Westcott's diversity shines at cultural fair

The 19th annual Syracuse festival draws 8,000 for artists, performances and businesses.

The vibrant Westcott Nation came to life Sunday with energetic performances and eclectic personalities for the 19th annual Westcott Street Cultural Fair.

“The festival is a great opportunity to get out and meet your neighbors and see all the colorful characters in the Westcott neighborhood,” said Samantha Pierce, a member of the Full Moon Hip Stars dancing troupe.

Pierce and her fellow dancers were among a full afternoon of artists and bands who entertained an estimated 8,000 people at the cultural fair that also featured impromptu break dance performances, live rock acts and clowns for the kids.

Photo: Maria Salatino
Phil Grajko dances to the music of Joe Driscoll atop a roof during Sunday's Westcott Street Cultural Fair.

"My favorite part about [dancing at the Fair] is the community of it all because we have a community of dancers, which is like an extended family of the Westcott community," said Shelly Naef, the founder of Full Moon Hip Stars.

Joanne Hart, owner of Earthstone Jewelry from Onondaga Nation, one of  New York's six Native Indian reservations, sold handcrafted jewelry in a booth on Westcott Street.  

"I come because I like the festival's people-friendly atmosphere,” Hart said. "Being from the reservation I kind of add a different element to what else is here and I enjoy it."

About 30 businesses and groups sponsored this year's Fair, including Tops Friendly Markets.

"[The Fair] is fun," Tops assistant store manager Kurtis Clark said. "I think it brings people out, everybody's enjoying a good time. There’s a lot of kids running around, a lot of families.” 

Fair volunteer coordinator Virginia Felleman said about 200 people help annually, and this year's event had more involvement from Syracuse University and Nottingham High School students.

"This year, we really tried to make an initiative to have the community working with the students," she said. "I think that's working really well."

Westcott Street Cultural Fair

Melissa Toutman (left) and Elias Gwinn enjoy food from Munjed's Middle Eastern Cafe on Westcott Street. (Photo: Maria Salatino)

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