Despite holding peaceful street fairs two years in a row, the Community Board of Greenwich Village, CB2, voted against allowing the Wiccan Family Temple from holding a third annual fair this coming July.
Board members are worried that the organization is not connected enough to the neighborhood to allow them to hold the fair, which, if permitted, would take place in Astor Place. CB2 is unsure if the WitchsFest meets the criteria for street faris, which requires them to have an “indigenous” relationship to the street or at least to the neighborhood in general.
A representative of the Wiccan Family Temple, Starr Ravenhawk, explained that the fair, planned for July 12, would bring vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities and a summer solstice ritual to Astor Place between Broadway and Lafayette Street.
“We are a pagan temple,” Ravenhawk explained to CB2 at last Thursday night’s board meeting. “We belong everywhere in Manhattan because we have and hold our services everywhere in Manhattan.”
Last year the fair was held without incident in Astor Place and in 2012 in Union Square.
Chairman of the Sidewalks and Street Committee, Maury Schott, said the issue revolves around “what indigenous means, the rules say indigenous to a specific street.”
Last year the SSC was split evenly on the Wiccan street fair application and therefore did not make a recommendation either way. The full board eventually approved the application in a unanimous vote. This year, however, the full board voted to deny the application. There is still a chance, however, for the application to receive approval. The board’s opinion is merely advisory. The mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office is the place where the final decision is made.
Ravenhawk explained that she is going to send a letter to each member of CB2, and also the state attorney general.
“Some of what they said [at the meeting] was very inflammatory,” Ravenhawk said.