Block party downtown will bring food, fun, music on eclipse eve

OSWEGO, N.Y. — A block party on West 1st Street will be happening from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 7 in downtown Oswego to celebrate the April 8 total solar eclipse.

Amy Murphy is the director of economic development for the city of Oswego. She and Mattison Peet, a specialist who also works in the economic development office, have been working to make the event fun and safe for both locals and tourists to enjoy.

“We’ve got a bunch of entertainment planned and booked, so, trying to make it a safe space for families and kids to come, but adults to come enjoy the music,” Murphy said. The Jess Novak Band will be headlining and playing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mike Shiel, another local musician, will be opening for them. Both will be performing at the Oswego Music Hall on April 13.

Some of the local businesses that will be spread out into the street include Southern Fare, Bistro, Port City Café and Red Sun, Murphy said. “They’ll bring all their seating out, usually they do a little booth, so they’ll have wine, beer, cocktails, stuff like that available for people to eat and drink and enjoy.”

As far as parking and traffic control goes, Murphy said that a shuttle service is in order to make things easier.

“So that people can park elsewhere and we can shuttle them in,” Murphy said, “because we know parking is an issue for the block party and the viewing area the next day.”

Murphy said that hopefully the small businesses on West 1st will get a boom from the tourism expected to flood the area. “It’s a huge reason why we picked the location of the block party of where it is,” Murphy said. Murphy and Peet have also coordinated a small business Saturday push to try and bolster business for the area’s establishments.

“People are in town, you might as well go shop local,” Murphy said, “so we’re trying to help them as much as possible.”

Businesses like Southern Fare in the Litatro building and others down the block of West 1st Street will be part of the celebration. Photo by: Lauren Royce

The city also planned a viewing party at Breitbeck Park on the day of the eclipse. In the Flesh, a Pink Floyd tribute band, will be there from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. headlining and playing hits from “The Dark Side of the Moon.”

Harbor Eye Associates, a local eye care provider, sponsors the band’s appearance and will provide protective glasses at the viewing party.

With large crowds comes a large amount of trash and the need for seamless coordination between departments. Luckily, Murphy and Peet have emergency management down pat.

“We’re very fortunate to have our coworkers be literally the police department, the fire department, DPW.” Murphy said. “We’re not just two event planners on our own island here.”

Over the past several years Murphy said that she and her office have learned to coordinate and work together well with the Department for Public Works and others. “We have that all at hand because we’ve done it now over and over again for all of our events,” Murphy said, “they’re trained to do that, so we feel very confident having the other departments working very closely with us in this event.”

Despite the 2017 eclipse not having gone through Oswego, Peet said there was much to learn from how those within the previous path handled the event. 

“Our county emergency management and our city emergency management director have gone off of the after action reports from the 2017 eclipse,” Peet said, “so that’s kind of what they’re building their emergency functions off of, so they’re expecting a high volume of people because that’s what they saw in 2017.”