CAZENOVIA — Cazenovia College will host the first annual Wildcats Wellness and Cultural Fair on Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 27 to encourage holistic wellness within the student body and the surrounding community.
The college will host more than 35 vendors from the Cazenovia/Manlius area that promote any of the eight aspects of wellness — physical, emotional, occupational, social, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and financial.
“[Our goal is] to help our community and students find a balance in their lives to achieve a higher level of wellness in life,” said Cazenovia College Aquatics and Fitness Coordinator/Adjunct Instructor Tiffany Weiskotten.
According to Weiskotten, who is organizing the fair with support from Student Affairs and Athletics, the weekend is focused on overall wellness, not just on improving one or two areas.
“Wellness can’t really happen until you address every aspect, and I think many people leave out certain things, thinking they aren’t significant enough,” she said. “But the reality is that if we are failing in one or two areas of wellness, it brings our overall feelings of thriving down making people feel lost and alone.”
Friday, Aug. 26
On Friday, the fair will kick off with the “Chalk Talk down Liberty Street” art contest from 3 to 7 p.m.
Presented by Cazenovia College Athletics’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) group, the event will take place in front of the Stephen M. Schneeweiss Athletic Complex at 18 Liberty Street.
Artists can sign up to advocate for their favorite positive cause and “bring a voice” to the streets with their artwork.
Each artwork submissions (4 ft x 4 ft) can be completed by up to four artists. Chalk will be provided, but participants can also bring their own brushes and water. Only artist-rendered templates are permissible.
The deadline to enter is Aug. 26 at 3 p.m. All chalking must be completed between 3 and 7 p.m.
Awards will be announced following the event.
According to Weiskotten, the idea for the Chalk Talk came from the student “walkout” at Cazenovia College last year.
“They wanted a voice,” she said. “They felt as if they had no other way to communicate or take a stand. I wanted to design an idea that gave them a voice and could utilize the many [students] who chose to attend here for the amazing art department we have. Our community also has a great artistic population, and I felt it was someplace that we could have a safe conversation and make a difference. I met with Hannah Tigh and Rasul Jackson, who run the Athletics’ DEI group, and they really supported the idea.”
The college will host a barbeque near the contest from 4 to 6 p.m. for visitors to stop by and watch the artists at work.
At 8 p.m., Campus Activities will screen a movie on the quad.
Saturday, Aug. 27
The First Annual Wildcat 5K Walk/Run and 1-Mile Fun Run (for kids 12 and under), both presented by the Cazenovia College Fitness Center, will be held Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The course will take runners and walkers through the trails at Meier’s Creek Brewing Company and Lorenzo State Historic Site.
Registration is $30 for the 5K and $15 for the Fun Run. Proceeds will support CazCares food pantry and clothing closet.
Participants who bring non-perishable food donations or gently used, clean articles of clothing for CazCares will be entered into a special drawing.
Cash prizes will be awarded to the race winners.
Following the race, participants and members of the public are invited to the college quad on Nickerson Street from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for raffles, give aways, prizes, vendors promoting the eight aspects of wellness, activities (inflatables, pickleball, fitness class samples), music, dancing, and the Birdsong Café food truck. The after-race gathering is sponsored by Wegmans. After the event, visit the Farmers’ Market (9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Village Green) or walk to the Cazenovia Public Library for its first volunteer fair (12:30 to 3:30 p.m.).
The college will be opening its indoor pickleball courts to the public for free play and/or instruction from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Paddles and balls will be available to borrow.
At 7:30 p.m., the First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia (27 Albany St.) will host a concert by Kumara, a trio featuring an African musician, a Classical musician, and a New York City session musician. The members are Samite (African harps, vocals, kalimba, flute), Shem Guibbory (violin), and Sean Harkness (guitars). The concert is sponsored by the Society for New Music and the First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia.
The fair is open to the public and, apart from the barbeque and 5K, all aspects are free.
Weiskotten, whose husband’s family is from Cazenovia, said she is aware that many community members are often looking for things to do and places to visit locally. She also said she recognizes that the college’s student population struggles to find connections and things to do in the area.
The idea for the fair, she explained, was inspired by a desire to connect people, both within the college and the broader Cazenovia community.
“When I was in college, we started off the semester with a big weekend,” she said. “It was a great way to meet new friends [and] find new hobbies and interests. After COVID, people, both students and community members, have really struggled to regain so much of our social wellness, so I wanted to put an emphasis on that. I wanted to find a way to bring the college together with the community like we do in the Fitness Center, but I also wanted to find a way to bring harmony to our community.”
Weiskotten is originally from the Buffalo area, and she worked in the schools and lived in the neighborhood surrounding the Tops Friendly Market where 10 Black people were killed and three other people were injured by a white gunman on May 14, 2022.
She had just started planning for the fair to center around Cazenovia College’s Athletics’ DEI group when she heard the news of the mass shooting, she recalled.
“I wanted to find a positive solution — something I could start a conversation with, that would bring people together with common ground items, such as art, music, and dance,” she said.
Weiskotten also described the fair as an opportunity for the college to include everyone and help improve people’s relationships with each other and the community.
“With the focus being on overall wellness, we can seed support of diversity and inclusion, a much-needed aspect in our holistic journey of wellness,” she said. “Until we can work together, our students and children will continue to feel lost and alone. Wellness also plays a key role in learning, and as an institution of higher education, that is our goal — to educate. If we foster wellness in everyone, at every level, in every aspect, we are better prepared to grow intellectually.”
Register for the Wildcats Wellness and Cultural Fair events at cazenovia.edu/wellness-and-cultural-fair.
Questions about the fair can be directed to Weiskotten at 315-655-7106 or [email protected].