Inaugural Blackbird Community Fair a Huge Success

Teens in uniform dresses hold hands and dance. The inaugural Blackbird Community Fair, held on May 18, surpassed all expectations, and was a joyful celebration of culture, community and connection. Community members of all ages were able to experience the vibrancy of our region. Over 30 community groups and school-based clubs participated. 

The fair featured performances, activities and tasty foods and gave all who attended a chance to learn more about their neighbors and strengthen bonds. Senior Jack Strauss says he learned a lot.

Three adults stand behind trays of Indian food.“This event was well done and I look forward to seeing what it will become,” Strauss said. “It is a great way to bring the opportunity to our community to learn about those around us so we can all work together and thrive in our community.”

Child digs in bag of dirt as woman observes.Brianna Olsen, who serves as the district’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, organized the event.

Teen at microphone with a guitar.“The idea for the Blackbird Community Fair was sparked by conversations with students about how we acknowledge and celebrate diversity within our community,” Olsen said. “The event highlights the commitment our school community has to promoting inclusivity and acceptance of differences.”  

Olsen says feedback from participants and attendees has been overwhelmingly positive.  

“The experience was amazing,” said Rebecca Tillou of FASD United.” Community is what it’s all about. Community builds connections and connections build solidarity.”

Two women sit at NAACP Albany Branch table.Dorothy Matthews of Helderview Garden Club, remarked on the power of the event to bring people together. 

“The festival provided an opportunity for people and organizations to learn more about the wonderful community that Voorheesville truly is.” stated Matthews. “I even met some of my close neighbors for the first time.”

Students wearing gi uniforms.Teacher and advisor Brian Kaplan noted that the event was well-received.

“In addition to the thrill of performing at the very first Blackbird Community Fair, many of the VCSD Middle School Jazz Band students were personally invested in the positive messages of diversity and acceptance in our community,” Kaplan said.

Child's hand and wrist adorned with henna flowers.The district anticipates building upon the success of the first Blackbird Community Fair in years to come. 

The Blackbird Community Fair included:

Albany County Department for Children, Youth and Families
Albany County Sheriff’s Department
Art Club
Bethlehem Traditional Irish Dance
Bring on the Spectrum
Capital District YMCA Black and Latino Achievers
Dollars for Scholars Voorheesville Chapter
FASD United
FBI Albany Bureau
Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York
Guilderland Martial Arts
Helderview Garden Club (appears twice)
Heldeberg Workshop
Lego League
Middle School Jazz Band
NAACP Albany Branch
NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
NYS Office of Mental Health
NYS Parks, Recreations and Historic Preservation
NYS Police
Parent to Parent of NYS
Pakistan Association of NY Capital District
Science Olympiads
Student Government
Student Vocalists
VCSD Student Government Association
Visibility Club
Voorheesville Public Library