Times are tough. But so are we.
In Oneonta, and in towns and villages throughout the area, business owners struggle to pay the rent, the utilities, the taxes and payroll. They take what they can spare from the till to keep food on their own tables.
Maybe you have to be a small-business owner to truly appreciate that. (I am, and I do.) For their employees, things are uncertain at best. Few look for a raise. They hope to keep their jobs, even as friends, neighbors and family have lost theirs.
And when the workday is done, the grip of these grim times isn't loosened. If anything, it tightens with every drumbeat of bad news delivered by the TV and PC.
It's overwhelming. We need a hero, we think. But, what we really need is a mirror.
And so, we are bringing back First Night -- with a difference.
Not just as entertainment -- although it will be the largest in Oneonta this century -- but as a celebration of what our community can do and has done.
First Night 2011 has been dubbed "Imagine Oneonta," and it's our rallying cry!
This New Year's Eve, as thousands enjoy the most eclectic collection of entertainments imaginable, they will celebrate our community's collective successes as well. They'll be reminded of the hurdles we've cleared and the challenges we've overcome.
We are heroes. And we will make it through these tough times.
New Year's Eve is the one day in the year when everyone -- friends and strangers alike -- offers the gift of optimism, of hope for a better day. And we take it, gladly, even as we extend those wishes in return. That optimism about a new year's potential doesn't last long, sometimes just days. But if this year some 4,000 to 5,000 people leave Oneonta's historic downtown feeling just a little more empowered, just a little more hopeful… well, just imagine!
We're gathering an array of musicians, dancers and other performers the likes of which haven't been assembled in memory. Hundreds of volunteers are being recruited to assist downtown businesses in the transformation of their storefronts into mini-theaters. First Night's iconic puppets are receiving the TLC they've so long needed. The parade is forming. Fireworks are being readied.
But there's more!
In deference to the economy and the burden it has placed on local families, we're instituting a new admission policy. For the first time, children under 12 will be admitted for free.
In addition, we've moved our spectacular fireworks display to just after 10 p.m. so that the entire family can enjoy it.
Following the fireworks' finale, there will be a free show on the portable bandstand on Main Street. A toast to the New Year follows, and at midnight, a peal of bells will cascade from the hills of Hartwick to church after church in Oneonta's downtown.
We hope you'll join us this First Night, and help us Imagine Oneonta as the community that can.
These times may be tough, but so are we. (And we know how to party.) For more information about First Night Oneonta, see www.ImagineOneonta.com or look for us on Facebook. (Search Imagine Oneonta.)
Mark Drnek is chairman of First Night Oneonta.
Times are tough. But so are we.
- Guest Column
Records seizure is an insult to free press
The evangelical view of same-sex marriage
The issue of same-sex marriage seems to appear on a daily basis in the media these days.
Manor's fate will be Otsego board's legacy
The Otsego County Boards (plural) of Representatives, more in the past than in the present, have negotiated the county into a financial corner leaving the present board between a rock â€" increased taxation and/or deficits â€" and a hard place â€" selling the Manor.
A closer look at our economy - Part II
We have talked about the public sector component of our economy. Now let's take a brief look at the manufacturing and retail/services sectors.
Use fracking to fill budget gaps
- Saturday, April 20, 2013
The kind of people we 'antis' are
In the controversy over the extraction of petroleum resources from shale, people who oppose this energy industry expansion have been called hypocrites. Claims have been made that practically every dollar diverted from petroleum development defaults to coal, and those who try to promote renewable energy resources wind up assisting that default. I am writing, not to dispute these allegations, but to lament them.
- Saturday, April 13, 2013
Social Security is a system worth saving
- Saturday, April 6, 2013
Gun column fuels lawlessness, paranoia
- Saturday, March 30, 2013
Here's how you fix the national debt
Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, having scorned income taxes and budget-balancing, have left the U.S. in a desperate economic fix by unnecessarily selling national debt bonds.
- Saturday, March 23, 2013
The true meaning of the story of Easter
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- Saturday, March 16, 2013
A flesh-and-blood expert won't hoodwink you
- Saturday, March 9, 2013
Let the markets determine our energy sources
In the Crime section of your local Barnes & Noble, you'll find Elmore Leonard's recent novel "Raylan." In it, Marshal Raylan Givens encounters with a pair of thieves who steal kidneys from the healthy, then sell those vital organs back to their victims. Talk about creating a market! Move down the aisle to economics and change the heist from organs to electricity, and Mr. Leonard could have a category-busting best seller.
- Saturday, March 2, 2013
Taking a closer look at our regional economy
- Saturday, February 9, 2013
Investment in DEC isinvestment in state's future
What is the relationship between Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget and your desire to protect New York's environment? What is the relationship between Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget and the economic potential of tourism to upstate? What is the relationship between Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget and the value you get back from your hunting or fishing license? What is the relationship between Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget and his claim that New York is once again business friendly?
We need to work toward living in love
Heads swirl, stomachs ache and hearts throb when violent thoughts rear their hideous heads and commit atrocious acts. Unfortunately, the aches and throbs only wane after follow-up regulatory efforts are made to stop the sadism, or after we seek solace in religion or spirituality. Itâ€™s not that the rules and religion are useless, but that the challenge to do better never goes away. Consciousness is constantly on the move to overcome its own challenges.
- Saturday, February 2, 2013
All downtown Oneonta lacks is you
- Saturday, January 26, 2013
America at a crossroads in 2013
Our country is at a crossroads. After four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits, our national debt now stands at over $16 trillion. If we don’t change course, based on the policies contained in President Barack Obama’s most recent budget proposal, we’ll continue to have trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.
- Saturday, January 12, 2013
Obamacare won't cure what ails our system
- Saturday, December 29, 2012
Oneonta's First Night is too good to miss
- Sunday, December 23, 2012
The right to live free from gun violence
- Records seizure is an insult to free press