Westcott Street Fair celebrates 25th year, supports local businesses

The Westcott Street Cultural Fair celebrated its 25th year with live performances, street vendors and local businesses.

In the summer of 1992, Grace Flusche walked into the local bookstore Tales Twice Told and walked out with the idea for the Westcott Street Cultural Fair.

She chatted with a group of patrons in the store that day about how the Westcott neighborhood should have a festival, and three months later, its first fair was held.

Photo: EJay Zarett
Members of Tai Chi revolution demonstrate moves at the Westcott Street Cultural Fair.

“The very first year it was small, but I think it quickly got big,” Flusche said.

The Tales Twice Told bookstore no longer exists, but on Sunday, the fair had its 25th straight year.

It featured six stages with live performances all afternoon and over 120 vendors, ranging from local restaurants to various community groups. Planning for the event began in January, the fair’s chairperson, Sharon Sherman said.

Sherman said that the fair is broken down into committees. Each committee is responsible for one aspect of the event, from choosing performers to organizing recycling.

“[Planning the fair] is pretty hard, but the good news is we have a timeline and every year we add to it,” Sherman said. “We have tons of people [involved], they’re all volunteers.”

The fair draws thousands of visitors to the Westcott area. By 1 p.m. on Sunday, the street was already flooded with people. 

David Zaczynski, co-owner of Picasso’s Pastries and Café, said he pulled an all-nighter preparing baked goods to sell at the fair – because next to Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Westcott fair is his store’s busiest day.

“We see a lot of people here today than opposed to any other day,” Zacynski said while serving customers at a booth next to his café on Westcott Street. “After our first year we got a lot of good publicity doing this fair and gained a lot of good customers from it.”

Other fair-goers found their way to the Petit Branch Library book sale located on Victoria Place, just off of Westcott Street, which had a long line of customers by 2 p.m. Children’s librarian Quinn Gardner said the proceeds from the sale will go toward the library’s programming.

“[The book sale] helps us have money for programs and materials,” Quinn said. “Otherwise we wouldn’t have money for some of that stuff.”

After starting the fair 25 years ago, Flusche still serves as a volunteer.

“It’s a very special neighborhood,” she said. “We love living here. We love Westcott Street – so this is special.”

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