The Cornell Bhangra dance troupe – in their 20th year as a campus organization – celebrates the inauguration at the afternoon Street Fair Aug. 25 on the Arts Quad.

Cornell’s community spirit on full view at inauguration Street Fair

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Lindsey Hadlock

Cornell President Martha Pollack enjoys a taste of Martha’s Bits & Bytes ice cream at the Street Fair.

A large, cheerful crowd of students, faculty, alumni, staff, local residents and campus visitors got a taste of the Cornell community spirit at the Street Fair on the Arts Quad Aug. 25. The event followed the installation of Martha E. Pollack as Cornell’s 14th president.

In front of the university’s original buildings, fairgoers took in the planetary heavens at an astronomy exhibit, picked international flavors to sprinkle onto corn, and watched student dance troupe Cornell Bhangra and other musical groups.

The fair featured three stages, 70 tents for exhibitors and 14 food vendors from Cornell and the local community who dished out 40 items.

With the quad’s sidewalks as their canvas, Anna Warfield ’18, Pauline Shongov ’18, William Demaria ’20 and Aiden Walker ’20 – members of the Art Majors Organization – chalked the commingled styles of artists such as the mind-bending James Turrell, modern expressionist Yayoi Kusama and the 17th-century Dutch painter Frans Hals.

The Big Red Bear and the Cornell Marching Band welcome students, faculty, alumni, staff and members of the Ithaca community to the Street Fair celebrating President Pollack’s inauguration.

The art tables – where visitors could create quick paintings – were packed. Ayesha Gagguturi ’21 quietly expressed her artistic self. “As a computer science major, you do a lot of coding,” she said. “In my field, often you don’t get to do this. It’s my release.”

Food could not be ignored. The line stretched an Arts Quad mile for Zell Alvarez’s Oompa Loompyas booth, which featured Filipino-style spring rolls called lumpias. Chris Shepherd ’19 patiently waited but minced no words about the chicken fusion: “It was like a cheesy explosion of beautiful flavor and deliciousness.”

Chef Christopher Bates, from F.L.X. Wienery, served delectable red hots topped with kimchi and cilantro.

The chalkboard rendering by artist Lydia Baulch ’19 of corn and other fresh street fare drew a steady stream of people to Cornell Dining’s food samples, given out by Noah Doshna ’21 and Katherine Barlow ’18.

Fencing demonstrations, art tables, informational booths and food punctuated the Street Fair.

Next door to the School of Hotel Administration’s Sno-Cone Station – featuring lemongrass, lime mint and elderberry flavors – cold beverages were served. Lecturer Doug Miller, who teaches about fermented grains, hard ciders and sake, spoke to fairgoers about titration, sugar and pH balance as he poured mango lemonade, hibiscus iced tea and ginger-birch soda.

Volunteer scoopers from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) bulked their arm muscles serving up the popular ice cream, Martha’s Bits & Bytes, a French vanilla featuring a banana swirl with soft brownie morsels and white chocolate flecks created for inauguration.

Liz Larsen ’20 reviewed the ice cream: “It’s not too sweet, so it is really a good flavor. It blended nicely and it is not overwhelming.” Elias Filfile ’20 said he could taste the natural flavors: “Yes, I’d eat it again.” Ethan Rappaport ’19 reported: “I’m a Hotelie, so I know my ice cream. It has a good amount of banana and the chocolate is well distributed. I’m a big fan.”

Hortus Forum members Hauk Boyes ’18, left, and Maya Gibbs ’19, right, help fairgoers place succulent plants into a living mural – that will spell CALS – short for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

In other booths, Hortus Forum, the undergraduate horticulture club, enlisted community members to create a living plant mural composed of varying succulent plants – spelling out CALS – with the Greek letter Delta serving as the “A.” Patty Chan ’18 said the Delta symbolizes the college as a life-changing experience.

Several College of Engineering student teams, such as Cornell Baja Racing, were on hand to talk about their projects. “You learn about engineering, it’s hands-on and you get to drive the vehicle. You can be another major. I’m geology,” said Jake Paul ’18, president of the Baja team. “It’s adrenaline-based fun.”

Electrical engineering senior lecturer Bruce Land relished the crowd. “This street fair was a terrific idea,” he said. “It was a chance to communicate with people we normally don’t see. I hope we get an opportunity to do this kind of thing again – it’s just like a trade show.”


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Blaine Friedlander