Westcott Street Cultural Fair reinvigorates university neighborhood

Westcott St. Cultural Fair reinvigorates neighborhood

After its cancellation in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, the neighborhood celebration brought food, music and vendors back together.
Published: September 28, 2021
A local Latin dance group for girls performs on Victoria Place at the. Westcott Cultural Fair.
A local Latin dance group for girls performs on Victoria Place during Sunday's Westcott Street Cultural Fair.

Spirits were high as the Syracuse community came together for the Westcott Street Cultural Fair on Sunday. Members of the community flocked to Westcott Street for lively music, food, and local vendors.

Clara Neville, a student at Onondaga Community College, has been making clothing for the past couple of years. What started as a birthday present for her sister turned into her small business, Random Love by Clara. As a photography student, Neville learned how to use Citra Solv, a cleaning solution, to transfer images onto fabric. Since honing this skill, she’s been able to make t-shirts and sweatshirts with prints of her own photographs, some of which she brought to her stand at the fair.

This was Neville’s first year with a table at the Westcott Street Cultural Fair.

“It’s a nice combination of people that I know that haven’t seen my work before, and then also it’s a whole different thing to have strangers buy your things and like your stuff,” Neville said.

Neville has been selling her clothes virtually on Etsy for a while, so getting to display her art for patrons to admire in person has been an exciting development for business, she said.  Neville’s work can be found on Etsy under “Random Love By Clara” or on Instagram @RandomLoveByClara.

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Kyle Moore holds his daughter Patience, whose heart surgery inspired their family business Patience Promises Love LLC.

Patience Promises Love LLC’s display of fragrant soaps, serums, and other bath products drew many in, but the Moore-Dunton family’s story also touched patrons.

Kyle Moore and Fantasia Dunton’s youngest daughter, Patience, was born with only half a heart. After numerous surgeries and the anxiety of taking care of a sick newborn, the parents of two decided to make the change to a completely organic household. Eventually, the pair came to develop numerous organic bath products.

“We started producing soaps, lip scrubs, bath bombs, men’s products, and body wash,” they said.

Patience Promises Love LLC was founded a little over a year ago during the pandemic, and Dunton acknowledged the difficulty they had in kickstarting a company during such a difficult time. Moore and Dunton have tabled at other local events, but this was their first time at the Westcott Fair. The soon-to-be husband and wife were joined by their daughters and the company’s namesakes Patience (photographed) as well as their older daughter, Promise. You can find Patience Promises Love LLC on their website or on Instagram @PPLoveLLC.

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Festivalgoers were invited to dance the "Cha Cha" and other dances on a side street.

Many vendors set up shop on Westcott Street with the hope of spreading a message to the community or promoting a cause they care about. Ecothot promotes themselves as “a collective of individuals changing the world in different ways to improve beautification and other forms of environmentalism.” The brand works to raise funds for materials to educate the community about environmental activism and ways in which community members can help with the upkeep of their city.

From podcasts with NPR and New York Senator Rachel May, to blogs and community-wide events, the members of Ecothot have been ardent about spreading their message and making a positive impact in the world. Donnella “Donnie” Monk works for Ecothot and spearheaded their table at the fair.

“Right now, what we’re doing is trying to raise money for our community clean-ups that we host on the east side of Syracuse by Thornden Park and down on Genesee Street, trying to just give back to the non-college community,” Monk said.

Monk is a neighborhood planner with the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development for the City of Syracuse. Her set-up on Westcott Street showed off upcycled clothing and jewelry, along with various brochures and info cards about the organization and its message. Ecothot is over three years old, with locations in Syracuse, Cleveland Ohio, and California.

After a long wait, the 2021 Westcott Street Cultural Fair provided camaraderie and community for all Syracusans and the local businesses in the city.

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Clara Neville, a student at Onondaga Community College, has been making clothing for the past couple of years for her small business, Random Love by Clara.