COUDERSPORT — It wasn’t as big as wanted, but the Jamboree at the Arboretum did draw music lovers to the park here on Saturday.
Four groups performed between noon and 8 p.m. July 17 representing different styles of music, said Paul Herzig, a member of the Arboretum committee.
“The point of this was to inaugurate the new stage for the Arboretum Committee and to start the music program that will be held here,” Herzig said.
Beginning yesterday, July 21, different bands will perform on the stage from 6-8 p.m. every Wednesday, weather permitting.
Performing Saturday were Fair to Fiddlin, a folk country group; Larry & Tom, singing all genres; RSVP, with Big Band and light jazz sound; and OGRE, which stands for Old Guys Rock Ensemble, concluding the day with light rock from the 1960s and ‘70s.
The event also served another purpose, said Herzig: keeping the third Saturday in July as the time for the Eliot Ness Fest. The third annual Ness Fest was canceled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just to keep that top-of-mind, the Eliot Ness and Al Capone actors from the street theater stopped by the Jamboree, in character, to interact with the audience. Music even prompted the pair to set aside their differences to sit side-by-side and listen to Larry & Tom.
Ness Fest focuses on the career of Eliot Ness, a Prohibition agent with the federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. His team, dubbed the “Untouchables,” were reported to be incorruptible and never proven to have taken a bribe. He worked in Chicago to track down gangster Al Capone and was later safety director of Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1956, he moved to Coudersport with the company North Guaranty Paper Corp., which had developed a special watermark to prevent forgery on printed materials. He died there from a heart attack in May 1957.
The festival celebrates his life by recreating the Roaring ‘20s with period costumes, vintage vehicles and street theatre. In addition, it has speakers, authors, a parade and law enforcement presence, with representation of municipal, state and federal agencies.
The festival is scheduled to return in 2022, Herzig said.