The annual spectacle the Syracuse Nationals has become received further enhancement this year with pictureperfect midsummer weather. Sure it was hot; sure it was humid. But it didn’t rain, so the weekend was without the flooding drama that has plagued it in the past.
This year’s special guests came from the long-running sitcom Happy Days and its two spinoffs, Laverne & Shirley and Joanie Loves Chachi. Henry Winkler, who played motorbike softie Arthur Fonzarelli aka Fonzie (Winkler revealed to onlookers that he could only give a single thumbs-up for photos instead of the Fonz’s standard two thumbs, perhaps because of copyright infringement), Cindy Williams, who was Shirley, and Erin Moran as Joanie presided over a weekend-long autograph session. At the other end of the Center of Progress building, actress Candy Clark, a veteran of several Syracuse Nationals shows, was signing memorabilia from her Academy Award-nominated turn in American Graffiti. Who knows: Maybe Clark and Williams, also a Graffiti veteran, shared some motorhead movie memories afterward.
But the real attraction, as always, was the candy-colored, souped-up and lovingly restored vehicles of all makes, models, vintages and eras. An estimated 80,000-plus gawkers hit the turnstiles at the New York State Fairgrounds, making this year’s Nationals the best attended ever.
For a taste of the classy chassis on display, next July head to the Holiday Inn on Electronics Parkway in Liverpool, unofficial event headquarters the Thursday before the show for a free preview of the Nationals. You won’t see every vehicle that invades Syracuse for three days, but you’ll get a pretty good sampling.In Stitches
It all started 30 years ago, when a group of quilters got together for a four-day conference in Cazenovia; it has grown into the two-week, internationally known Quilting By the Lake conference, and this year it’s being held at Onondaga Community College. The conference, which began July 17 and runs through July 28, will feature more than 250 quilters from all over the world as they descend on OCC.
Quilting by the Lake is a program of Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, located in Auburn. The event features classes, lectures, merchants and a showing of some incredible quilts. In fact, the quilts on display are known as “art quilts,” which differ from bed quilts. Quilters and teachers travel from Canada, France, South Africa and New Zealand to showcase their quilts and run workshops.
“A lot of these quilts are referred to as art quilts, with original designs,” said Donna Lamb, executive director of the Schweinfurth and director of the show. “Some are traditional designs with a twist. It’s an explosion of creativity.”
Wall-to-wall quilts line the presentation room, also containing vendors that sell fabric, needles, even design examples. Quilts run in every size, shape, color and texture. Lecturers will discuss dyeing and painting fabric techniques, surface design and basic sewing; many sessions last from two to five days, each running for three hours.
Throughout the exhibit are quilts that use many different designs, colors, formats and techniques. While some artists focus on traditional hand-guided sewing, others use beading techniques, stitching and even painting on fabrics. “Some quilts that use a huge amount of handwork can take up to a year to make,” Lamb explained about many of the quilts on display here.
The vendors are another draw to the event. Some have been attending the conference for 20 years, and many have made lifelong friends through Quilting by the Lake. The two-week event is one that they look forward to each year. Linda VanNederynen has been a vendor for about 15 years now and owns her own quilting store, Quilter’s Corner, in Ithaca.
She brings supplies for the classes, quilt kits and anything else that people may need. “It really pays off for the vendors, too,” Lamb said. “They pack up their stuff and come here from all over for two weeks. They’re seeing friends they’ve met over the years, and promoting their business on the road.”
Sharon Bottle Souva, a quilter who volunteers at Quilting by the Lake, touted the importance of the event as it posits that quilts are truly works of art. She’s quilted since 1976 and looks forward to the conference every year. “It brings the community together, and us quilters, who have been waiting all year for this,” Souva said.
Quilting by the Lake is held in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation building on the OCC campus. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20, through July 28, with additional hours from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26. Tours are also available by appointment on Thursdays, July 21 and July 28, for those who want to learn more and see the action behind the scenes. The conference is closed on Saturday, July 23.
Admission is $6; members of Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, registered Quilting by the Lake members and children under 12 are free. For more information, call 255-1553 or visit http://www.quiltingbythelake.com/ www.quiltingbythelake.com.
—Emily LongerettaANGELs Among Us
Marvin Gaye’s classic album What’s Going On (Motown) could have been written, unfortunately, about Syracuse today. Inner-city violence, gangs, hopelessness—all urban issues that have reached a crisis in the Salt City. While the problem doesn’t appear to be going away, it shouldn’t be ignored either. Pockets of invested citizens pop up from time to time, yet it’s difficult to gauge what, if any, success they achieve.
An event on Wednesday, July 27, organized at the behest of Mayor Stephanie Miner and Fred Pestello, president of Le Moyne College, will shed further light on the issue, but with a twist. Called Unify Syracuse, it will involve the youth who are directly affected by the urban decay.
“We want young people to come and speak from their perspective, and get a facilitated dialogue going,” said Dolores Byrnes, who works with the administration at Le Moyne. “We will be asking participants the three things they would like to see result from this event. There are so many people who do so many amazing things with young people. Our approach is, what can Le Moyne bring to this, from a scholarly point of view, to help all these efforts.”“ Adults haven’t done anything sustainable for young people as far as developing leadership. We’re trying to divert all their energy before it turns negative.
Helen Hudson formed Mothers Against Gun Violence to seek to reduce the incidence of violence and its related death toll by being a community-based resource to victims and their families, community groups and schools in the city. Hudson asked Le Moyne to look into supporting those who witness traumatic violence. “Post-traumatic stress disorder is something that can be prevented,” noted Byrnes. “After July 27, we’re going to look into a seminar about that as well.”
A key participant in this program will be Team ANGEL, whose acronym stands for “Avoid Negative Garbage. Enjoy Life.” Organizer Eddie Mitchell, who grew up on Syracuse’s South Side, knows all too well how important it is for youth to be affiliated with something positive.
“I grew up with a program called Way to Go that did stuff out of the norm,” said Mitchell, 24, who graduated from Corcoran High School and is earning a bachelor’s degree in communications at SUNY Cobleskill. “We went on hiking trips, we went bowling. It gave us a good tool as we got out of high school. A lot of kids don’t have the guidance or the system to take care of themselves. They have nobody to talk to. All they see is negativity. You never hear about the kids that go to school, the kids that play sports, the kids that have a job.”
So he founded Team ANGEL as a way to reach boys and girls ages 12 to 16 with positive messages. Timothy Jennings-Bey is the director of the Trauma Response Team (TRT), a joint effort between Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler and Hudson. “Team ANGEL is an extension of TRT, but geared more toward youth,” he said. “We try to empower them to step up to the plate. They already have a relationship with the Southwest Community Center, they’re already out in the community, spreading the word, with their boots to the pavement.”
Furthermore, Jennings-Bey thought this group of adolescents could effectively communicate what their lives are like to the Le Moyne event. “We’re trying to bring all levels of the community onto the same page, to discuss this level of violence that’s been plaguing our city over the last decade,” said Jennings-Bey, 38, who graduated from Henninger High School. He plans on pursuing a master’s degree in family and cultural studies at Syracuse University.
“We brought the young people aboard because we thought it was important for the community to hear them voice their concerns. This is an excellent program for young people. Adults have fallen short, we haven’t done anything sustainable for young people as far as developing leadership. We’re trying to divert all their energy before it turns negative, so they can have some options.”
Unify Syracuse takes place Wednesday, July 27, at 10 a.m. in Panasci Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus, 1419 Salt Springs Road. Since time is limited to 90 minutes, the populace can expect more of these events in the future. “We need kids to see that the world is much bigger than their neighborhood,” Mitchell said. “I know how it is to live by the gun and to die by it. I have friends who are successful, who rose above. After this event, we hope to go to other places to talk about our program, why we do what we’re doing.”
For more information, call 445-4255.