Raymond Avenue prepares for fifteenth-annual street fair

On Saturday Sept. 20, the Arlington Street Fair will be open to the public between 12 to 6 p.m. Raymond Avenue will be closed to traffic and open for over 100 vendors and performers. Photo By: Sam Pianello
On Saturday Sept. 20, the Arlington Street Fair will be open to the public between 12 to 6 p.m. Raymond Avenue will be closed to traffic and open for over 100 vendors and performers. Photo By: Sam Pianello
On Saturday Sept. 20, the Arlington Street Fair will be open to the public between 12 to 6 p.m. Raymond Avenue will be closed to traffic and open for over 100 vendors and performers. Photo By: Sam Pianello

This weekend, Raymond Avenue will be transformed into a social center of activities for kids from ages 1 to 100. The 15th Annual Arlington Street Fair is fast approaching and, despite the fun and games that characterize the event, tons of planning and organization need to go into the event if the four thousand people that attended the fair last year all return.

There is always a large turnout at the fair. Bob Legacy, the Arlington Business Improvement District Director, reported that, in addition to the annual approximately four-thousand people who attend, over one-hundred vendors and nearly as many performers set up their various booths and shows on Raymond.

Legacy has been in charge of managing the vendors and the entertainers for the past ten years. He wrote in an emailed statement that he takes care of a lot of paperwork. “My duties are lining up entertainment for the main stage, necessary permits and paperwork for the fair.” This year being the 15th anniversary, Legacy has helped arrange a few new spectacles.

In the past, the street fair has had tables for Vassar orgs, raffles to raise money for different causes, and performances from different Vassar a cappella groups, not to mention vendors from the community who show up to share and sell their products.

This Saturday from noon until six, from the corner of Fulton Avenue and Collegeview Avenue to the Eastbound Arterial among the Arterial Route, there will be many vendors representing restaurants, shops, craftspeople and more.

“This year, before the street fair starts, will be the grand opening and ribbon cutting of BurgerFi and the College Store at the Juliet,” Legacy wrote. “New this year for the brave at heart we have a new jumping attraction where participants jump from a platform into an air mat below.”

The Arlington Street Fair was started in 1999 in order to bridge the gap between Vassar College and the Arlington Community, according to the first article in The Miscellany News about the street fair. This year, Vassar and the community will come together again through entertainment. Legacy wrote, “We try to have a variety of entertainment for the main stage like rock, country and folk music. Several groups from Vassar College perform.”

The musical performances include the River Front Barbershop Quartet, Annie and the Attaboys, Musical Misses, Stark Raven Band, Jennifer Grace, Band Pure Joy, C 2 L Singers, Take One Car Band, and Music Together Singing Group. There also will be a Blue Grass Festival next to the Crafted Kup.

In addition to the musical entertainment, the website states that it will have international craftsmen, children’s activities and crafts, giveaways, a twenty-foot stunt jump, and a bouncy house. There will also be a booth administering flu shots to the public.

For both newcomers to Vassar as well as returning students, the idea of the fair seems enticing—especially if free stuff is involved. Emily McDaniels ’18 said, “I would go to a street fair, especially if there were free food, games and prizes at a close proximity to campus.”

To Chris Cerutti ’17, who has never been to the fair, the Arlington Street Fair seems like a good way to get off campus for a bit. “I am excited to go this year,” Cerutti said. “I think that it probably is a good way for the Vassar community to mingle with the Arlington community.”

Emma Osagie ’17, who attended the Fair last year, feels that the scheduling of the Fair could have been better last year. “Last year, the fair was during Family Weekend and I don’t think a lot of parents went, but a couple decided to go,” said Osagie.

The fair was a fun event, but not one that really stuck with her, Osagie recalled. “I don’t really remember what really happened. But I remember seeing a lot of people from the local community, which I thought was nice since Vassar is such a bubble.”

Vassar’s own circus troupe, the Barefoot Monkeys, will be one of the many different entertainers at the Fair. Emily Goddard ’15 is the vice president of the Barefoot Monkeys and also serves as the coordinator for the Arlington Street Fair.

According to Goddard, the Monkeys’ performance at the Fair will only be about ten minutes long and it will be comprised of more basic moves than their normal performances usually are.

“These acts are usually very silly and involve a lot of audience participation, so they’re great for kids,” Goddard wrote.

“The Arlington Street Fair is a pretty low key performance,” she continued. In order to perform, she only needed to ask to be allowed to perform again this year. This is not their first time performing at the fair.

Despite being one of their less complex performances, the Monkeys’ performance will still include juggling knives, stilt-walking, unicycling, partner-balancing and acrobatics and hoop diving.

Additionally, Goddard wrote, “Come see us at 5 p.m. on the stage or just wandering around the fair juggling and stilt-walking.”

The fair takes plenty of precautions in order to run. “We need to obtain permission from the Town of Poughkeepsie for closing the street,” Legacy wrote. “This requires the Arlington Fire Department and Town Police’s approval before the Town Board approves the resolution allowing the street fair.” As far as the vendors themselves, Legacy wrote, “For food vendors, they need county health department approval.”

Admission to the Street Fair is free, thanks to sponsorships from local groups such as Arlington Business Improvement District, Clear Channel Radio and Vassar itself. Since there’s no entrance fee, there is really no downside to attending the fair, as Goddard says: “I’ve gone to the Arlington Street Fair with the Monkeys for the past three years. It’s always really fun!”

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