Willy Street Fair 2012 – Sunday

Fantastic parade kicks off great final day at the Fair

The parade ends with a impromptu street party, the Bubbleman himself, Jim Wildeman can’t help but grin.

I heard it from several people over and over again that the 2012 Willy Street Fair was probably the best in a long time, if not ever. The weather, enthusiasm, and proud traditions combined for a second day as thousands appeared on three blocks of Willy Street to take in music, food, entertainment, and a large amount of vendors.

Almost everyone was raving about the parade, led by the Bubblemobile, that was lively and the probably the largest ever. After the parade had made a lap through the neighborhood it was time for the stretch run down Willy and its traditional finish in the middle of the 900 block; where both parade participants and viewers danced under the balloon banner for an extended period of time.

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Willy Street Fair 2012 – Saturday

You really missed a great Saturday on Willy Street, parade today

As the sun sets the crowd sways to the music of St. Lucia-based Taj Weekes. Photo by: Thomas Balistreri

While its the people that make the Willy Street Fair so great, the weather was a close second. With a temperature near eighty degrees, thousands came to Willy Street on Saturday (September 15) for Day One of the Fair. Food, drink, and music filled the 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson Street. The Main, Folk, and Electronic stages were in action with day-long line ups.  Continue reading

Willy Street Fair is Here!

Final summer celebration is this Saturday and Sunday

The Willy Street Fair Parade, circa 1985. An earlier incarnation of Jim Wildeman’s Bubblemobile still retains the iconic bubble smokestacks. The author is pedaling furiously in a homemade pedal car. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot.

It is simply the best neighborhood festival in the City of Madison, and as far as I’m concerned the best festival ever. I’m a little biased having grown up with the Willy Street Fair (September 15-16) in my backyard, but i’m sure all will agree this weekend’s event is the best expression of what it means to live, work, and play in the Marquette neighborhood.

We have arrived at the end of a great summer for festivals in the Marquette neighborhood despite the wish for a little more rain and less heat. The weather for this weekend will be sunny and in the mid-70s which will bring throngs of people to the 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson Street.

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Orton Park Ready to Celebrate

47th Orton Fest is here despite lingering noise and crowd concerns

In 1975 the festival was known as the MNA picnic. Rented from the City was a trailer that transformed into a stage. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot

The Orton Park Festival (August 23-26) is just days away in this year of the perpetual summer. After Orton there is just one last neighborhood gathering to go, the Willy Street Fair. The Fair, The Fest, La Fete and Waterfront have been fantastic neighborhood celebrations; but may be a victim of their own successes as they have grown exponentially in popularity, and for some, threaten the beauty of the neighborhood they celebrate.

As a kid over three decades ago, the Orton Park Festival was the last event of the summer since it always seemed to fall on the Sunday before the first day of school. That would be Monday, the very next day. So it was a bittersweet time, filled with games, food, music, and my friends, but the first day of school always loomed.

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Gallery: FruitFest 2012

Fruit Fest, Madison’s LGBTQI Summer Music Festival, was held on June 16, 2012 in the parking lot of the Plan B night club in the 900 block of Williamson Street. The Marquette Neighborhood and its surroundings boast a large number of  LGBTQA residents which just adds to the fun, eclectic, and diverse pedigree of the area.

This year’s music was headlined by Cazwell, but also featured folk musicians, punk bands, DJs and of course, drag queens. The festival has grown in the recent years it has been around and now includes a 5K run called the Fruit Loop, Star Fruit Idol Karaoke contest, and the 1st Annual Summer Camp Bingo AIDS fundraiser.

FruitFest 2012

Fruit Fest is Madison's LGBTQI Summer Music Festival hosted in the Marquette Neighborhood in June. This year's event was held on June 16, 2012.