Vol. 14, No. 15     July 26 - August 29, 2001



No Street fair This Year

For eight years local residents have toiled to bring us the annual street on East 204th Street, a fun-filled day of games, food, performances, and information sharing.

It started in 1993 after a group of local community organizations banded together under the banner, "Norwood Anti-Substance Abuse Consortium," and settled on the idea of a street fair as one way of bringing community institutions and residents together to fight substance abuse.

The street fair had some early detractors before it even secured its first permit. A few feared the fair would bring with it more bad than good. Some thought it would only breed disruption and litter, and that it would hurt local business.

But, eight years later, the jury is out. The street fair was always peaceful, fun, well attended and well organized. It brought an extraordinarily diverse neighborhood together in all its glory. People met, talked, ate, strategized about neighborhood problems, got their face painted, and watched young local dancers strut their stuff.

The fare at the fair was always quite different from what you find at most street fairs that line many of the city's streets in summertime. The Norwood Street Fair was an indigenous production - the vendors were mostly people who lived in or worked in the community. Instead of sweat socks and wrist watches, there were crafts, homemade foods, and information about community services. The performances featured home-grown talent from the Bronx Dance Theatre and local musicians. The street fair was Norwood through and through.

So, why won't there be a street fair this September?

Simple. The core group of residents who planned the fair year after year after year are tired. The planning for each year's fair began almost as soon as the previous one ended. There were permits to secure, money to raise, vendors to deal with, performers to line up, and press releases to write.

If the community wants the street fair to continue, new volunteers will have to surface and take on a bit of the work. The more people who rise to the task, the easier it will be to be to pull off the fair in the future.

If you want to help carry on this Norwood tradition, contact us by e-mail at nornews@con2.com or by phone at 324-4461 and we'll put you in touch with anyone else interested in planning a street fair for 2002.

In the meantime, we all should thank those who worked so hard to bring our community together.

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