On Thursday, Breitbeck Park was filled with the sound of Take Cover, the 10th Mountain Division Army Rock Band, and Prime Time Horns, kicked off the weekend. Later that evening, Blues Traveler took to the stage as the first "big" performance of the weekend. Music is an integral part of Harborfest and is performed live all weekend long on stages set up all over the city. A complete list of the live performers can be found on the 2016 Harborfest website.
Over the course of the weekend, festival goers heard a variety of performances with Jazz and Blues echoing out of East Park. The big music news this year wasn't Blues Traveler, Dirt Road Ruckus, Enter the Haggis, or DeYoung playing the music of Styx; the important part of the weekend was Off The Reservation. A rock band that calls Oswego home, Off the Reservation, is the first local band to play a headlining performance after the fireworks. Playing a mix of Classic Rock, Arena Rock, Hard Rock, the 70's- 80's and Metal, Off The Reservation was well received by the Harborfest crowd and left listeners thoroughly entertained.
If you were looking for something to eat while enjoying the music, you didn't have to go far. Each park at Harborfest was set up with food vendors of all kinds. Fried food, barbecue food, lemonade, sandwiches, and wraps; whatever you're in the mood for. Chances are good that you could find it at Harborfest. Many attendees of Harborfest are foodies and look for things like the 'Bacon Bomb', a festival favorite of all fest-goers, including the Mayor of Oswego. Mayor William Barlow's favorite part of Harborfest "is the fried dough and lemonade."
"Live Action" entertainment had a prominent place at the fest, with pirates acting out a comedy scenario accompanied by live sword fighting. The pirates are the Shadow Players: Stage Combat Group. There were also drum performances, dancing, and a small dog show. Putting aside the shows and the music, then maybe you can enjoy the simpler aspects of Harborfest. Harborfest is first and foremost a social event. As one local Oswego educator put it, "Harborfest is great for getting together with friends." To the workers at the local pub Gibby's, Harborfest is the sunshine and lots of people having fun together.
Now that the weekend of Harborfest has passed a whole year must go by before the festivities and free live music can be enjoyed again, but it is sure worth the wait, after all, 2017 will be the 30th anniversary of the festival and we can be sure it will be the biggest festival year yet!