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Oswego Harborfest - Family Fun in Central New York

Entering its 27th year of existence, the Oswego Harborfest in Upstate New York is a celebration of New York history, the city of Oswego and the harbor itself. The historic event on the water has become a staple in the family favorite category, drawing over 200,000 attendees last year alone. As July rapidly approaches, this year’s festival is set to be one of the most memorable yet. As Public Relations/Vendor Coordinator for the event, Chelsea Bartlett explains, Oswego Harborfest has become more than an annual event. It has become a celebration of state, community and heritage.

RAL: What is Harborfest…Fill me in as someone who has never heard of it.
CB: Harborfest is a 4 day, admission free event towards the end of July, this year falling from July 24th – 27th. The festival originated in 1988, and has become a celebration of Oswego, the harbor and the water. The festival draws in thousands of visitors each year for days filled with live music, incredible food, activities, contests, giveaways and more. It is an amazing time of the year for Oswego and something we all look forward to during the long months of winter.

RAL: Who Comes to Harborfest?
CB: We see all types of people visit every year. A lot of the people that come through are families on their Summer vacations, but we also get couples, groups, and a lot of family reunions. People ask us how we accommodate so many different ages and types of people. We always fall back on the endless array of activities that Harborfest has to offer. There is truly something for everyone to do here, and we really pride ourselves on that. If I had to pick one demographic that Harborfest is perfect for, it would be families.

RAL: How big is this event when it comes to attendance?
CB: Oh boy…it really changes by year, but we typically see 200,000+ people over the course of the 4 days. It is a pretty big deal around here during the Summer. And like I said before, a lot of the people we do see are families, or large groups traveling with each other.

RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
CB: The economic impact of Harborfest is huge. The local businesses really thrive during that stretch, and it is great for the local economy. It is by far the biggest weekend of our year, so we rely pretty heavily on it to help out for the upcoming Winter season. Harborfest also strives to give out of town visitors a reason to return to Oswego. We want them to come back to visit the community again, throughout the year.

RAL: Why would I want to bring my family here for a vacation?
CB: Well for starters, it’s 100% free. There is no admission fees and no fees of any kind to participate in the activities. That is always nice for families who are already spending money on travel. The sense of community here is really strong as well – the festival gives off a really welcoming vibe that I am sure families grab onto. Beautiful views, no admission, endless activities, close knit community…there is so much to love about Harborfest and we hope that families continue to join us into 2014!