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Old-fashioned street fair attracts big crowd to Garland Avenue

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 12, 2017, 7:51 p.m.

Thousands of people turned out for an old-fashioned neighborhood party Saturday as the 15th annual Garland Street Fair once again filled the streets with food, music and vendors.

Garland Avenue was shut down between Monroe and Howard streets for the event, which boasted 125 vendors and over a dozen musical groups.

People could snack on Shave Ice or stop for some fresh squeezed lemonade to go with their mini-donuts. Those in search of air conditioning could also duck into Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle for a burger and a milkshake or drop into one of several bars for a cold beer.

People seemed drawn to the motorized bikes on display from Spokane Electric Bike Rentals, marveling at their appearance, massive tires and sleek look. The custom made bikes can go up to 40 miles per charge and can go as fast as 27 miles per hour, said owner Joe Welk.

The bikes are pedal-assist, meaning that people can use the motor as much or as little as they like. “They’ll go right up a hill,” Welk said.

The bikes have proven to be very popular, Welk said. “We rent them to familiarize people with them,” he said.

Chris and Rick Hryoenko snacked on Shave Ice as they walked the streets and contemplated getting street tacos. “We’re just walking the perimeter right now,” Rick Hryoenko said. “There’s so much to see.”

His wife said they were making their first visit to the annual festival. “We missed all those years,” she said. “We love it.”

“I had no idea,” Rick Hryoenko said. “It’s huge.”

Carrie Isham grew up just down the street from the Garland district and has been coming to the street fair for years. Now she brings her young grandchildren to the event. “They enjoy it,” she said.

Saturday’s experience didn’t exactly go as planned, however. Isham’s mother passed out in the heat and was tended to by paramedics before her husband took her home to recover.

Still, Isham stayed behind and waited as her two granddaughters decided what to get painted on their faces, probably a flower or star or “something princessy.” Isham said she likes being able to support the local vendors who come to the street fair.

“It’s good for our neighborhood,” she said.