Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oswego County has something for everyone...

It has been quite a long time since last we visited and we have much to catch up on…

In March, the SUNY Oswego Theatre Department celebrated 150 years of style with “A Fashionable Tea” in the Sheldon Hall Ballroom. Current and former students and professors, along with several community members, were at hand to present an historical fashion show highlighting the most popular trends through the decades.

The live exhibit featured simple, everyday clothing along with elaborate couture. Before the parade of colours, textures, and silhouettes, guests enjoyed a light fare of finger sandwiches, cake and tea.

The idea of an afternoon tea developed into a social event in the early- to mid-19th century. The notion is often credited to Catharine of Braganza although noted British author Jane Austen references the occasion in an unfinished novel in 1804. Other sources suggest that Anne, Duchess of Bedford, established the tradition to shorten the long gap between meals.

Check out these photos, courtesy of Katie Goldstein with the SUNNY Oswego Theatre Department, highlighting the school's sesquicentennial salute to fashion:

Just a few weeks later, we gathered for the second annual Oswego County War of 1812 Symposium to commemorate the bicentennial of the war. Once again, the event welcomed record numbers to the American Foundry in Oswego.

The distinguished line-up of speakers included Dr. John Grodzinski, assistant professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada; Col. Clayton Nans, USMC (ret.); Dr. Gary Gibson, noted historian and author; Dr. Benjamin Ford, assistant professor in maritime and historical archaeology and preservation at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; and Darren Bonaparte, chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, creator of the Wampum Chronicles Web site, historical and cultural advisor and esteemed author.

Susan Gibson, Sackets Harbor native; and Beverly Sterling-Affinati and Anne Davis, of the U.S. Daughters of 1812 were also at hand with presentations. Display exhibits included original War of 1812 artifacts by Continental Arms Collectors and Ted Schofield, the International War of 1812 Peace Garden Trail, the U.S. Daughters of the War of 1812, the H. Lee White Marine Museum, and Oswego County Tourism.

The presenters addressed a variety of topics, including military strategies and naval history, civilian life and fashion, and the Native American influence on the war as fighting broke out along the New York-Canadian border.

This region was a major theatre of action during the War of 1812 and there is a tremendous interest in that history. Many local and regional attendees were at hand, while others came from as far away as Buffalo, the Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, and Canada to hear about the people who lived and fought here during the struggle for control of Lake Ontario and the subsequent preservation of American freedom.

Here are a few pictures from the symposium:

Later, we celebrated 200 years of peace with our Canadian neighbors with the dedication of the Oswego War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Garden. The garden trail runs more than 600 miles between the U.S. and Canada and highlights sites related to the War of 1812.

We also remembered more than 1,500 souls that were lost with the sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago. Marking the centennial of the tragedy, the H. Lee White Marine Museum presented “A Titanic Affair” at the American Foundry in Oswego.

Guests lined up to ‘board’ the gala event which featured a re-creation of the first-class menu served aboard the legendary ship. They enjoyed fine food, mingling with interactive period characters, and dinner music provided by Harpist Marcella Slater. Many joined in a silent auction which featured a plethora of beautiful prizes. Later, they took to the dance floor with Don Goodness and the Do Good Swing Band.

Titanic Historical Society Chaplain George DeMass led a commemoration ceremony which featured a duet with Mistress of Ceremonies Jonel Langenfeld Rial and Jeff Wallace. He presented keepsakes from the great ship’s youngest and last survivor, Millvina Dean, to the two youngest guests and shared his memories of their meeting before her death in 2009. Finally, all joined in a heartfelt rendition of “Nearer My God To Thee,” a 19th century Christian hymn said to be the final song played by the band as the Titanic sank into the ocean. 

The following images, courtesy of Bob Finn, capture this once-in-a-lifetime experience:

Most recently, we brought our families to the Oswego County Fair at the fairgrounds on Hadley Road in Sandy Creek! The young and young-at-heart enjoyed domestic arts and farm animal competitions, explored historical exhibits and sportsman’s displays, and browsed arts and crafts and the latest farm equipment. We enjoyed live family entertainment, the thrill of the midway and the roar of the demolition derby. Finally, on Independence Day, we watched the afternoon parade and a firework show at dusk. 

The pictures below show some of the family fun:

Mark your calendars and check out these upcoming events…

Oswego Harborfest – July 26 – 29; fireworks at dusk on Saturday, July 28.
LYRA 2012 Annual Regatta – July 30 – August 5
Jazz Fest – August 10 – 11
Mid-Summer’s Eve – August 14 – 16
Oswego Speedway International Classic Weekend – August 31 – September 2
Crank It Up! Antique Tractor and Engine Show – September 15 – 16
Lioness Club of Central Square Apple Festival – September 28 - 30
Oswego Pumpkinfest – September 29 – 30
Fort Ontario Civil War Weekend – September 29 – 30
Salmon River Festival and Derby – October 5 - 7

For more Oswego County events and information, visit us online at


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