Calling all baseball fans!
Tune in for the 2021 awards ceremony live on the MLB Network. The ceremony will include the Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting excellence, Al Michaels; the 2020 Frick Award winner, Ken Harrel-son; the 2021 Baseball Writers’ Association of America Career Excellence Award winner, Dick Kaegel; the 2020 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner, Nick Cafardo; and the 2020 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award winner, David Montgomery.
Presented by The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown on Saturday, July 24. Call 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org.
COMMUNITY CONCERT – 7 p.m. Oneonta Community Band presents ‘Going Out’ concert exploring some of the activities we’ve missed and will soon be possible. Selections include ‘American Patrol’ by F.W. Meacham’s, ‘Liberty Bell’ by John Philip Sousa, and more. Birng the lawn chairs and get comfortable in the Park. Bandstand, Neahwa Park, Oneonta. 607-432-7085 or visit www.facebook.com/oneontacommunityconcertband/
A summer concert series will begin Thursday, July 8, in Neahwa Park in Oneonta.
The series will feature performances every Thursday between 7 and 8 p.m.
The first event will feature the Driftwoods.
Common Council accepts grain grant
Oneonta’s Common Council passed a motion Tuesday, July 6, to accept a state grant of $180,000 for the Hartwick College Grain Innovation Center. The city’s plan is for the center to become part of the eventual Lofts on Dietz Street.
The council met in person at City Hall for the first time since March 2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Meetings had been taking place via Zoom and were broadcast on YouTube. However, the July change in state COVID laws opened the meetings up again.
INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE – 1 p.m. The parade will line up at Noon at Foothills and proceed down Main Street to Neahwa Park for remarks and festivities. All essential workers are invited to participate and will have a chance to win door prizes from local businesses when they register. Bassett CEO Tommy Ibrahim will be serving as Grand Marshall. Main Street, Oneonta. Visit www.facebook.com/FNOneonta/
INDEPENDENCE DAY FESTIVAL – 2 – 11 p.m. After the Parade enjoy food, entertainment on the main stage, support local artisans, and much more at the festival. Mayor Gary Herzig and mayoral candidates will be presenting remarks to honor our essential workers. Neahwa Park, Oneonta. Visit www.facebook.com/FNOneonta/
INDEPENDENCE DAY FIREWORKS – 9:30 p.m. Five Star Subaru will be presenting the fireworks display, dedicated to Essential Workers, which will be ‘twice as intense’ as years past. Neahwa Park, Oneonta. Visit www.facebook.com/FNOneonta/
Start your Independence Day celebrations with the Hometown Heroes kick-off concert dedicated to the essential workers who have given so much during the pandemic. The concert will feature the Michael Christopher country band performing their greatest hits. Free admission. Presented by Hometown 4th at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 2, at Neahwa Park in Oneonta. Visit facebook.com/FNOneonta/ for information.
CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. Kimberley Hawkey to perform mix of songs from Jazz, Broadway, and folk. She will be joined by pianist/vocalist Loren Daniels, bassist Evan Jagels, and drummer Graeme Francis. Music charge, $15. Origins Cafe, 558 Beaver Meadow Rd., Cooperstown. 607-437-2862 or visit www.celebrateorigins.com
ONEONTA — The Hometown 4th Festival will return to Oneonta’s Neahwa Park to celebrate the July Fourth holiday next weekend, with a theme of honoring essential workers.
The goal is to honor the workers, including grocery store staff, teachers, police officers, firefighters and healthcare workers, who took risks for the community good during the coronavirus pandemic, according to festival officials.
“We wanted to do everything we could to let them know that the First Night Board and the whole community appreciates them,” First Night Board Chair Carol Mandigo said.
The celebration will kick off at 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 2, in Neahwa Park, with a free concert by country artist Michael Christopher.
At noon, Sunday, July 4, the parade will line up at Foothills Performing Arts Center on Market Street.
ONEONTA – More than 100 people gathered at Neahwa Park on Saturday, June 19, to celebrate Juneteenth, a day that celebrates African-American emancipation.
There was additional cause for celebration Saturday since President Joe Biden signed a law this week making Juneteenth a national holiday.
With a DJ spinning music the entire time, it wasn’t unusual to see spontaneous dancing. Free hamburgers, hotdogs and beverages were also provided. There was face painting, a raffle and artwork.
The event appeared to attract a diverse group of people, both in terms of ethnicity and age. It was very much a family centric event.
Joanne Fisher, assistant secretary for the Oneonta NAACP, said celebrating Juneteenth in Oneonta for the second year in a row is a great idea because it helps people learn about each other and for Black Americans to reclaim parts of their history that are often forgotten or were untaught in schools.
“I think it’s the only way we’re gonna bridge the gap and learn each other’s value,” Fisher said. “History hasn’t told us everything.”
Fisher, originally from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, said she was not taught about slavery and Juneteenth in her school, and therefore she didn’t get a chance to learn about her own history.
Anita Hopson set up a tent to display old items brought from her grandparents that originated mainly in West Africa. Some of the items included a jumping broom, used traditionally in marriages, sand paintings and others.
“‘I’m proud to have my family history,” Hopson said. She said she appreciated being given the chance to show these things to people who “don’t look like me.”
The Otsego Pride Alliance had a table at the event in which they put up photos of Black trans and LGBTQ members who were killed in violence across the country. They said they were there to support the Black community and promote equality.
Bertram Knight showcased some of his photographs, which he said were meant to convey the beauty of Black bodies.
“All the images are representations of black beauty,” Knight said, who was “looking for different ways to highlight and elevate differences in our communities.”
Aaron Smith, who moved to Oneonta from Alabama in January, said he was happy Juneteenth was being celebrated here.
“It’s good for me to be able to get out and celebrate Juneteenth,” Smith said. “(It) feels good to be learning about the community and celebrating our newest holiday.”
Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig spoke before the entertainment began, quipping that it was nice to be out without masks.
However, Herzig said the last year was one of “needless tragedy, but one of reckoning and one of change.”
Herzig said the city of Oneonta recently “took a hard look in the mirror,” which was necessary for the community to become “better and better every year.”
Juneteenth is “a day for us to pause, a day for us to catch our breath and a day to celebrate,” Herzig said.
“Slavery may have ended, but its legacy has not,” Herzig said.
Herzig said it is only “through the richness of Black art and Black culture” that others can have a semblance of understanding the experience of Black Americans.
Herzig said he hoped the eventual artists lofts on Dietz Street would become the home of artists of color.
“Black culture has enriched our lives,” Herzig said. “We are so much better because of the African-American culture.”
Some of the entertainment included college students performing stepping dances, Jonathan Brown making a speech about how white supremacy not only hurts black people but also white people and the song “Speechless” from the new “Aladin” movie, performed by Ajare Malcolm.
Brown’s speech ended on a note that seemed to encapsulate the entire event. “Be truthful to our human experience,” Brown said. “Before we’re any race, we’re human.”
JUNETEENTH – 3 – 8 p.m. Celebrate the 2nd annual Juneteenth, the celebration of the emancipation of the last enslaved people in the US, with food, live music, and art from a variety of local artists and authors. Neahwa Park, Oneonta. www.juneteenthoneonta.com
Run to support the Susquehanna SPCA. This year the shelter is partnering with three local breweries to raise funds for animals in need. The 0.5K Fun Run is a kid-friendly event beginning at 8:30 a.m., the 5K at 9:15, and the 10K at 9. There will also be a pet parade with prizes. Cost is $10 for ages 13+ in the 0.5K, $30 for adults in the 5K and 10K. Age-appropriate drinks will be provided to the runners. Winners will have an adoption sponsored in their names. Starts at Brewery Ommegang, 656 Co. Hwy. 33, near Cooperstown, on Saturday, June 19. Call 607-547-8111 or visit sqspca.org/fetching-brews-run-walk/.
Celebrate the liberation of the last enslaved people in the U.S. this Juneteenth. Live music, free food, art from local artists, speeches, and more. 3 p.m. Neahwa park, Oneonta. Saturday, June 19. Visit stayhappening.com/e/juneteenth-E2ISTOP8XG7.
Hang out at Fire Pit Friday with friends and enjoy The Beadle Brothers live performance of modern country music, from 7 to 10 p.m., at Brewery Ommegang, 656 county Route 33, near Cooperstown. Friday, June 18. Call 607-544-1800 or visit www.ommegang.com/concerts-events/.
Get the teens out of the house for fun game of Fizzball with the Teen Center and Otsego Pride Alliance. Bring a garbage-bag smock, goggles and get ready to have some fun. New players are welcome. At 7 p.m., Friday, June 18. Meet at The Skatehouse, Neahwa Park in Oneonta. Call 607-441-3999 or visit www.facebook.com/oneonta.teencenter.
The Oneonta Outlaws will host the Amsterdam Mohawks. Children 18 and under get free admission, sponsored by SFCU. 7 p.m., Thursday, June 17. Damaschke Field in Oneonta.
Decorate your car for pride and join the Otsego Pride Alliance to parade down Main Street Oneonta. Will be followed by socially distanced remembrance ceremony for the LGBTQ+ community in Neahwa Park. Begins at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 5. Call 607-386-1508 or visit www.facebook.com/otsegopride/.
After a one-year hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Oneonta Outlaws will return for a 2021 summer baseball season.
The team will again be part of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, competing in the Eastern Division.
The Outlaws will open the season Thursday, June 3, with a 7 p.m. game at Saugerties. The home opener will be at 7 p.m., Friday June 4, when Oneonta hosts Mohawk Valley at Damaschke Field in Oneonta’s Neahwa Park.
The Outlaws are scheduled to play 46 games in June and July, with half at home. The PGCBL has said some games may not be played if COVID protocols are required.
However, the team officials said they are optimistic about the season and the team’s ability to host fans for games.
Joe Hughes, Oneonta High School’s longtime baseball coach, returns to coach the Outlaws in 2021, with Eric Downey as his assistant coach.
“Any return to normalcy is good for the community and good for people in general,” Hughes said. “It’s like everything is moving in the right direction, so we look forward to having some baseball.”
The team features two Oneonta players, Tanner Beang and Keaton Mark, as well as former Gilboa pitcher Cole Fancher.
“It is good to have some local players,” Hughes said. “My former players at Oneonta are now playing well in college. Tanner Beang had a good year at Binghamton. Keaton Mark had a good year at the plate. Keaton could always hit well and he is still doing it in college.”
Beang, a 2018 OHS graduate, played at Binghamton University in 2021, after a year at College of Saint Rose. He was the Bearcats closer, pitching 10 times during the season, with a 4-0 record, one save and a 3.78 ERA.
Mark, a 2017 OHS graduate, finished his senior season this month at Heidelberg University in Tiffen, Ohio. He was named first team all-Ohio Athletic Conference in right field, where he started all 41 games this season for the Student Princes. Mark hit .396 with 15 doubles, 12 stolen bases, 40 RBI and a slugging percentage of .610.
Fancher, a 2018 Gilboa Central School graduate, has appeared in 19 games as a pitcher for Dominican College in Orangeburg. He was 1-1 in 2021, and is 7-1 with three saves in three seasons.
Other local players are Marcus Cashman from Norwich, who is playing at Niagara University and Anthony VanFossen from Endwell, who is playing at SUNY Oswego.
The Outlaws roster is filled with players who play at New York colleges, including Binghamton, Iona, Marist, Herkimer Community College and SUNY schools in Cobleskill and Oswego.
However, not all the players are local. Yuzuki Okamura, who started at catcher for Herkimer CC this season, is from Shiga, Japan.
“We’re excited to have him, especially because he is a catcher,” Hughes said.
“We have a good sampling of players from local colleges and various places around the country,” Hughes said. “We have some (NCAA) Division I players. We have a player from Yale. We have a player from Wofford, which is a good Division I program. And Binghamton is Division I, also.”
The early season will be hectic from Hughes, as OHS is still playing. The Section IV Class B baseball tournament is scheduled to take place June 8, 10 and 12, Hughes said, with seedings to be determined Saturday, June 5. Oneonta is 6-2 against Class B schools, Hughes said and should be guaranteed a playoff spot.
“For those 10 days or so, I’ll be trying to pull a rabbit out of my hat, trying to coach the Outlaws and the high school team at the same time,” Hughes said. “I’ll find a way to make it work.”
Go to www.oneontaoutlaws.com for more information.
ONEONTA – Despite the occasional rain and cold weather, hundreds came out for the Memorial Day parade and a wreath laying ceremony Monday, May 31, in Neahwa Park to honor the country’s veterans who died in service.
Participants in the parade included the Oneonta Fire Department, the Oneonta PD, the American Legion, the Rotary Club, the Boy Scouts and the VFW.
Fred Hicken, a WWII veteran, was the grand marshal of the parade.
The parade started on Market Street, adjacent to the Foothills Performing Art Center. It proceeded on Main Street and ended at the veteran’s memorial plaques in the park.
Mayor Gary Herzig gave a personal thank you to the veterans present at Neahwa Park.
“I had family members who lost their lives in the concentration camps,” Herzig said.
Herzig said that Memorial Day was important to “take the time to remember those who fought and particularly those who didn’t come home,” Herzig said. “Their sacrifice and their families’ sacrifice was also our entire communities’ sacrifice … We can only dream of what we could’ve been if we hadn’t lost those who didn’t come home. It’s a true loss not only for them and their families but all of us.”
During the ceremony at Neahwa Park, there was a short invocation to begin the ceremony that said a prayer for stopping the rain and allowing them to honor veterans. The Gettysburg Address was read, along with Gen. John Logan’s orders, which first designated Memorial Day as a time of honoring veterans.
Scouts BSA of Oneonta placed about 3,600 flags across the community.
The ceremony ended with a 21 gun salute and the bagpipes of Michael Woytach, an Iraq War veteran who is part of the VFW in Oneonta.
“It’s just to pay my homage for those who can’t be here with us today,” Woytach said.
Herzig summed up the day with his closing remarks.
“It’s a sad day and also a proud day,” Herzig said.
The Memorial Day Parade and celebration is set to kick off on Monday, May 31, with a parade starting at the Foothills Performing Arts Center at 10 a.m., going into Main Street and ending at Neahwa Park. Masks and social distancing are required.
Oberacker to give historic presentation
State Sen. Peter Oberacker will be giving a presentation to the Town of Maryland Historical Society at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 27.
The society will also be selling donuts, 9 a.m. to noon, Sunday, May 30.