My Fair Willy

36th Annual Willy Street Fair prepares to make us happy to be neighbors

Courtesy: David Michael Miller

Have you got time for one last summer festival? The Willy Street Fair will straddle the Autumnal Equinox this year with sunny and 65 predicted for Saturday September 21 and Sunday September 22, the first day of fall.

The fair is a major fundraiser for Common Wealth Development and the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center. Common Wealth Development and the neighborhood at large have gotten pretty good at putting on this event. The food and retail vendors are more numerous, the music stages highly coordinated and more spophisticated, but the inclusive soul of the neighborhood still shines through.

Maybe its just me who has noticed this but, now fair Saturday is named as “The Willy St. Warm-up” and the actual fair is Sunday. Don’t be confused by these marketing semantics, there will be music, fun, dancing, and food each day, all day.

Saturday features Willy Street Beats, the electronic music festival within the fair. It features local and international DJs including Fred Everything who will also play later at the Plan B Afterparty. More info here: http://ow.ly/p0rPv

Saturday at the fair is from 1:30 to 9 p.m on the 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson. Music will emanate from three stages: the World Music Stage, the Folk Stage and the DJ Stage.

Sunday is the traditional day at the fair, since it started as a one-day event. The fair will stretch from the 800 to 1000 blocks of Willy Street for a fall-tastic eight hours beginning at 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Over 150 vendors will have food, beer, soft drinks, art and other wares all weekend long. Keep your eyes open for one of the best parts of the fair; impromptu street performers including fire-eaters, jugglers, musicians, and feats of strength.

Something wicked this way comes

On Sunday, come early to get a spot for the world famous Willy Street Fair Parade launching at 11 a.m. for its six block circuit through the neighborhood. Your perception of what is a parade will be turned on its veritable clown ear as you behold the phalanx of fun as it winds its way through our little bohemian bastion.

 

Prepare to witness a glorious unabashed spectacle; a kaleidoscope of culture, creativity, imagination, and the purest expression of neighborhood joy. The best part is anyone can be in the parade…find out how right here.

Its all about the kids, really. After the parade the bubble rings will be out all afternoon.

Its all about the kids, really. After the parade the bubble rings will be out all afternoon.

All the great features you will receive on Saturday are doubled on Sunday. Now there will be five music stages with both local, regional, and international acts available to assist with your rhythmic hip, knee, arm and smile exercises. View the performance schedule here

Both days feature the Willy Street Fair Raffle with eight Grand Prizes and over 150 additional prizes. All proceeds will fund Commonwealth Development and the Wil-Mar Center programming. You don’t have to be present to win, but why would you leave? See the list of available prizes here.

Crowdsource Journalism

The Willy Street Blog needs a solid since upper management has been victimized by ye olde employment schedule. Send us your photos of the fair so we can build and display this year’s archive and share the fun with everyone. Email your photos to editor@WillyStreetBlog.com or tweet photos to @WillyStreetBlog using hashtag #WSF2013

 

See all the fun from last Willy Street Fair 2012:

Willy Street Fair 2012 - Sunday

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After the parade, the bubble hoops and trays are given over to anyone who wants to create bubble art.
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The Black Star Drumline kicked off the Sunday performances on the Main Stage.
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The Madgadders Bassists looks great, plays great.
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Reflections on a great Willy Street Fair.
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A panoramic view as the sun sets on the Willy Street Fair.
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The Folk Stage was a popular venue.
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Antonio Testolin demonstrates Argentine Tango.
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The Underground Stage.
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Madison Mayor Paul Soglin takes in the Willy Street Fair.
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The end of a long day.
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Willy Street Fair fashions are an unofficial part of the yearly tradition.
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6th District Alder Marsha Rummel
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The Madgadders perform at the Kid's Stage.
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Willy Street Fair fashions are an unofficial part of the yearly tradition.
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A family relaxes in Willy Street Park.
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The Folk Stage was a popular venue.
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San Francisco's Lyrics Born brings the Fair to a close in raucous and exuberant fashion.
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The crowd at the Main Stage dance and shout to Lyrics Born.

 

Willy Street Fair 2012 - Parade

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The stiltwalkers prepare to march in the Willy Street Fair Parade.
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The Forward Marching Band warms up.
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Bubbleman Jim Wildeman is ready to lead the parade.
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Free mammograms!
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Ground Zero Coffee proprietor Lindsey Lee (Center) pulls the Ground Zero float while "The Nation" columnist John Nichols (behind right) helps out.
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RP Pasta's float is always a creative one.
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A truck full of drummers provided an infectious beat throughout the parade.
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The street erupts in dance, as drummers swing their sticks around, the stiltwalkers twirl, and people all around dance to the beat.
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The party continues in place in the middle of Willy Street after the parade ends.
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Jim Wildeman applauds the end of a fantastic parade.

 

 

Willy Street Fair 2012 - Saturday

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As the sun sets the crowd sways to the music of St. Lucia-based Taj Weekes. Photo by: Thomas Balistreri
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9:30 a.m., the first signs of the Willy Street Fair coming to life.
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Ready to serve the fairgoers.
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The Main Stage Starts to take shape.
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Looking west around 1:30 p.m. the street is already filled with people enjoying the late summer sun.
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On Saturday the Fair only used half of the 1000 block of Willy Street.
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A young child can't wait for her balloon.
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Graffiti artists were invited to paint a temporary permission wall. They say the hardest part is picking the colors.
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The finished product
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Bacon!
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Beer sales are popular, and a major part of the fundraising that goes on during the Fair.
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A B-Boy breakdancing demonstration.
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Willy Street Beats was an afternoon of Electronic music, breakdancing, scratching, and Ableton workships, followed by two crazy sets by Nick Nice and John Aquaviva at Plan B later in the evening.
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A independent hand drum player beats along to the beats.
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Also part of Willy Street Beats in was a skateboarding demonstration in the parking lot of the Third Lake Ridge shopping center.
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Vasilli's Take Five was serving up Gyros and other Greek delights at a furious pace.
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Fat Pinky Glass shows how it makes its blown-glass art.
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Don't miss the Willy Street Fair Raffle. 150 prizes!
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New York's Matuto plays "Brazillian Blue Grass".<br />
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Willy Street Fashions.
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Willy Street Fashions.
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Capoeria dances along to Matuto.
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A Pig in a Fur Coat, a new restaurant on the 900 block of Willy, does a brisk business in Porkbelly BLTs.<br />
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A Green Party Candidate stumps for votes.

 

Retro Willy Street Fair

[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/retro-willy-street-fair/thumbs/thumbs_wsf1.jpg]18370The Willy Street Fair Parade, circa 1985. An earlier incarnation of the Jim Wildeman's Bubblemobile still retains the iconic bubble smokestacks. The author is pedaling furiously in the homemade pedal car. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot.
The Willy Street Fair Parade, circa 1985. An earlier incarnation of the Jim Wildeman's Bubblemobile still retains the iconic bubble smokestacks. The author is pedaling furiously in the homemade pedal car. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot.
[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/retro-willy-street-fair/thumbs/thumbs_wsf2.jpg]1380The Willy Street Fair Fun Run came and went over the years. Richard Guyot (left) and his daughter Samira finish strong in 1985. Courtesy: Fareed Guyot
The Willy Street Fair Fun Run came and went over the years. Richard Guyot (left) and his daughter Samira finish strong in 1985. Courtesy: Fareed Guyot
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The parade is full of imaginative vehicles. This, the world's longest recumbent bicycle was created by Richard Guyot. The front wheels and chasis came from a riding mower. Courtesy: Richard Guyot
[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/retro-willy-street-fair/thumbs/thumbs_wsf4.jpg]1270Everyone gets to ride in the parade. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot
Everyone gets to ride in the parade. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot
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[img src=http://willystreetblog.com/wp/wp-content/flagallery/retro-willy-street-fair/thumbs/thumbs_wsf6.jpg]930Getting ready for the Willy Street Fair Fun Run in 1985. Courtesy: Richard Guyot
Getting ready for the Willy Street Fair Fun Run in 1985. Courtesy: Richard Guyot

 

Related: See what happened on Saturday (9/15/2012) at the Fair

Related: See what happened on Sunday (9/16/2102) at the Fair

Related: A look back at how the Willy Street Fair used to be

 

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One thought on “My Fair Willy

  1. The Saturday Willy Street Warm-Up has been around since at least 2004.

    We are trying to emphasize the two-block, three stage “Willy St. Warm-Up” on Saturday to let everyone know that Sunday is the main day for the Fair. Sunday’s celebration is three blocks long with five performance stages.

    Please feel free to contact Common Wealth Development at (608) 256-3527, x22 for more information, or visit our website at http://www.cwd.org/community/events/willy-street-fair/.

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