Alex Fredkin, Arts Editor
On Saturday, September 14, the 11th Annual City of the Hills Arts Festival was held in downtown Oneonta. Organized by the Community Arts Network of Oneonta, (CANO) the juried arts exhibition featured the work of regional artists and also had live music throughout. Taking place from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon, the event took place in the Dietz Street parking lot, where a concert stage held the music and vendors sold items around the lot.
Artists sold paintings of beautiful landscapes, street-view photography and other designs. Fashion-forward vendors sold interesting clothing such as Native American-inspired clothing and scarves as well as accessories such as jewelry and bracelets. Patrons gladly bought decorative items such as pottery, beautiful vases and fine china.
Food vendors sold carnival fare such as sno-cones and fried dough to those looking for a tasty treat, while sausage stands, grilled burgers and barbeque catered to people who needed a heartier meal.
To supplement the commotion on Dietz Street, Main Street was blocked off for the duration of the event as the annual Grand and Glorious Tag Sale Event was held. People lined the street, where a slew of all sorts of other vendors set up shop. Townspeople of all ages as well as college students searched through the countless stands where items ranging from old Nintendo 64 games and CDs to discounted sneakers could be bought. Food also could be found on Main Street as one stand sold grilled burgers and sausages to the avid shoppers that worked up an appetite. Everything you could ever want could be found at any one of the stands, and patrons happily lined the stores for the whole event.
The multi-faceted Arts festival entertained anybody who passed by the Dietz Street stage, with talented bands playing all day. Performers played about one hour sets throughout, with the last four being One Click Culture, The Phakers, The Crisco Fist and Jeremy Wall & the Oneonta Funk band.
One Click Culture is a three-piece that channels 80s pop rock to form a sound that can be likened to The Police, and features SUNY Oneonta’s own professor Rob Lipari on drums. The Phakers play a combination of originals and covers of bands such as the Grateful Dead and Phish. And the group’s keyboardist is none other than SUNY Oneonta’s own professor Paul Carter.
The 3:00 show featured another SUNY Oneonta professor, Mark Pawkett, on guitar and vocals. The group’s hard rock and Irish-tinged songs drew loud cheers from the audience at hand.
The final set of the event featured the return of Professor Jeremy Wall and his Oneonta Funk band.
The group entertained the crowd with a mix of classic funk and soul tunes. The group is Stevie Wonder’s best spokesman, playing his hits such as “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” “Living for the City” and “I Wish.” The octet performed as if they had never left last year, hitting every melodic fluctuation with grace, urging those who thought they were leaving the parking lot to stay for just one more hour.
Other highlights of their set included Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” which gave crooner Ryan Quinn a chance to show off his impressive falsetto, undoubtedly stunning those who did not know the band.
With solos from just about every member of the band, the diverse group proved their talent and was a great end to the event. Afterwards, emcee Pamela Sue West-Finkle came on to thank everyone who was a part of the festival and to urge people to support the Arts so that bands like the funk band and all those that played, as well as the artists who sold items, could keep their art thriving and alive.
The City of the Hills Arts Festival was a resounding success. The Dietz Street parking lot was filled with people all day, as countless items were sold and patrons were entertained by the great music playing. Hopefully the annual event can continue its excellent tradition next year in its 12th run.