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OONA to host concerts and continue community betterment

Posted 21 June 2014 at 12:00 am

Fire photo by Tom Rivers – The band Blind Leading the Blind performs at the Orleans County Marine Park last July to kick off the “Summer Concert Series in the Park.” The series will be back beginning July 8.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

POINT BREEZE – The Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association in Point Breeze is working hard to promote the Oak Orchard area through a concert series and other community projects.

OONA will once again present the Summer Concert Series in the Park on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. from July 8 through August 19. Those concerts will be at the Oak Orchard Marine Park on Rt. 98.

The lineup for the concert series is as follows:

July 8: The Who Dats (classic rock, pop)
July 15: Acoustically Sound (acoustic rock)
July 22: Julie Dunlap & High Maintenance (contemporary country)
July 29: The Dave Viterna Group (blues)
August 5: The Blind Leading the Blind (contemporary rock)
August 12: Jive Street Five (classic golden age, rat pack)
August 19: The Sophisticats (swing, jazz, blues)

On average, each band draws between 200 and 325 people depending on the band’s fan base and the weather. OONA has between 20 and 24 of its members serve as volunteers to help run the event.

OONA receives their funding through business sponsors, admission charges, their 50/50 raffle and membership fees. They also receive a subsidy from the county tourism board to help pay for advertising for the event. This year they have 30 business sponsors. Their membership includes about 100 families totaling to approximately 150 total members. They also have a coupon book that businesses can purchase a space in.

The bands are chosen through a committee of OONA members. About half of the bands this year are new to the series and the other half were so popular they are returning for another concert.
The admission is $2 per person or $5 per family. The Clarendon Lions Club will return this year as vendors to raise money for their organization by selling food and drinks.

“The Lions are a community support. It’s a big fundraiser for them,” said Frank Panczyszyn, the Environmental and Conservation Committee chairwoman.

“We’re happy to have them back,” said Jeanne Lauta, Communications Director.

Photo by Sue Cook – OONA takes interest in the community. They are working to make it a great place to live and visit.

Besides the concert events, OONA works toward improving the community and helping to bring a sense of pride about the Oak Orchard area to the county.

OONA is a member of the Adopt-A-Highway program along Route 98. They are also part of a Neighborhood Watch program. They have helped to recover lost dogs and protect property. During the recent storm, they checked on neighbors and made sure people were safe.

They are also working with Albion to make two walking trails through Volkssport, an international walking organization. One trail would go through Albion, the other would involve the lighthouse in Point Breeze and would focus on points of interest and exercise.

OONA also uses some of its funding toward charity. They have made donations to the Carlton Fire Department, the county nursing home and COVA.

“There’s some circumstances where we donated directly to people in need and their families,” said Panczyszyn.

OONA makes an effort to educate the community and work with officials about issues such as lake levels, dredging, and advocating for better conditions for bridges, roads and the Parkway. The group sends a representative from their organization to town meetings with the interest of property owners and businesses in mind.

“We wanted to make it a social organization as well as community support,” said Communications Director Tracy Panczyszyn. “We’re always looking for more volunteers and ideas of things we can do to get more people involved.”

“We want people to help this grow more. It’s their community,” said Lauta.

Members also have special benefits that are not available to the public. This weekend, OONA members are having an invite-only party at a private residence along the lakeshore. To welcome summer, they will be releasing Chinese lanterns tonight over the lake.

OONA wants for more people from the area who love the lakeshore and Point Breeze to become members and support the community. Even visitors who live outside the area may join. For more information about OONA, visit their website http://www.oakorchard.org/.