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Regional News

Oswego County celebrates its 200th birthday over Independence Day weekend

Payne Horning
A float commemorating Oswego County's bicentennial glides through the Oswego Independence Day parade.

Oswego County celebrated its bicentennial over the Independence Day weekend. A float with historic county officials glided through the annual Oswego parade, the Oswego Stamp Club sold special historic stamps noting the bicentennial and later in the day residents gathered at the historic Fort Ontario for a picnic and presentation.

Much of the county's history is rooted in Lake Ontario, home to the first freshwater port in the country and Fort Ontario, which has been involved in all major American conflicts.

"This is where it all began," said Oswego County Legislator and Bicentennial Committee Chairman Shawn Doyle. "This is where the history of the county began as much as any place, at the Fort [Ontario]."

Dolye and other regional officials, like Assemblyman Will Barclay, say that despite some economic troubles, such as the potential closure of its two nuclear power plants, things are looking up for the county. The Fort and adjacent Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum are being considered for National Park status. And, the southeastern portion of Lake Ontario is being nominated for NOAA's national marine sanctuary program.

"We persevere in this county," Barclay said. "Things like the marine sanctuary, and hopefully thanks to congressman [John] Katko (R-Camillus), we get this to be a national historical site, I think would go along way in helping industry - particularly in the tourism industry."

The bicentennial celebration is a year-long event. Doyle said the next major ceremony will take place at the county fair in August.