On Sunday, thousands gathered on Westcott Street between Concord and Dell to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the Westcott Street Cultural Fair. Intermittent downpours started around 1:30 but couldn't kill the party. Performers still sung and danced in the rain while crowds huddled and watched from the Recess Coffee porch or from the windows of the packed Petit Branch Library. According to the fair's website, nearly 8,000 people come out each year to enjoy the festivities.
This weekend, Westcott Street will harken back to its hippie history.
The Westcott Street Cultural Fair, which takes place Sunday, Sept. 21 from noon to 6:30 p.m., began in 1991 after a group of arts-minded neighborhood residents sought to celebrate their surroundings. Westcott Street was once called the "Greenwich Village of Syracuse" for its commitment to local culture, fair organizer Sharon Sherman said.
One of Syracuse's biggest jazz success stories is likely one of its most unknown.
In the 1930s, Edward Chester Babcock, a Cazenovia College graduate, changed his name to Jimmy Van Heusen and headed for a bigger city: New York. Van Heusen started penning hit songs, eventually co-writing the top Frank Sinatra hits "Come Fly with Me" and "Love and Marriage" and winning four Academy Awards and one Emmy.
As the rain fell outside, a pair of imposing, lanky puppets slumped silently in the corner of the Castle-like building at 518 Prospect Avenue. The edifice's main tenant, Open Hand Theater, had changed its plans in light of Saturday's ugly morning downpours.
The International Arts and Puppet Festival took place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 13, though many of the events and performances scheduled to occur on the closed-off North Salina and Ash streets had to be moved indoors. Others, like Open Hand's giant puppet circus, were canceled entirely.