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“Let the Sun Shine In” Parade to Celebrate 50th Corn Hill Arts Festival

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Corn Hill Arts FestivalBy Elaine Lennox, Corn Hill Arts Festival Sponsor/Media Chair

The 2018 Corn Hill Arts Festival will celebrate its roots which began in 1969 on Greenwood Street. Fifty years ago, the early organizers were mostly young adults and college art students attending the downtown RIT campus. They chose to live in Corn Hill because of the proximity to the school and for the cheap rents and affordable home buying opportunities

Their quest to rehab and preserve the homes in the neighborhood had the secondary benefit of developing strong community bonds which remain as one of the main focuses of the Corn Hill Neighbors Association.

1969 was an unmistakably fascinating and historically important year. Our country was in turmoil due in part to the growing disillusionment with the Vietnam War, and protest marches filled campuses and streets. In the same year, the Stonewall Riots occurred in NYC, which are considered the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the U.S.

Fast forward to 2018. The 50th Annual Festival will be looking back to some other “Let the Sun Shine In” Parade to Celebrate 50th Corn Hill Arts Festival significant events in 1969 with our “Let the Sun Shine In” celebratory revival parade! It will course through the Festival starting at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 14, beginning on Adams and Eagle Streets and ending at noon at the Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare (SBH) Main Stage, where there will be a special concert featuring music from 1969 by the band InsideOut.

Floats will feature the historic Apollo 11 Lunar Landing, the Woodstock Music Festival, the Beatles Abbey Road album, classic toys of the 1960s, and the first Corn Hill Arts Festival. The icons will animate as they reach different locations and visitors can expect a lively event with costumed dancers. The parade will be produced by local artist Shawn Dunwoody and NTID assistant professor Thomas Warfield, who will choreograph the dance and movement segments.

Our grand marshals for this event are Harry and Reggie Salis, longtime residents of the Corn Hill neighborhood. Harry organized the Festival’s car shows for many years, and they will be riding in a Classic Chevy Impala convertible!

Following the noon concert, the iconic floats will be placed at various locations throughout the Festival for neighbors and visitors to enjoy. We encourage everyone to come out, dress in your grooviest 1969 clothing, and participate in this special event!

Look for parade route details in City Newspaper’s Official Festival Guide and online at