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Publication: Syracuse New Times
Author: House, Samantha
Date published: June 23, 2010

This year's Syracuse Jazz Fest is getting crafty-literally. For the first time in the festival's 28-year history, the Syracuse Peace Council will accompany Jazz Fest's groovy beats with a craft fair, providing attendees with locally crafted goods to admire, peruse and buy.

SPC representative Andy Mager says the council's desire to hold a summer crafts festival isn't a new concept; after all, every December, they host the popular Plowshares Craftsfair. "We have long wanted to develop a summer event that involves crafts," he says. When Jazz Fest founder Frank Malfitano floated the idea of teaming with the SPC to accompany the music with crafts, Mager happily accepted the invitation.

Mager sees the SPC craft festivals serving multiple purposes. "They're major fund-raisers," he notes, prefacing their second role. "We also believe that part of social justice is developing a local economy and an economy where people are in charge of their work. The craft fair serves as that sort of gathering."

The diversity of crafts that will be displayed at Jazz Fest-from jewelry to hats, eggshell art to copper-fire prints-echoes the Peace Council's efforts to support diversity in all facets of life. The 76-year-old group is the oldest grass-roots peace organization in the United Sates, reports Mager, "educating, agitating and organizing for social justice since 1936."

Because of the council's ardent support for a diverse, autonomous society, Mager believes teaming with Jazz Fest was a good move. "One of the things we think is so important about Jazz Fest is diversity," he says. "It brings together a diverse group of people. Music is something that inspires people, that gives people hope to transcend the things that divide us." Mager notes that two of the performers council members are most excited to see are Richie Havens, a solo artist with folk-music roots, and Gil Scott-Heron, a jazz vocalist and spoken-word soul performer.

So far, 33 vendors paid the $100 fee to reserve 10-by-10-foot booths, says Mager, adding that he expects more to have signed up prior to the June 15 deadline. Campus security will patrol the area when Jazz Fest is dark.

"We hope that lots of people will come out and look at the crafts," Mager says. "We'll make some money and share some good, finding people who want to join in with our efforts in one way or another."

The Syracuse Peace Council's summer crafts festival will groove on Friday, June 25, 3 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, June 26, noon to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, June 27, noon to 8 p.m. The craft fair will be set up near the Route 173 entrance of the Onondaga Community College campus. Admission to the fair, and the Jazz Fest, is free; parking costs $5. For more information, call 472-5479 or visit www.peacecouncil.net.

-Samantntha House

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