Biggest Overachievers

The Woolies


What do you do when the one-day “pop-up art carnival” (aka one of the biggest, boldest and wildest festivals Providence has ever seen) you’ve created becomes simply too big to manage? Simple: you take a year off... then come back and expand it to three days. That’s just what the merry band of free spirits, artists, pranksters and makers behind Wooly Fair did after the wild success of 2011’s installment, “To the Moon.” (Each Wooly Fair has a theme.) “A bunch of us echoed the recurring sentiment from past Wooly Fairs, which was, F—k, that’s a lot of work for just one day,” explains founder Sam White. “We needed to reorganize and come back stronger. Wooly Fair doesn’t need to be bigger than it was. It needs to be better.” Of course, it’s both. The celebration has been redubbed Wooly Town, and The Woolies, a core group of artists, craftspeople and designers augmented by dozens of volunteers, have organized departments like “Power & Lights,” “Public Safety” and “Propaganda” to handle the workload. This year’s theme is “Off the Grid and On the Lamb.” That reflects The Woolies’ continued mission to be grassroots and handmade. The festival will be entirely self-powered, using something called “crank-a-watt” generators to run everything, including the stage and the lighting, on pedal and hand-cranked power. “Every attendee will be invited to step right up and power Wooly Town with body movement,” Sam notes. It’s a lot of work, but if you’ve ever been to a Wooly Fair before (or go to this year’s), you’ll know it’s worth all the effort. August 16-18 at The Steel Yard, 27 Sims Ave. 

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