Dec 04, 2009 ellen leahy Uncategorized
The annual Plowshares Craftsfair & Winter Peace Festival probably started out from the old saying in the 1960s, “Make love, not war.” But instead of actually making love, the festival’s artisans make their products lovingly and with great thought and care.
The term Plowshares comes from the verse in the Old Testament:
“And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.
Loosely translated, instead of putting your efforts toward war, how about something more useful, like food?
Andy Mager from Syracuse’s Peace Council said, “Transforming weapons of war into useful products seemed like a great theme for our event.”
Syracuse’s Plowshares Festival began in the early 1970s as part of the Peace Council’s work for peace and social justice. The Council was working to build a community of people committed to these issues as well as to raise funds toward those efforts. Dik Cool was one of the originators, Mager said.
“There was a need for additional opportunities for local craftspeople to sell their wares, for people to buy locally made products in an atmosphere of community and to raise money for the Peace Council,” he said. It fit together so seamlessly. Part of Plowshares success is that it is a win for everybody — there are no losers unlike with war.
A Plowshares theme is diversity on all fronts, including an eclectic entertainment and refreshments mix. Different cultures are represented as well as different age groups.
“Plowshares is about diversity and people coming together from different parts of the community, so other than celebrating those differences and learning from one another we aren’t looking for any particular vibe,” Mager said. “We work hard to develop a balanced show representing a wide range of crafts and styles and seeking to represent the beautiful diversity of our Central New York community.”
Attendance has ebbed and flowed between 3,000 and 4,000 attendees over the years, with 2008 recording its highest attendance ever.
“Each year we receive more applications than the previous year and, unfortunately, we need to turn away many skilled artisans,” Mager said. “In addition to being a marketplace, Plowshares is a time when people catch up with old friends and find out what community groups are up to.
“Every year I run into so many people to visit with at Plowshares that it’s difficult to find time to shop,” he said.
War seems like such a constant, why choose peace?
“To us, peace cannot be separated from social justice. And it is a process. By coming together and challenging ourselves to live up to our highest ideals and supporting one another when we fall short, we work toward that larger goal,” Mager said.
The Peace Council definitely seeks to eliminate war. And the thinking is that if we took all the effort that goes into war, and instead, put it toward respect and opportunity for all people, just think of what a positive difference that would make in the lives of many.
“We work to build a community where all children can grow up without fear of violence inside or outside their homes,” Mager said. “We try to work in ways which recognize the sacredness of the natural world, recognizing that humans are but one of many species on this precious earth.”
Because Plowshares is such a popular show among craftspeople, the application deadline is now in early July and has been full since that time. It is happy to add new people to the mailing list to receive applications next spring for the 2010. show.
Plowshares Craftsfair & Winter Peace Festival
Dec. 5 to 6
Nottingham High School, 3100 E. Genesee St.,
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Only $2-5 (sliding scale) for adults;
Free for those under 16 or over 65. .
More than 120 craftspeople from throughout CNY.
There will be ongoing performances, by local musicians, dancers and drummers.
Tasty food from The Mission Restaurant.
For information, 472-5478, firstname.lastname@example.org or peacecouncil.net/plowshares.