Harborfest retains size

"The Barenaked Ladies will perform as part of the 2011 Harborfest, despite predictions last year that the event would have to be downsized due to budget concerns.

"The festival, which takes place the last full weekend in July, generally draws crowds of about 250,000, making it the peak of summer festivities in Oswego. This year the theme will be Great Britain and will include Herman’s Hermitts, starring Peter Noone.

"Debates swirled about how much revenue it brought into the local economy, which forced the common council to reconsider the payment of overtime for city employees working at the event last year.

"Last April the common council voted 5-2 to continue overtime pay for city employees for Harborfest 2010, because the public space had already been reserved and the bands had been booked. The aldermen, at that point, were unsure if this should be passed again for Harborfest 2011 because concerns were raised about the actual economic impact that the festival had on local businesses, while using taxpayer funds. Harborfest said last year that no direct city money was being used to fund the event.

"Despite these hesitations, Harborfest 2011 will not be scaled back. The festival broke even last year and will remain the same size for the upcoming year. Part of this is because the event will be using more volunteers than city employees, said Executive Director Tom Van Schaack.

""We tried to cut back and watch the kind of expenses we had," he said.

"Van Schaack said that they were in good shape as far as receiving funding. Through sponsorships and cutbacks Harborfest was able to book the Barenaked Ladies.

""The reason we got the band was because the Constellation Nuclear Energy group stepped up to the plate this year and we received more funding," Van Schaack said. "They pay a sponsorship fee, which allows us to search for a higher end band."

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