It was a cloudy start to Sunday but even Mother Nature sensed today was special and the sun emerged as the Willy Street Fair Parade prepared to launch. As it circled through the nine block route in the Marquette neighborhood, the phalanx of fun proved to be one of the largest by way of participants.
Three marching bands at the beginning, middle and end, punctuated appearances by the familiar: stilt walkers, Hoopelation, the circus wheel and the Forward Marching Band; along with new entrants like the Madison Circus Space and the Mustache Beard Wearers Union: Local 608.
Down on Willy Street the thoroughfare filled quickly as temperatures in the middle 60s and possibly a late-afternoon Green Bay Packer kickoff brought people out early. Over 150 vendors filled the curb spaces and the larger presence was notable. The food offerings were diverse and plentiful but the retail booths did not break much new ground.
37th Annual Willy Street Fair to give us one last great summer weekend
Poster by: David Micheal Miller
The final festival of the summer is here and just in time as fall stares at us all from off stage. The Willy Street Fair (September 13-14) is this weekend, heralding the end of a great season of celebrations within the neighborhood.
For 37 years we have gathered along several blocks of Williamson to recognize many things; but mostly the spirit of neighborhood togetherness, action and culture. While the event is a fundraiser for both Common Wealth Development and the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, organizer Gary Kallas says the community aspect of the fair has always come first.
“It’s more about community building, it’s more about bringing people together,” said Kallas who is Wil-Mar’s executive director. “I like to think of this as sort of secular spiritualism and it culminates the summer, the Willy Street Fair, with the grand, grand ceremony of em all the Parade on Sunday at 11 a.m.”
Festival ends with smooth, heavy chords and sunshine
Wendell Holmes of The Holmes Brothers gets into a jam early during their Sunday afternoon set at the 47th Orton Park Festival, August 26, 2012.
The final day of the 47th Orton Park Festival began with light drizzle but ended with sunshine and dry ground, and the smooth, heavy chords of Anders Osborne. The rain never got above mildly annoying and eventually faded to local showers under specific trees when there was a gust of wind.
As the sun rose, so did the audience in front of the main stage. Food and drink vendors did a brisk business as the neighborhood gathered one last day to enjoy a late summer party which is a fundraiser for the Marquette Neighborhood Association. Proceeds raised through the auction, cake walk, along with food and drink sales supports Wil-Mar Center programs including after school programs, food pantry, health classes, and educational programs. Continue reading →