The annual Syracuse Arts and Crafts Festival celebrates its 46th anniversary this year. Around 160 local and regional painters, carpenters, metal workers, clothes designers and more will set up their pop-ups in and around Columbus Circle. This festival, which will take place Friday, July 29, through Saturday, July 31, is one of the staples of the Arts Week celebration gracing most of the greater downtown area.
Alice Maggiore, communications coordinator for Downtown Committee of Syracuse, explained that this year’s festival will highlight the experience garnered from previous years. It’s not necessarily making the festival bigger and better, since there is only so much space to work with, but it is living up to expectations.
The juried show, one which hundreds of artists apply and a small committee determines which vendors get invited, is accompanied by changing entertainment throughout the day. “We will have strolling street entertainers, costumed dance groups, local singers and songwriters. There will also be unique treats and festival foods,” Maggiore said.
“We’ve tried something new this year,” she added. “We’ve created a Pinterest board (DowntownSYR) highlighting a sampling of some of the works you’ll see.”
There is always room for new aspects and activities. Thanks to a state grant secured by state Sen. John A. DeFrancisco and CNY Arts, on Saturday, July 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Downtown Committee and 40 Below Public Arts Task Force will present the all-ages workshop “Forecasting the Future: Activating Downtown’s Alleyways.”
The free activity will take place in the walkway between the Onondaga County Court House and the Mulroy Civic Center. People will be able to decorate lanterns modeled after AXA Tower’s weather star. In similar fashion to the weather-predicting bulb, participants are asked to write their own expectations for downtown Syracuse for the years ahead.
“We’d like to invite people to decorate the lanterns,” Maggiore said, “with their wishes, predictions for downtown. It’s what they’d like our city to look like or see happen here. We wanted some way to tie in the history of Syracuse with the future.”
The finished nylon lanterns will then be displayed in our city’s alleyways. Lantern decorators are encouraged to share their designs through social media with the hashtag, #stARTcuse.
“The Arts and Crafts Festival is a great opportunity to check out downtown if you haven’t been in a while.” she said. “There is a lot of activity, so much vibrancy and many other things happening this weekend.” Along with the vendors, the Northeast Jazz and Wine Festival, Blue Rain ECOFest and the annual Syracuse New Times and Family Times Street Painting event will also be adding to the finale of Arts Week.