Brooklyn Heights

Neighbors gather for 36th annual Cranberry Street Fair in Brooklyn Heights

October 6, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mimi Soltana’s tribal belly-dance troupe  at the Cranberry Street Fair in Brooklyn Heights. Photo by Mary Frost
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Neighbors came together on Sunday for the 36th annual Cranberry Street Fair, an easygoing Brooklyn Heights ritual that brings families out to the sun-dappled street to listen to live music, parade their pets, eat cranberry-themed goodies and paint pumpkins.

The fair, sometimes called “the sweetest little street fair” in Brooklyn, was organized originally by artists John and Richanda Rhoden in 1978. It is still overseen by Ms. Rhoden, who throws a party for the volunteers the night before the event. Some participants return to Brooklyn from other towns, year after year, to lend a hand.

“The fair was a huge success. The children were so adorable – there were more than I’ve ever seen before,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday.

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“Every year local businesses like Cranberry’s donate food and gifts,” she said. “I’m so pleased to see people’s spirit. Every time we have the fair people emerge from every walk of life, setting things up, lifting tables. I thought it was beautiful.”

Mellow jazz by Erik Loffswald and Bruce Edwards set the mood as visitors browsed, ate and schmoozed. Jerri BoKeno of the girl group Shangrilas brought the early 60s sound to the street. 

In the midst of the festivities, the wild tribal warble of Mimi Soltana’s belly-dance troupe drew crowds to the colorfully-costumed dancers, who jingled finger cymbals and whirled with woven baskets balanced on their heads. Later in the day the dancers led a conga line up the block. Fairgoers also took in a yoga class led by Jemilla, and had their fortunes told by “Madam Marie.”

A number of the visitors won raffle prizes donated by local businesses. Every animal in the pet parade won a treat bag, courtesy of Rocco & Jezebel for Pets.

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