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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Outdoors with Larry DiDonato - DEC Switches to Paper Hunting Tags

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/8/24 | 2/8/24

Plain Paper to Replace Synthetic Valeron Carcass and Back Tags - Print at Home Option Coming Soon

On February 2, the New York State DEC announced that beginning August 1st 2024, the material used for state sporting licenses and carcass tags will change from waterproof, tear resistant, special stock synthetic valeron paper to plain paper. The change is touted as modernizing the process of buying a hunting, trapping, and fishing license by allowing easy access to licenses and tags by allowing at-home license and tag printing options. DEC reports this is especially helpful ”…to the increasing number of hunters, trappers, and anglers who purchase their licenses online.”    

“DEC’s transition to paper tags will provide the sporting community with a streamlined process to go afield,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “This cost-effective shift to paper tags will reduce the state’s carbon footprint and ensure our sporting license program is at the forefront of emerging technologies. In recent years, supply chain issues have made it increasingly difficult and more expensive for fish and wildlife agencies to acquire synthetic paper and many have successfully made the switch to plain paper licenses. New York State looks forward to joining our partner states in this transition to modernize our system.” 

They go on to say you can continue to buy licenses at a license issuing agent, online, or over the phone, but will have more flexibility allowing printing at the point-of-sale, or using the newly created print-at-home option. ”Additionally, when hunters and anglers are afield, proof of licensure can be shown electronically through the HuntFishNY mobile app. The app is also a fast and easy way for hunters to report their game harvests. Currently, the only option for backtags and carcass tags will be plain paper.”

The move to paper tags will be effective during the 2024-25 license year and will begin with sales starting August 1st 2024. Lifetime license holders will receive their 2024-25 licenses and tags on plain paper by mail by September 1st 2024. The change to plain paper does not apply to the upcoming 2024 spring turkey season.  

The obvious challenge for hunters is how to keep flimsy paper carcass tags from melting in rain, snow, and muddy conditions. The law still states hunters have to immediately cut or mark the month and day and fill out all fields of deer and turkey carcass tags. Additionally, the tag must remain legible and hunters must attach the paper tag to the deer once you reach motorized transportation. DEC maintains this is the sole responsibility of hunters who harvest game and suggest using ziplock type plastic bags to protect the new, fragile, paper tags.

It remains to be seen how ECOs will deal with potentially mutilated tags, let alone the ease with which extra tags can printed at home by those seeking to illegally exceed harvest limits. 

There are many more questions than answers about how the transition from durable valeron to plain paper tags will play out in the field. DEC has provided a link to begin addressing some of these concerns.  More information on this change is available in a “Q&A” format on the DEC website. Additional details will be forthcoming prior to licenses going on sale on Aug. 1. Customers are encouraged to check DEC’s website and to sign up for DEC Delivers for information and updates regarding this change.   

Happy hunting, fishing, and trapping until next time.

News and Notes

Warning: Ice Conditions remain generally unsafe throughout much of New York State. Many ice fishing tournaments both large and small have been cancelled because of insufficient unsafe ice due to recent warm temperatures. Be sure to follow safe ice guidelines and common sense when considering venturing out.

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Animal Shelter Welcomes Dogs From Illegal Shelter




By Elizabeth Barr

HOWES CAVE — The seven dogs that were taken in by the  Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley arrived with no record of vetting.  Shelter veterinarian, Dr Hadsell, has performed wellness exams on them.  He also gave them vaccinations, dewormed them, and did 4DX testing.  4DX testing measures 4 markers, Lyme disease antibodies, heartworm antigen, Anaplasma antibodies, and Ehrlichia.  Each of these diseases creates havoc in the animal's body.  Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitos, and Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis are tick-borne diseases. The cost of retesting the dogs for heartworm disease is over $700.and there may be additional testing if the heartworm status changes in the next 3-6 months.

Empawthy transported dogs from Southern states, which often have higher rates of heartworm.  Unfortunately, Mango, the cutest little dog, tested positive for heartworm.  Mango is now undergoing lengthy treatment to get her ready for adoption.  The treatment will cost over $2000. The non-profit Animal Shelter is working diligently to get these animals in top health. 

We are hoping the public reaches out to us at

Checks can be mailed directly to Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley PO Box 40, Howes Cave, NY  12092.

For more information on Heartworm Disease and how to prevent it, please go to

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First Friday Fun in Cherry Valley

CHERRY VALLEY - It may be the dead of winter but that does not mean that you can't have fun.

Cherry Valley was hopping with extra special First Friday fun last week as it was Groundhog's Day at First Friday in Cherry Valley.

The evening started at 5pm. Events included:

* First Friday Open Mic at The Telegraph School.

* First Friday: Gifts of Wildflowers at 25 Main Collective.

* Doomsday Mechanics & Ferriday at the Red Shed Ale House.

* Weathertop Farmacy offered tastings of their shrubs and switchels and delicious food was the fare at the Tryon Inn Backdoor Bar and the Triangle Tavern.

The Weathertop Farmacy (new location) and the Pink Squirrel were also open.

Participating in the Open Mic night at the Telegraph School were: George Friend reading poetry, Zola and Angelica Palmer singing and drumming, and Home Visitor playing the guitar and singing.

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Gardening as You Age Discussion

COBLESKILL — Gardening is enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s a wonderful activity to plant something, nurture it, and watch it grow. But as we age, maybe lugging around a wheel barrow full of soil or digging new garden beds isn’t quite as easy as it used to be. Pruning sheers become harder to use, and gosh, it’s hard to stand up after weeding on your hands and knees!

On February 17, 2024 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, join Schoharie Master Gardeners for a discussion about gardening as you age. Learn and share some tips and tricks for working smarter, not harder to preserve longevity in the garden. Master Gardeners will share ideas and resources to help you plan for the coming years. The discussion will be held in person at the CCE Schoharie Extension Center at 173 South Grand Street, Suite 1, Cobleskill, NY and via zoom.

Please register by Wednesday, February 14, 2024 by visiting or by calling 607-547-2536 ext. 235. This program is free and open to the public!

For more information about Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego County’s community programs and events, go to or call 518-234-4303 ext 129.  Stay connected to CCE Master Gardeners’ daily postings at  and follow CCE Schoharie and Otsego on Facebook at

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Project Search Builds Upon Success with SUNY Cobleskill

COBLESKILL – The Arc Lexington and SUNY Cobleskill are proud to announce that Project Search, an internationally renowned program that prepares people with disabilities in securing integrated, competitive employment has successfully launched with the SUNY Cobleskill campus as a host site for the 2023-2024 academic year. Now, with new funding through the Mohawk Valley’s $10 million award through New York State’s Regional Economic Development Council Challenge Competition, The Arc Lexington and SUNY Cobleskill plan to upscale the program to other higher education institutions and industry partners.

During a joint press conference held on Wednesday, Lexington and SUNY Cobleskill officials provided an overview and tour of the program, which currently offers seven students with supportive training and career exploration through internships in various departments including Athletics, Facilities Management, Dining Services, Mailroom, and the College Store. The students are also a part of The Arc Lexington’s Transitions program, a post-secondary program that supports teens and young adults with autism and learning differences, which is also provided on the Cobleskill campus.

“It is remarkable to see the change that has come over the students who are participating. In one internship through Project Search, our students are showing confidence in skills that they previously struggled or had no known experience with. It is exciting to see how much they look forward to the future,” said Shaloni Winston, CEO of The Arc Lexington. “This is a testament to how a successful partnership and innovative thinking can provide opportunities for any student of any ability. Employment is the next step for any college student and Project Search is bridging the gap between education and employment with these internships. We look forward to future discussions on how we can bring this program to so many more.”

“Project SEARCH embodies SUNY Cobleskill’s and the Arc Lexington’s shared commitment to inclusive learning and community partnership,” said Dr. Marion Terenzio, President of SUNY Cobleskill. “We are proud to collaborate with The Arc Lexington on such a transformative program, enriching our campus workforce, the lives of our interns and their mentors, and the experience of our campus members who come in contact with these interns on a daily basis. Their talent and eagerness to learn and contribute demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion in our educational environment. Our community is made better through Project SEARCH, and we welcome new opportunities to expand this program in future semesters.”

For interns Cameron Ferris and Raymond Hillhouse, Project Search was an opportunity to gain valuable job skills that could be used in their future careers. During his first internship that started in October, Ferris worked at Champlin Dining Hall, where he said he has gained skills in time management, food preparation and sanitization, and socializing with his co-workers. Ferris’ second internship is in the College Book Store.

“When I finish Project Search, I plan on getting a job where I will use the skills I’m learning now. I haven’t decided on a final job goal yet, but thanks to Project Search I’m able to explore different career areas to help me learn what jobs I will be interested in at the end of the program,” he said.

Hillhouse, who began his internship with the Athletics Department, said he was able to not only complete the tasks given to him but he also created a labeling system for the athletic equipment and a digital inventory.  His next internship is with the Facilities Management department.

“The internship is not only helping me improve my skills when it comes to organization and technology, but it’s also helping me feel more comfortable interacting with new people. My supervisor has spent time teaching me about professionalism in the workplace and I feel more confident in this area now,” Hillhouse said. “After Project Search I will be moving to the Transitions campus in Albany and my goal is to get a full-time job in Albany. My ultimate goal is to work at a news station.”

Project Search has assisted 10,000 participants nationwide over the past five years with a 92 percent completion rate and 75 percent job placement rate. While SUNY Cobleskill has acted as the initial host site for the program in the immediate area, opportunities to expand the program to neighboring colleges throughout the region are now being explored.

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Seed Starting Workshop for Beginners and Novice with Cornell Cooperative Extension

COOPERSTOWN — Have you ever wanted to learn how to grow your plants from seed? Starting your seeds inside allows gardeners to grow plant variety not found in garden centers, and can also save you money! On Saturday, March 2, 2024, from 10 a.m. to noon, Master Gardener Volunteers Kim L’Heureux and Carol Phelps will teach “Seed Starting for Beginners and Novices” at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, 123 Lake Street in Cooperstown.

Participants will learn what supplies you’ll need to get started, and how to grow seedlings at home with less stress. Following the March 2 workshop, Master Gardeners have scheduled a series of “troubleshooting” office hours from March to May to help guide participants to success.

Space is limited! Please register by Wednesday, February 28, 2024, by visiting or by calling 607-547-2536 ext. 235.  A $5 donation is suggested to cover materials.  For more information about Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie and Otsego County’s community programs and events, go to or call 607-547-2536 x 235. 

Stay connected to CCE Master Gardeners’ daily postings at  and follow CCE Schoharie and Otsego on Facebook at

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Sharon Springs School Update

By Tori Edwards 

SHARON SPRINGS — The students at Sharon Springs Central School are gearing up for the third quarter. 

The Future Business Leaders of America Students will be holding their Italian Night Dinner/Cake Raffle on Thursday, February 15th from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Come support the FBLA on the 15th to contribute to their fundraiser for The State Leadership Conference in Rochester. 

Congratulations to SSCS sophomore Yasmin Issa for winning the George S. and Stella M. Knight Essay Contest among all high school students in New York State. The essay has the students author an 800 to 1,200-word essay on the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, or the framing of the United States Constitution. It is judged upon accuracy, clarity, organization, grammar, spelling, and documentation. 

Her essay is being sent to The National Sons of the American Revolution Contest to be considered for national honors. Job well done to Ms. Issa. 

To follow on recognition, SSCS has published their students Honor and Merit Rolls for the second quarter of the school year, go check it out on the Sharon Springs Central School Facebook page. 

Congratulations to those students on their success in this quarter. Keep up the hard work and Let’s Go Spartans! 

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“Sharon Things - Local Happenings for Sharon Springs”

By Alexis Pencar

Hey Neighbors!

It was nice to see the sun this past week! It's been a welcome relief from all the dreary short days this time of year provides. We're more than halfway through the Winter so keep your head up! The Spring Equinox is March 19th, 2024.

Expect warmer temperatures into the 50s with rain over the weekend. There is the potential of snow on Tuesday afternoon and lows will be back into the teens by the end of next week.

Cherry Valley Market in Cherry Valley has reopened from their Winter break. Their Winter hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. Stop by for delicious coffee, lunch options, and/or any of the curated grocery supplies! Don't forget, they also carry an extensive selection of wine and beer. 

The Village of Sharon Springs will hold their regularly scheduled Board Meeting on Thursday, February 15th at 6:00 pm. The meetings are on the third Thursday of the month.

Happy Birthday to me this Friday, February 9th! :)

Sharon Springs Rescue Squad

The Sharon Springs Rescue Squad is a cornerstone of the community! With many active members, they are always looking for new volunteers for Drivers, First Responders, Social Members, and EMTs. SSRS will fund any training that is needed. SSRS meets the first Monday of the month at 7 PM and would be happy to answer any questions on how to support your community. 

The American Legion 

The American Legion Post 1269 of Sharon Springs is looking for new members! If you are interested in becoming an American Legion member, volunteering, or even donating to the many wonderful causes the Legion supports, please contact Commander Paul Todd at (518) 649-0024 for more information.

Sharon Springs Free Library

Book Discussion is Friday February 16th at 6:00 PM. Remember that your library is available online, visit for more information.

Mrs. Fralick offers storytime for children on Thursday's at 10:00 am every week and includes a story or two, a craft, and a snack.

Winter Hours are: Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays from 1:00 - 6:00 PM, Mondays & Thursdays from 10:00 - 6:00 PM, Saturdays 10:00 -1:00 PM, and Sundays - Closed. 

For more Library information please contact (518) 284-3126.

Worship Services

The Sharon Reformed Church (6858 State Route 10, Sharon Springs, NY 13459) offers weekly service at 10:30 am. Contact at (518) 234-2387 for more details.

The Sharon Springs United Methodist Church (511 State Route 20, Sharon Springs, NY, 13459) offers weekly service at 10:30 am. Contact at (518) 284-2200 for more details.

The St. Thomas The Apostle Catholic Church (24 Maple Avenue, Cherry Valley, NY 13320) offers weekly mass at 10:00 am. Reminder: confession is available 30 minutes before every mass. Contact at (607) 264-3779 for more details.

The Zion St. John’s Lutheran Church Seward (114 Mesick Ave, Cobleskill, NY 12043) offers weekly service on Sundays at 9:00 am. Contact at (518) 234-3222 for more details.

Cornerstone Baptist Church (7274 Route 10, Ames, NY 13317). Sunday Service is at 10:00 am. All are welcome. Contact (518) 673 3405 for more details.

Food Pantry

The Sharon Springs Food Pantry is an excellent local resource for all! They are located in the United Methodist Church on Route 20, across from the school (511 US Route 20, Sharon’s Springs, NY 13459).

They are always accepting donations! If you or someone you know is in need of the Pantry, the hours are Thursday 9:00 am -10:30 am and 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm. For more information please contact (518) 284-2687 or follow them on Facebook.

Sharon Sr. Congregate Meal Site

Local residents are invited to enjoy good company and a noon-time meal year round (except holidays) at the Schoharie County OFA’s “Spa Ritz” Sr. Congregate Meal Site at the Firehouse at 137 Beechwood Rd. M-W-F. 8 oz of 1% milk is served with each meal. Orders for meals must be called into the OFA office at (518) 295-2001 before 2 p.m. for the following day. Effective January 1st the suggested donation for those 60 years old and older is $5.00 per meal. Under age 60? You’re welcome to participate for a fee of $7.50 per meal.

To share community news, upcoming events, business specials, adjusted hours, birthdays, anniversaries, or even an outstanding resident, please contact me directly at (772) 971-1410 or Have a great week! Thanks!

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Local Business Focus - Stowell Construction LLC

By Tori Edwards 

CHERRY VALLEY — James Stowell, the owner and operator of Stowell Construction LLC has been serving residential and commercial customers in Cherry Valley and the surrounding areas for over 20 years. 

James and his trusted experts are committed and experienced in new home construction, roofing, siding, window and door installation, home renovations, additions, decks, and masonry. 

His mission is to provide quality work with exceptional customer service to ensure the highest level of professionalism. He takes pride in every home project. 

Contact Stowell Construction LLC today at (518) 775-9087 or online at their website Stowell Construction LLC. They also can be reached through their Facebook page Stowell Construction LLC. 

Let him bring your dream home to life! James and his crew will be there for all your construction needs! 

Call them TODAY to schedule a FREE consultation and estimate for an experience of exceptional services with a friendly, yet professional approach. Your dream home is waiting to be transformed into complete perfection! Call James Stowell today! 

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The SUNY Cobleskill women’s basketball team posted three victories during the week to run their current winning streak to 11 games,improving their overall record to 21-1 including a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Western Division leading 10-0 record. The 21 victories are the most by a Fighting Tiger basketball team at the NCAA level of competition and the first 20-win season is the 2007-08 campaign when Cobleskill was competing at the junior college level and went 25-5 overall. Junior forward Cara Walker, Phelps, N.Y., Midlakes High School, led the team averaging 22.0 points, 10.5 points, 5.5 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.0 blocked shots on 16-of-25, 64.0%, from the field while connecting on 12-of-18 free throw attempts, 66.7%.

The Fighting Tiger men’s basketball moved into second place in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Western Division standings after posting a 65-59 come-from-behind road victory over the host Wildcats of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Marcy, N.Y. on Tuesday to improve to 14-8 overall including a 9-2 record in league action. Sophomore guard Kobe Long, Rochester, N.Y., McQuaid Jesuit High School, led the team’s comeback effort scoring a game high of 29 points to go with three rebounds, two blocked shots and an assist connecting on 10-of-16 shots from the field including 5-of-7 from three-range while converting on all four of his free throw attempts.

The women’s indoor track & field team posted a team total of 13.5 points to place 11th overall in a 19-team field at the 2024 Utica Pioneer Fast Trax Invitational hosted by Utica College in Utica, N.Y., on Saturday. The Fighting Tigers were led by first-year sprinter Julia Aiello, Carmel, N.Y., Carmel High School, who established a new program record in the 60-Meter Dash with a time of 8.32 seconds while placing sixth overall in the 400-Meter Dash in a time of 1:02.67.

Fighting Tiger senior distance runner Nick Logan, Queensbury, N.Y., Queensbury High School, was the men’s indoor track & field team’s top performer at the 2024 Utica Pioneer Fast Trax Invitational hosted by Utica College in Utica, N.Y., on Saturday with a second place finish in the Mile-Run with an All-Atlantic Region Track & Field Conference (AARTFC) qualifying time of 4:20.44. Led by Logan the team posted a score of 18 points to place tied for 12th overall in a field of 20 teams.  


Men’s Basketball vs. SUNY Delhi 2/9, Eastern Nazarene University 2/10

Women’s Basketball vs. Eastern Nazarene University 2/10

Baseball vs. SUNY Canton 4/5 & 4/6, SUNY Oneonta 4/10, Eastern Nazarene 4/12

Softball vs. VTSU-Castleton 4/2, MCLA 4/9, SUNY Poly 4/16 & 4/17

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Tree & Small Fruit Pruning Workshop

COOPERSTOWN — Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties (CCESO) will host a Tree & Small Fruit Pruning workshop on Saturday, March 9, 2024, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Middlefield Orchard, 2274 NY-166, Cooperstown, NY.

Pruning done well is critical for healthy and successful orchard trees and fruiting bushes. Learn about the ins and outs of proper pruning by joining Laura McDermott, Team Leader and Small Fruit/Vegetable Specialist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Team. This program is open to gardeners and farmers alike and will cover techniques for effective pruning, information on climate-appropriate variety selection, and pointers on disease and pest management. Laura brings years of experience leading small fruit outreach efforts, serving as a liaison with grower organizations, and regularly participating in applied research and demonstration activities.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Registration will be accepted until the workshop is fully enrolled or until March 7th. The cost to attend is $10 per person. In addition to registering online via the link below, the program registration fee, in the form of cash or checks made payable to “CCE Schoharie-Otsego” must be received by either CCESO office to secure a spot by March 7th. Payment can be mailed or dropped off at 173 South Grand St, Suite 1, Cobleskill, NY 12043, or 123 Lake St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

If the class is fully enrolled, spots not secured with payment by March 7th may be offered to people on the waitlist, and walk-in registration may be accepted as space permits. Register online at or by calling 518-234-4303 x119 or 607-547-2536 x226.

The workshop will be held in the orchard and participants should dress for forecasted conditions and wear suitable footwear. Participants are welcome to bring personal pruning tools.

In the event of adverse conditions, an online presentation will be offered at no charge. Registered participants will be contacted about weather-related updates, which will also be posted on and

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Veteran Events for February

Check out the February schedule of events provided by the Schoharie County Veterans’ Service Agency! This group is operated by Peer-to-Peer Veteran Advocate Kris Hofeller. Kris goes above and beyond in this position and attends nearly every event!

February Schedule:

Every Thursday from 4-6 - SUNY Cobleskill’s Veterans Equine Program on Campus (medical form needed to RIDE)

FEB 3 - Family Ice Fishing Derby Vlei Pond (Ice Permitting)

FEB 5-7 - Alliance 180 Equine experience 

FEB 9-11 - Homeward Bound Adirondacks Irondequoit Retreat

FEB 14  0930 - Veterans Breakfast at Cobleskill Diner

FEB 14 1900 - Ridgerunners of Middleburgh at Pasta Grille

FEB 15 1000 - Conesville Country Store Veterans Breakfast

FEB 17 8-2 - Richmondville Fish & Game Youth Ice Fishing Derby Fancher Pond

FEB 21 1200 - Veteran Lunch at the Gathering Place Cobleskill

FEB 23-25 - Homeward Bound Adirondacks Irondequoit Retreat

FEB 26-28 - Alliance 180 Equine Experience

FOR SUNY Equine contact Carolyn @ (518) 225-5900

FOR Alliance 180 Equine Experience contact Bob @ (518) 744-3600

FOR The Gathering Place Luncheon contact Liz @ (518) 823-4338

FOR HOMEWARD BOUND Adirondacks contact James @ (518) 719-6955 

FOR Ridgerunners of Middleburgh Club contact Doug @ (518) 231-0970

FOR Richmondville Fish & Game contact Emmett @ (518) 657-9067

For any questions, please contact Kris Hofeller for more information. The Veterans’ Service Agency Office is located at 284 Main Street 3rd Floor Schoharie, NY 12157. Call Kris at (518) 295-8360, Cell at (518) 929-2832, or email

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Success for Winter Carnival

By Alexis Pencar

COOPERSTOWN — The Cooperstown Winter Carnival had great success this past Thursday, February 1st through the 4th! There were tons of things to do all around town and the community really came together to make it happen!

Though there was no snow for this 56th Annual Cooperstown Winter Carnival, organizers had a plan and made sure everyone had a blast all the same!

The festivities started on Thursday evening, February 1st, with a packed kick-off event at The Otesaga Hotel & Resort and ran through Sunday, February 4th. There were activities, events, live music, competitions, sales, fundraisers, and so much more all over.

This year was different from all the rest with the first-ever Blizzard Bash to wrap up the event on Sunday afternoon, February 4th. This was a tailgate party in the Double Day Field Parking lot with face painting, a pie eating contest, bounce house, DJ Raphael, and of course the Brewery Ommegang’s food truck. There was also a unique and mesmerizing Tesla Car Light Show too!!

The 56th Winter Carnival was sponsored by the Lions Club of Cooperstown, Bassett Healthcare Network, Leatherstocking Credit Union, and Optum. The festival was made possible by the Winter Carnival Committee and all the additional sponsors and volunteers.

For more information and updates for next year, visit their Facebook page at Cooperstown Winter Carnival or

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