Overview & Fact Sheet




DATES:  Thursday, July 25 – Sunday, July 28, 2013

LOCATION:  Along the shores of Eastern Lake Ontario in Oswego, NY

ANNUAL ATTENDANCE (2001-2012):  150,000 to 200,000 people annually


WELCOME TO HARBORFEST!  From opening to closing, there’s something for you to enjoy!

  • 5 stages provide nearly continuous entertainment for every musical taste from national level to local acts
  • Children’s Parade and Children’s Stage & Activity Area with workshops, puppets, music, magic & more
  • Dedicated Children’s/Family Park at Franklin Square
  • Waterfront Activites showcasing Oswego’s beautiful waterways
  • Salute to Seniors Concert & dancing
  • Unique artisans at the Juried Arts & Crafts area
  • Commercial vendors and Harborfest souvenirs available in most venues
  • Pride of New York Farmer’s Market provides wine and agricultural product sampling in Breitbeck Park
  • Over 60 festival food vendors at all Harborfest venues
  • Harborfest Midway-games & rides in a traditional midway setting
  • Saturday night Fireworks Spectacular-the only world-class fireworks exhibition in Central New York
  • Many site sponsor attractions and sampling opportunities



  • 61% of visitors are from outside Oswego County, 83% of whom agreed Harborfest was a strong influence to visit
  • Visitor spending supports 637 local jobs
  • $32 million overall economic benefit
  • Over 77% of respondents visited Harborfest previously
  • Out of the 150-200,000 people attending Harborfest “Almost 6 out of 10 (57%) of respondents live within one hour drive of Oswego, and 2 out of 10 (21%) lived between 1 and 3 hours of Oswego. The 3 hour drive time covers most of upstate, central, western and northern New York
  • Harborfest Consumer Demographics and Market Analysis; Cornell University Program on Applied Demographics, October 2005
  • Harborfest ’99 Economic Impact on Oswego County; TAC-SUNY Plattsburgh State University of New York, March 2000



  • International Festival and Events Association– Ten “Pinnacle” awards and Marcus Photography-2004
  • Golden Pinnacle Award for Oswego Harborfest Fireworks photo
  • New York Festival and Events Association
  • Seaway Trail, Inc.
  • Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council
  • Greater Oswego/Fulton Chamber of Commerce
  • Syracuse New Times Reader Poll – Best Local Fireworks–2007
  • WSTM-TV3– Voted Best Festival in Central New York
  • Oswego County Press Club– Golden Quotes Award–2004 Festival Brochure
  • American Bus Association– Five times named “A Top 100 North American Event” including for 2010


Over $195,000 annually spent or received for in-kind promotion in combined television, radio, and print advertising. Please contact the Harborfest office at 315-343-FREE or email sponsorship@oswegoharborfest.com for more information.


The Economic Impacts of Harborfest 2005
on the Oswego County Economy
Final Report

David Kay – Extension Associate
Cornell Local Government Program
Department of Applied Economics and Management
Cornell University, Ithaca New York

This study uses a survey of visitors to the 2005 Harborfest in Oswego, New York and related information to analyze the economic impacts on Oswego County of the Harborfest festival with the help of the IMPLAN input-output economic impact modeling software. In total, the combined overall economic impact of Harborfest visitor spending on the Oswego County economy is estimated to include $31.7 million in additional value of output, $11.7 million in increased income to labor, and support of 636 jobs.

General Considerations
Economic impact analysis is designed to estimate the economy-wide effects of an externally driven change in the level of purchases of goods or services, where the change in purchases is typically concentrated in a single economic sector (or small group of sectors). Insofar as the ability of local businesses to produce the goods or services of this sector depends on labor, material, or other inputs that are also local, a change in the level of demand for the one local product will have implications for many other local businesses. Festival purchases, for example, should add to the aggregate earnings and local spending of workers employed by festival related businesses, while any such businesses experiencing increased product turnover should also increase their demand for the local material and other inputs they themselves require. These kinds of spending and response effects ripple throughout the entire economy and in aggregate comprise the so-called multiplier effects.

Estimating Economic Impact
In order to estimate the economic impacts of Harborfest, we therefore need to begin with an estimate of the amount that spending in the local economy increased directly on Harborfest related enterprises. As a first step, expenditures of local and non-local residents should be distinguished. Economic impact analysts normally do not count the expenditures of local residents as a new stimulus to the local economy. This is based on the assumption that, to take the current example, any festival related spending by locals would, in the absence of the festival, have been spent on other local goods and services. Money not spent during the festival on food, for example, would likely otherwise have been spent at some point on groceries, other goods and services, or even non-festival related restaurants or food vendors. In other words, festival spending by residents represents a change in the pattern of local expenditures rather than an absolute increase in spending. Of course, in the absence of the festival some residents who visited the festival might have taken a trip or otherwise spent money out of the area. However, since we have no measure of the extent to which this might have been true, we will make the traditional simplifying assumption of excluding all Harborfest expenditures by local residents.

Estimating Harborfest Spending
To arrive at total estimates of the increased purchases of Oswego County goods and services by Harborfest visitors, the per group average expenditures need to be multiplied by the number of groups that visited the festival. According to information provided by festival organizers, approximately 275,000 visitors attended the festival. Insofar as this total very likely includes people or parties who visited the festival multiple times, this number over counts visitation for our purposes. This bias is likely to be significant. However, we have no information to quantify the extent to which this is the case. Since our survey respondents reported an average of about 3.8 festival visitors per party or group, we therefore estimate that up to approximately 72,000 groups visited Harborfest. Based on the split between in- and out-of-county visitors in our survey sample, we estimate further that 62%, or up to approximately 45,000 visitor groups, came from outside the County.

Economy-Wide Impact Results
The results of the impact analysis in terms of three important measures: effects on output, on jobs, and on labor income. The analysis indicates that in aggregate Harborfest spending leads to a stimulus of almost $23.5 million in direct demand for local goods and services that are associated with well over 500 jobs and nearly $9 million in income to labor. This direct demand stimulates additional business purchases that have an indirect effect, and it also stimulates even more induced spending by households whose income has increased. In total, the combined overall economic impact of Harborfest visitor spending on the Oswego County economy is estimated to include $31.7 million in additional value of output, $11.7 million in increased income to labor, and support of 636 jobs.

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