From parking to lemonade stands, Hall of Fame Weekend is big business for Cooperstown


COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - They came from all over, dressed in jerseys, t-shirts, and even some wearing capes while playing the banjo.

And with them, they brought their wallets.

That's right, it's Hall of Fame Weekend - the busiest time of year for Cooperstown. And whether it's burgers, dogs, or just excitement being served up, it's big business, as well as big bucks for Cooperstown.

"Can I help you?" asked Jack Vineyard, standing behind a grill filled with cooking hamburger patties, and the smell of onions and peppers rising into the air.

"Hamburger and a hot dog? Down there," he said, pointing a customer down a few feet to his colleagues, placing hot dogs and

Vineyard and his compatriots were grilling up food outside on Main Street to benefit the American Legion, VFW, and Sons of the American Legion. And with lines going down the block, they pretty much agreed - Hall of Fame Weekend is recession-proof.

"Yeah," Vineyard agreed. "Well, you know, we have a lot of locals that come to this. And most of the people that come here bring money."

The businesses on Main Street in Cooperstown are certainly hitting home runs over the induction weekend, but they're not the only ones. Despite a recession, even some businesses off the beaten path are seeing success, and dollar signs.

"Water a dollar, lemonade fifty cents, brownie, fifty cents," chanted Maggie Hall, 13, Kylen Smullens, 13, and Reilly Hall, 10 as they sat behind their lemonade stand along the sidewalk on Chestnut Street

This trio of young entrepreneurs are already old pros. For the past several years they've been outside on Induction Day, selling refreshments and baked goods to those who pass by. One year, they raised as much as $300, which they of course, split, three way.

"It's become tradition," said Maggie Hall. "We started with lemonade and then it just grew from there, I guess."

But while they still raked in the dough, even a lemonade stand business can get hit by rough economic times.

"The first few years we did this, we made a lot of money," said Reilly Hall. "But the past few years, we haven't."

Business was steady for the trio throughout Sunday morning, but regardless of what they made, Smullens said, they all agreed to put it into their savings.

But of course, to get to the food and refreshments, you've got to find a place to park. Something some local softball players recognized all too well.

"We're raising money for our summertime softball league," said Stephanie Hascup, as she held a sign pointing out paid parking. "We needed to raise some more money for the league we joined this Summer."

During Hall of Fame weekend, you can expect to pay ten or twenty dollars to park your car in Cooperstown. But in some cases, it's all for a good cause.

"We each had to pay to get into the league, but it wasn't enough and they didn't want to charge us more, so we're just working to get some more money."

And with plenty of spectators making their way into town, there's no better day to do it, then Induction Day.

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