Nov 27, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
For thousands of years, this special season has promised peace, and for the past four decades the Syracuse Peace Council has risen to the occasion by hosting the annual Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival.
It’s no easy task, logistically or politically.
Over the years, the multi-cultural craftsfair has shifted from venue to venue as it coordinated holiday sales by scores of diverse craftspeople and community organizations.
It has done so since 1970, the height of the Vietnam War. That conflict ground to an ugly end in 1975 after sending more than 58,000 Americans to early graves, but more wars inevitably followed.
Our country has been involved in the Yom Kippur War, the Soviet War in Afghanistan, the Angolan Civil War, the invasion of Grenada, the invasion of Panama, the Gulf War, the Somali Civil War, the Afghani Civil War, the Haitian rebellion, the Iraq War and now the Mexican Drug War.
Not only are lives lost daily, so is money. Big money. The cost of the eight-year-long Iraq War is quickly approaching $900 billion!
When will enough be enough?
The skies rain bombs
While the skies rain bombs, the Syracuse Peace Council pleads with leaders to “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks,” as Isaiah wrote in The Bible. “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
If you believe those scriptural verses are more than wishful thinking, you can proclaim your pacifism by attending the 41st Plowshares Fest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at Nottingham High School, 3100 E. Genesee St., on the city’s East Side. The craftsfair continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4.
Fest envisions ‘better world’
“Plowshares is more than a craftsfair,” said organizer Andy Molloy, “it’s a community gathering of people who yearn for and work for a better world.”
Shopping there solidly supports the local economy since none of the money is outsourced and none of its profits support exorbitant salaries (take note, Occupy Wall Street). A 2009 Civic Economics study found that purchases at locally-owned stores support local economies at double the rate of big box store purchases.
Plowshares crafts include jewelry (glass, gemstones, precious metals), ceramics, woodworking, photography and handmade clothing and exotic items such as rainsticks, origami, Native American stone-carving and herbal tinctures.
Live entertainment and tasty food make Plowshares a sensual event. Admission costs $2 to $5 and is free for folks ages 15 and younger or 65 and older.
Entertainment will be as varied as the voices that cry out for peace worldwide. From belly dancers to One Black Voice, from Merry Mischief to My Fusion Flow, performers will enliven the craftsfair with music and movement.
Here’s the schedule:
Saturday, Dec. 3
11:30 a.m. Young & Talented Dance Co.
1 p.m. Syracuse Community Choir
1:30 p.m. Maya Tribe belly dancers
3 p.m. Colleen Kattau and Some Guys
Sunday, Dec. 4
1 p.m. One Black Voice
2 p.m. Merry Mischief
3 p.m. Mark Zane
4 p.m. C-Jack Productions
Other Plowshares performers include Nottingham Steel Drum, Jesse, Savannah Juvanis, My Fusion Flow, Crow ‘n Bow, and the wandering minstrel, Ribbonsteel Rapper.
For festival info, dial 472-5478; or visit peacecouncil.net.
Dark days at Sparky Town
Sparky Town went suddenly dark on Nov. 21 when owner Linda “Sparky” Mortimer died unexpectedly while she slept at her Sedgwick home. She was 57 years old.
Sparky was well-nicknamed. Whether stirring an Irish stew or greeting a guest, the lady invariably radiated warmth.
In early-2008, Mortimer and her partner, Lauren Bristol, opened Sparky Town at 324 Burnet Ave, on the corner of Catherine Street, former location of the old New Central Café.
The funky little brick bistro swiftly developed a core clientele attracted by a menu running the gamut from burger deluxe to black beans and rice, from pollo loco to a panini veggie melt. On Nov. 7, Sparky announced that the restaurant would add beer and wine to its extensive beverage list already featuring espresso and Perrier.
A former devotee of Happy Endings Cake & Coffeehouse, Sparky was a longtime lover of local music. At Sparky Town she booked acts such as Tenor Madness, the Rhythm Queens, Puente Flamenco, Diamond Joe Davoli & Harvey Nusbaum and the Salt Potatoes.
Restaurant reopens Monday
Kevin Lucas, a customer from Skaneateles, captured Sparky’s good vibes in an online review:
“Sparky waves ‘hi’ from the kitchen as you pass it to go to the dining room,” Lucas wrote. “It feels like a secret little place taken out of time where you might see Igmar Bergman walk through the door for a light pastry and coffee…My dinner was fresh and delicious. Sparky came out from the kitchen and spoke with us and a couple other guests personally to see if they enjoyed their dinner. You never see that anymore. Wonderful.”
Friends and family will at a celebration of Sparky Mortimer’s today, Nov. 27, at May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society, and the celebration of her life continues when the restaurant re-opens Monday, Nov. 28. For info, dial 422-8401; or visit Sparkytown.net.
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