UPDATE: Willy Street Fair brings community together – WKOW

MADISON (WKOW)– The Willy Street Fair kicked off Saturday in the eastside neighborhood.

“There’s a lot of art and culture here, it’s very vibrant,” said Esty Dinur, who organized the music festival at the fair.

Jake Wood lives and owns a business, Wildwood Productions, in the Willy Street area and designed the t-shirt for this year’s fair.

“It brings a lot of good spirit and good will,” he said.

This is the 38th year this event has taken place, but this year it takes on even more meaning after a trying year on Willy Street.

A block from the fair, Tony Robinson was killed in an officer-involved shooting on March 6. And just a week ago, a woman was beaten and raped on a bike path just a block off Willy Street.

“It’s tough to get through those things, but we’re grappling with it,” Wood said. “We’re trying to do what we can to make it a better neighborhood.”

And though the community might still have healing to do, the fair is a way to focus on the positives.

“I think that even as people keep mourning and organizing, it is really important to also keep celebrating,” Dinur said.

The Willy Street Fair continues Sunday, beginning with a parade at 11 AM.

(Madison, WI  WKOW)  –  Hundreds of people are flocking to Madison’s near-east side today and tomorrow to attend the 38th annual Willy Street Fair.  Planners say the yearly event is especially poignant as the community has faced many challenges this past year. 

For the festival, the three blocks of the Williamson Street neighborhood are filled with impromptu street performances, foods and drinks from across the globe,  arts and crafts and a community raffle with over 150 prizes. Seven areas have also been set up to offer a variety of musical offerings including the World Music Stage, the Folk Stage and the DJ Stage.

Williamson Street will be closed between Livingston Street and Ingersoll until 10:30 tonight. 

Sunday’s festivities begin with a colorful parade sponsored by the Greater Williamson Area Business Association at 11:00 am. 

The Fair will end at 7:00 p.m. Sunday after the raffle drawing. 

On Sunday, the parade will close additional streets from 11:00 a.m. to noon.

Those include:

* South Paterson Street from Williamson Street to Spaight Street

* Spaight Street from Paterson Street to Few Street

* Few Street from Spaight Street to Williamson Street

* Williamson Street from Few Street to Ingersoll Street

The Willy Street Fair is a major fundraiser for Common Wealth and the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center.