On Saturday the only traffic jam in the South Perry neighborhood was the one created by the crowd of children swarming the animal balloon man during the 16th annual South Perry Street Fair.
Perry Street was shut down south of Ninth Avenue, and vendors that usually set up in Grant Park were able to line the streets, which pleased organizers from the South Perry Business and Neighborhood Association. This is the first time the street fair was actually held in the street.
“It’s a different feel,” Ian Sullivan said. “Bigger, more positive energy.”
Sarah Berentson, who is also part of the association, said she liked the change as well. “It’s nice to have it more centered in the neighborhood,” she said.
All the popular neighborhood restaurants were open – South Perry Pizza, The Shop, Casper Fry – and had street fair menus outside as well. The Lantern Tap House and the Perry Street Brewing Co. were serving beer inside and in an outdoor beer garden. Live music was scheduled all afternoon and evening.
An eclectic mix of vendors lined the street. A tarot card reader was a couple of booths down from South Perry Yoga, which was directly across from a tie-dye T-shirt vendor. The Therapeutic Connections School of Massage was offering free massages right next to the booth manned by Derrick Oliver, who was selling posters and stickers emblazoned with the Riverfront Park skyline and the words “Spokane doesn’t suck.”
“I started hearing a lot of haters on Spokane,” explained Oliver. “It just bothered me for a really long time.”
He started with a “Spokane Doesn’t Suck” blog and started posting pictures of Spokane scenes on Instagram. Then he drew up a design and printed some posters. “I thought I’d make a thing of it and see what happened,” he said.
Saturday’s fair was his first time being a vendor at a local festival. “I’m getting to meet the people who follow me on Instagram,” he said. “It seems like it will be a profitable 12 hours.”
There was also plenty for kids to do at the fair. There were crafts, a bounce castle and a water slide in Grant Park. Kids were also encouraged to decorate their bikes and join in a short parade at 10 a.m.
“It was packed,” Sullivan said. “The kids got lots of cheers and applause.”
Neighborhood resident Anna Rowe came to the street fair with her family, which included a 3-year-old Irish wolfhound named Ronan who is as big – or bigger – than a Shetland pony. “I like that it puts a positive focus on our community,” she said of the event. “I think it’s a family-friendly event.”
During her time at the fair she bought one of Oliver’s “Spokane doesn’t suck” posters. “I like the art, the look of it,” she said. “And I like his concept.”
There are plans to make the event bigger and better next year, including expanding the vendor area and adding a fashion show by the Veda Lux Boutique, Berentson said. The event is all about highlighting what the neighborhood has to offer, she said.
“There’s a lot happening here.”
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