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(Recommended) Willy Street Fair this weekend

For a lot of people..the Willy Street Fair is bittersweet. It's one of the city's best, most unusual neighborhood festivals, but it also marks the end of summer.  If you've never been there..it's hard to explain. Mix in some tie-dye and political activism with great live music, food and beer, and throw in some bubbles for good measure, and that might give you a bit of an idea. Saturday, the Willy Street Fair features 3 stages with a variety of live music options on the 800 block of Williamson Street.  This year, the Fair is continuing its relationship with the Madison World Music Festival to bring some really outstanding entertainment our way. Click here to see the entire World Music Festival schedule. (It actually gets underway Thursday at the Wisconsin Union Theatre). As I looked at the list, one act really jumped out at me as one to see. Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars are a group of musicians who escaped the horrific violence of Sierra Leone's civil war, landed in a West African refugee camp and formed a band to keep their spirits up and their hopes alive. You can catch their performance Saturday at 7:15pm. Sunday the fun continues on the 800 to 1000 blocks of  Willy Street, starting off with the world's coolest parade at 11am. This is not your typical "bring out all the fire trucks and Shriners' kind of parade. In fact, any one can join this rag-tag assemblage! Look for Triple M's Gabby Parsons and some lucky Triple M listeners waving to the crowd from a super-snazzy convertible. There are five stages filled with a wide variety of acts on Sunday. Here are my picks: The Jimmys 4pm on the Main Stage. Led by Triple M's favorite rock and roll farmer, the newly married Jimmy Voegeli on keys, the Jimmys are guaranteed to get our mojo working! Wayne Baker Brooks 5pm on the Main Stage: Wayne continues the rich heritage of his dad Lonnie Brooks, with a "liquid fire" guitar style and passionate vocals. Purgatory Hill w/Pat MacDonald + Melanie Jane. 5:50pm on the Underground Stage. Yes, that Pat MacDonald, whose future was so bright he had to wear shades back in his Timbuk3 days. But don't expect to hear that song. This band's music is described as "a shocking reinvention of blues and rock music." That's just a tiny sliver of what you can experience on Saturday and Sunday. There's also a kids stage, a folk stage and a culture stage.  See the complete schedule here. The Willy Street Fair is a benefit for Commonwealth Development and the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, so you can have a good time and know you're doing good at the same time. See you there! --Kitty Dunn..Willy Street Fair attendee, 20 years and counting! (Thanks to Gabby for the pics)
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