Brooklyn Heights

Cranberry Street Fair to return to Brooklyn Heights for 44th year

September 15, 2015 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mimi Fontana’s Manhattan Tribal Belly Dancers are returning for the sixth year to entertain and teach at the Cranberry Street Fair in Brooklyn Heights this Saturday. Photo by Mary Frost
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Brooklyn Heights will again be dancing in the street for the 44th annual Cranberry Street Fair this Saturday, Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On the shady, quiet block between Hicks and Willow streets, locals will celebrate the coming of autumn with a day of homegrown activities and entertainment, including belly dancing, browsing books and treasures, guessing the number of cranberries, climbing on the fire engine, parading their pets and having their fortunes told. Residents will also vie for gustatory glory in the bakeoff.

Organized originally by artists John and Richanda Rhoden, the fair is still overseen by Ms. Rhoden, now well up into her 90s, who throws a party for the volunteers, many members of the Cranberry Street Association, every year the night before the fair.

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The best thing about the fair is “getting people to work together,” Ms. Rhoden told the Brooklyn Eagle on Tuesday. “When they put the thing on it gives people the opportunity to meet together. I like it that a lot of different types of people and nationalities get so they can understand each other.”

“We have the horses coming back this year,” she added. “The kids love to ride on them. Every year we make some kind of addition.” (She said the fair planners were talking about holding a toffee pull next year, after they figure out how to manage it so the kids could wash their hands.)

Those putting the fair together have always felt there was something special about the yearly gathering. Some families have several generations volunteering at the fair. One early organizer, Bill Pennell, still returns to Brooklyn every year to blow up the helium balloons.

“I remember the first fair,” he told the Eagle. “Mayor Koch was the judge of the children’s bakeoff. My son Tom won.”

“All I know is the day comes and somehow it happens, and then the next day it’s as if it never happened — like Brigadoon!” said organizer Marian Buonocore.

Photo by Mary Frost

This year’s fair includes live jazz with Eric Loffswold & Bruce Edwards, Mimi Fontana’s Manhattan Tribal Belly Dancers (for the sixth year), yoga with Isabel, the bake-off, fortune tellers, violinist/teacher Michael Braudy, a roving photographer, silent auction and burgers and hotdogs. Coffee and tea are provided courtesy of Jim Monte and Cranberry’s.

The pet parade takes place at 12:30 p.m. (courtesy of Rocco & Jezebal for Pets), and the raffle takes place at 3 p.m.

To register for the bake-off, complete an online registration form at (Bring $5 registration fee on Saturday.) To become a blue ribbon judge, just come to the fair.

All proceeds go to neighborhood beautification. For the full schedule see below.




Cranberry Street Fair 2015 Schedule:

12:30 p.m.: Pet Parade – every pet gets a prize

1 p.m.: Mimi Fontana’s Manhattan Tribal Belly Dancers

2:15 p.m.:  Yoga with Isabel

2:30 p.m.: Cranberry St. Bake-Off awards

3 p.m.: raffle, with great prizes

Also: Silent auction featuring a limited edition lithograph by Jasper Johns; fall plants; fortune tellers; violinist/teacher Michael Braudy; paint a mini pumpkin; roving photographer; board the fire engine and meet the 205th firefighters; meet the Brooklyn Heights Veterinarians; books; fleas and treasures; baked goods; hamburgers and hotdogs, tea and coffee; information about Brooklyn community issues.

Coffee & tea courtesy of Jim Monte & Cranberry’s

The fair takes place between Hicks and Willow streets, rain or shine.

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