Willy Street Co-op Membership Meeting Tonight

Meeting kicks off first night of La Fete de Marquette for 2nd straight year

Co-op Board President George Hoffheimer addresses the membership Thursday July 12, 2012 as other board members look-on.

Co-op Board President George Hoffheimer addresses the membership Thursday July 12, 2012 as other board members look-on.

The Willy Street Co-op will hold their annual Membership Meeting tonight (July 11) as a kick-off to La Fete de Marquette (July 11-14) at the corners of East Washington Avenue and South Dickinson Street. The Co-op, a presenting sponsor of the festival, will present a financial report of the just concluded fiscal year as well as candidates for the Board of Directors which will be voted-on in August.

Of interest this year is a $2 Million remodel of the Willy East location which members approved last August. However, in a letter to membership, General Manager Anya Firszt on behalf of the Co-op management and Board is seeking authorization to spend anadditional $2 Million to remodel and expand the East Side location.  Continue reading

Willy Kids Listserv Hopes to Connect Neighborhood Families

Neighborhood resident Melody Niwot has begun an online email listserv called Willy Kids to help connect families with young children in the neighborhood.  The email group is intended to serve families with young children in the Wil-Mar and Atwood Neighborhoods, facilitating community and allowing families to share resources and information. Continue reading

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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Gallery: Orton Park Fest – Saturday

Photo by: Thomas Balistreri

Day three of the Orton Park Festival is underway and the park is filling up nicely. Kids games, vendors, bingo, artists, neighbors visiting, along with music on the stage are part of this warm and slightly muggy afternoon.

Madison legends Peter and Lou Berryman began the music lineup at noon and it was followed by other singer/songwriters like Tret Fure and Pieta Brown. The music will continue throughout the day with Canadian indie-rock band The Sadies taking the stage at 8:30 p.m. as the final act of the day.

Brand new Madison resident Thomas Balistreri spent his first Orton Park Festival volunteering at one of the beer stands, but took some time to pass along some photos from this afternoon.

All photos by: Thomas Balistreri

View the 2012 Orton Park Festival schedule here

Previous Orton Park Festival coverage:

Cycropia Dazzles Orton

Orton Park Ready to Celebrate

Mythical Tree Spirit to Fly at Orton Park Fest

Cycropia Dazzles Orton

International music night with Cycropia’s “Kodama” at 8:15 p.m.

Cycropia peforms “Kodama” on Family Night of the Orton Park Festival, August 23, 2012. Photo by: D.M. Hughes

Crycropia’s performance of “Kodama” was an absolute stunner with throngs of people  attending on Family Night at the Orton Park Festival. Tonight is International Night featuring Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars at 6 p.m., with a break between music sets at 7 p.m. for the MNA Auction, followed by the final festival peformance of Cycropia’s Kodama.

“I went last night. It was breathtaking, beautiful, thrilling-at times, jawdropping. As we used to say, back in the day, ‘It blew me away’, said Atwood resident Dan Melton after viewing Kodama.  “When I shut my eyes to sleep last night, I had pictures of the performance swirling in my head. Still do, this morning.”  Continue reading

La Fete de Marquette is Magnifique

Four day music festival growing with style

La Fete de Marquette, July 12-15, 2012 in the Marquette Neighborhood.

The seventh annual La Fete de Marquette, celebrating French music and culture, begins today (July 12) at the corner of South Dickinson and East Main Streets. While Pere Marquette did traipse through these lands in the 1600s (see Portage, Wisconsin), the relative lack of a historical French connection to the Marquette neighborhood will not stop them from holding a really cool party for Bastille Day.

The free four-day event is one of the “Big Four” Marquette neighborhood summer festivals and is a fundraiser for the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center.

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Eastside Farmer’s Market Debuts

The Eastside Farmer’s Market made it’s 2012 debut in the parking lot of the Immanuel Lutheran Church across from the Wil-Mar Neighborhood center (953 Jenifer Street) on an eventful Tuesday this week. Earlier in the day Kathleen Falk voted at Wil-Mar in the Wisconsin Recall Primary and then moved to the parking lot to address the press as preparations for the market were underway.

A quick canvass of the vendors showed a nice mix of farm and garden-fresh produce, cheese, honey, potted plants, and even chemical-free lamb. The weekly market, sponsored by Wil-Mar and the Willy Street Co-op, will be held each Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. through December 18.