask, ‘why don’t you sell them on Etsy?’ But I want to see who buys them. I was given a gift of creativity, and it’s not for me to hold on to.”
(Is it still Christmas shopping if you buy a present for yourself?)
Handmade, local and vintage are the biggest trend in both Oneonta and across the country. “You can’t find vintage pins like these in stores anymore,” said Cindy Staffin, owner of Transitions Boutique, 4 Deitz St., who had a whole display of vintage rhinestone broaches. “People come in looking for older pieces like this.”
“I have one just like this,” said Kathy Polley, a Transitions’ clerk, pointing to a glittery red and gold Christmas tree pin. “I bought it at Bresees’, and I still have it.”
And although Bresees’ was gone before I arrived in Oneonta eight years ago, I could still recreate some of the experience by going into Theresa’s Emporium, 155 Main, including passing by the old turnstile Chip Klugo, who redeveloped the former department store into shops and apartments, has installed in the hallway.
Much of Theresa Cyzeski’s merchandise is American-made and Fair Trade, and although the Grumpy Cat plush toy I bought my niece Melody isn’t locally made, as Theresa wrapped it up for me she asked about my upcoming wedding. No one at any store in Albany or Binghamton – certainly not at a cyberstore – would know enough about me to ask. It was nice to have a conversation that didn’t consist of just “Sign the receipt” and “Have a good day.”
“Oneonta is for the unconventional,” said Anthony Robinson of The Museum Skate Shop, 201 Main. “We’ve got everything downtown.”
And as I walked to my car, arms loaded with bags, I felt very posh, like I was strolling down Fifth Avenue. But better still, I had been out in my town, talking with friends and neighbors, getting some fresh air, and taking time to explore what Oneonta really has to offer.
And that’s the kind of feeling you just can’t buy online.