Willy Street Fair is Perfect End of Summer Ritual

Dry temperate weather on tap for final festival of the season

The Willy Street Fair is this weekend, September 19-20 2015.

The Willy Street Fair is this weekend, September 19-20 2015.

It has been a fantastic summer for neighborhood celebrations in Willyland. Waterfront, La Fête de Marquette, Orton were solid as ever along with some sophomores like Yum Yum Fest and Central Park Sessions. Creating addition buzz was Africa Fest and the opening of the new Goodman Skate Park in Central Park.

Our new park on Wilson street is really coming into it’s own, but it’s appropriate to bring the fun back to Willy Street for one last weekend of summer fun, music, food and celebration of our great neighborhood.

We have had some challenges this year too. The death of Tony Robinson only a half-block from where this year’s fair will take place has highlighted the work both police our city have to do to be more inclusive to our minority communities. Yes even the open arms of the Marquette neighborhood still has some things to learn.

Our funky neighborhood is also dealing with other crime such as the terrible sexual assault last weekend on the Capitol City Trail bike path and questions of how development should proceed along this street that still has many residential buildings.

The Kid's Stage is always popular with...well the kids.

The Kid’s Stage is always popular with…well the kids.

The Willy Street Fair, started 38 years ago as part of a rallying of the neighborhood to feel better about itself and to have better control of it’s destiny.

The organizing aspect is still there in many ways as the truly entertainment aspects of the event still raise money for Common Wealth Development and Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center.

Growing up in the 1980s I would often be teased by crosstown kids because I lived in the Marquette neighborhood. Now this is THE place to live and play, which is great; but housing is still an issue as even my family, which makes a solid combined income, will likely not be able to remain here if we want to purchase a home.

For those less fortunate, affordable housing, services and more are even further out of reach. Throughout this entire time, Common Wealth and Wil-Mar have provided vital services so all types of people can enjoy our neighborhood, which is especially important since we are located so close to downtown and transitory populations.

Saturday’s highlights

Colombian EDM duo Mitu.

Colombian EDM duo Mitu.

The city’s largest block party begins Saturday with the Willy Warm-up from 2 to 9 p.m. with three music Stages. World Music is featured on the Main Stage (Plan B lot) with Moroccan, Israeli and Cuban music by Pellejo Seco as a possible welcome to our new diplomatic status with our southern neighbor.

The Folk Stage will feature two local acts including legends Lou and Peter Berryman along with North Dakota’s Josh Harty

The festival within the festival belongs to the Electronic Music Stage with five acts including Foshizzle Family and the Midwest debut of Colombian jungle techno due Mitú. Ben Silver will play both an afternoon set on the street and at an afterparty at Plan B.

The actual fair

The Blind Shake.

The Blind Shake.

The official part of the Willy Street Fair is Sunday with the grand Willy Street Fair Parade that begins at 11 a.m. in front of Plan B.

The event is free-form which means just about every traditional parade element is turned on it’s ear and modified for the tastes of the Willy Street community. It is also open to all who want to participate; pick a theme and march like you won the lottery!

Music begins on most Stages at 12 or 1 p.m. with the Kids, Culture, and Underground Stages joining the Folk and Main Stage. Moon Gypsies, Cris Plata & Extra Hot, Mamma Digdown’s Brass Band and The Mustache will grace the Main Stage until 7 p.m.

See the full music schedule here

John Jacobs, John Petty and Dana Perry begin the Folk offerings followed by Madpolecates, Blake Thomas and Samuel Llanas. The Culture Stage features familiar acts in Yid Vicious and Sadira along with Charanga Agoza and Zhong Yi Kung Fu Lion Dance.

The Undeground Stage has seven acts led by Meghan Rose & The Bones, followed later by Fringe Character and finishes with Minneapolis’ The Blind Shake.

The Willy Street Fair is always fanciful, exhilarating and intense.

The Willy Street Fair is always fanciful, exhilarating and intense.

One of the best kept secrets of the music offerings is the Kid’s Stage. Black Star Drumline leads off the mini-festival followed by the Twirlettes, Truly Remarkable Loon, Eastsde Youth Performers featuring the Marquette Elementary Show Choir, Madison Unicyclists, Drum Power and Disq.

Over 150 vendors have signed up this year which means there will be plenty of food, drink, wares as well as a few causes you might want to know more about.

The Willy Streeet Raffle holds it’s drawing at 6:30 p.m. following the last Kid’s Stage performance but you don’ have to be present to win. Also, just in time for harvest, the Great Pumpkin Weigh-off Stage in the 800 block of Williamson will be taking entrants from 11  to 5 p.m Sunday.

So come to the fair and buy some food, a drink and enter the raffle to support our neighborhood organizations who haven’t stopped caring no matter how popular our neighborhood has been over the years.

 

Willy Street Fair 2014 - Sunday

Scenes from the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.

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The Willy Street Fair balloon arch painted by the waning summer sun at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Looking West from the 900 block during the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Looking East from the 900 block during the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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An animated crowd moves to the infectious rhythms of Madisalsa at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Salsa is king as attendees dance to Madisalsa at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Madisalsa during the final performance of the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Dancers sway to day's final act, Madisalsa at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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This young man had all the moves at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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This dancer shows her Packer spirit while dancing to Madisalsa. The game was close this day and the band leader periodically announced the score to the crowd at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Madisalsa at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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One of the Madisalsa vocalists at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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A Pig in a Fur Coat Executive Chef Dan Bonanno serving sandwiches in front of his restaurant at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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A blown glass artists shows his skills in front of Fat Pinky Glass at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Over $200 prizes were awarded during the annual raffle to benefit Common Wealth Development and Wil-Mar Center at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Carnival-style street artists and performers have been the rock of this festival in its 37 years.
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Members of Take The King, a hard rock band made up of area high schoolers are the final act at the Kids Stage at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Fans of Take The King show their support at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Take The King members discuss what song to play as an encore at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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A Pig in a Fur Coat Owner Bonne Arent prepares sandwiches at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Vendor booths ran the gamut at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Peace is a long running theme at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Cupcakes!
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While few reports exist of the quality of the food, the visual of this food cart was a favorite on social media sites at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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The Underground Stage between acts at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Golpe Tierra performs on the Main Stage at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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It is the last Fair for Take Five Owner Vasilis Kallias, he plans to return to Greece in the coming months.
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The Folk Stage is always well-attended at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Own Mays performs at the Folk Stage at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Mayoral Candidate Bridget Maniaci greets potential supporters at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Members of the Hash House Harriers Running Club act as volunteer servers at a beer station at the Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.
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Residents own Willy Street always make a day of it, opening their lawns to friends and strangers.

 

Willy Street Fair 2014 - Parade

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The Bubble Mobile creates a late summer snow storm of bubbles during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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One of the better costumes during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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Creative geniuses from Sector 67 show off their inventions during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The ubiquitous talking trout kept begging for worms during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Bubble Mobile during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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It's always for the kids love a parade.
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State Representative Chris Taylor during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Mad Rollin' Dolls during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The famous Ground Zero robot float during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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By far the best costume during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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Fierce natural food advocates flailed kale about during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The men with the finest follicles during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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Parade watchers await the arrival of the marchers as they make their way down the homestretch during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The most dynamic costume goes to this wicked witch who rode about on her bicycle while cackling maniacally during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Lindberger Princesses left a pungent taste in the mouths of all who approached during the Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The Willy Street Fair Parade, September 14, 2014.
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The dancing gorilla makes an appearance during each parade, marching with Hoopelation.
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