Rebuttal: Doing things the right way at Caroga Lake
It is indeed a very big undertaking to create a music and arts festival anywhere, especially if memories of “the way it used to be” abound.
Is there a right way to get started? What should come first? The festival or the supporting services?
The design and vision for a series of programs and concerts is complicated. The ultimate hoped-for outcome is to see seats that are filled, an increasingly large audience, enthusiastic cheering after performances, and recognition of success within the nearby and larger community. The Caroga Lake Music Festival has consistently accomplished all of the above, and has been recognized for its tourism contributions by the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth (2018) and the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce (this year). This is an outstanding vote of confidence and it is an important indication that Caroga Arts will have a strong future.
It makes no sense to me for the Caroga Arts Collective to have proceeded with construction of residential, dining and practice facilities at MyHil before “testing the waters,” and gaining a following. In the meantime, a real test of community interest and support grew along with the size of the festival and the number of fabulous musicians agreeing to be part of it. Yes, I was involved in the original idea to seek volunteers to prepare and drop off meals for the weekly group of musicians wherever they have a gathering spot. I have been the meal coordinator for several years.
I volunteered to do this.
Every year, more folks join with friends or family, or even strangers, to team up and make a lunch or dinner, sharing the time, effort and expense. People who live on every lake around Caroga, as well as Johnstown and Gloversville, have chosen to become involved in the festival in the most basic of ways: Sharing a meal (or an extra bedroom), while gaining new friends, finding a way to be part of the excitement. I cherish this opportunity, and so do others.
When MyHil lights up the night with activity and overnight guests once again, people like me will sigh and remember the good times when the grass-roots efforts of the volunteers at Caroga Lake joined together to help change history and allow this community to thrive.
Howes Cave, Schoharie County