STATEN ISLAND, NY – The Westerleigh Folk Festival was back for its 14th annual event Saturday in Westerleigh, after being canceled last year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This year’s festival saw crowds come and go throughout the day, with families of all ages sitting on the front lawn of Westerleigh Park enjoying a mix of folk, country, blues and Americana music.
Social distancing and mask wearing were suggested at the park entrance and could be seen throughout the event.
Westerleigh resident Deidre Hamilton said music is what draws her and her husband to the event every year.
“When it was canceled last year we were disappointed but obviously we couldn’t do it because of the kind of year we all had,” said Hamilton. “So when it was announced that this year it would be back, we were excited to go back to the park to listen to some music.”
Three stages were set up throughout the park: the Gazebo Stage, the Meadow Stage and the Children’s Stage, where various musical artists performed.
Some well-known local artists have made appearances, including Julia Gargano, who appeared on “American Idol”, as well as Joan Caddell & The Midnight Choir and Karlus Trapp.
Other local artists include: the Staten Island Steel Pan Orchestra; the Jeff Mason group; Sri Lankan Dance Academy of New York; The prairie strip; Music with Patrick; Rob Santangelo; Sharon Ostrov; The crazy Wahoo Skiffle; the timeout of Ed Jackson; The Ukesters of the Church of Christ; Ruth Powers; Olivia Ront Ganot.
In addition to offering festival-goers diverse musicians, the event is known to provide artists with a space to present their work.
Various vendors also had works on display and for sale.
The Healthy Food Healthy World vendor offered an interactive nutrition program with a storyboard of science and art activities.
“My SI Quilt Project”, another supplier, allowed participants to sew symbolic marks onto fabric maps of the borough to represent a place that makes sense.
Other activities included yoga, pony rides for the kids, and face painting.
A mother explained that the festival is the occasion of a “day” with her children, who must return to normal after the pandemic has closed the world.
“It’s a good start, and seeing how lively it is today, that’s exactly what they needed,” she said.