I grew up in Seattle during the 60’s and 70’s, also known as the “Hippie Era.” Nothing expressed the best side of this counterculture movement more than The University Street Fair. Booths lined along “The Ave” filled the senses with Patchouli, incense and ethnic food aromas. Exotic imports and indie crafts fulfilled gift buying needs. Spending the day indulging in falafels and pine nuts (a novelty back then) dispensed from a gumball machine, while watching the street performers and listening to dulcimer music is one of my fondest memories.
There are still many long-running street fairs all across the nation that are creating memories and traditions in a new generation of fair goers. Drawing from their own regions and customs, these street fairs have stood the test of time. Here are a few of our favorites.
4th Avenue Street Fair-Tucson, Arizona
The 4th Avenue Street Fair is Tucson’s largest venue for arts and crafts. With over 400 artist’s booths and 35 food booths, it draws vendors from all over and crowds of up to 350,000. It is held in April and December.
Pecan Street Festival-Austin, Texas
In May and September, one of the largest and longest-running street fairs in the nation will offer fair-goers 24 blocks of art, crafts, music, food and much more.
Big Fork Festival of the Arts-/Big Fork, Montana
Beginning in 1978, the Big Fork Festival of the Arts offers arts, crafts, food, music and entertainment. The fair takes place in August in the “most picturesque town in the northwest” according to Sunset Magazine.
Hyde Park Street Fair-Boise, ID
This is the 37th year for the Hyde Park Street Fair, held in September. The street fair includes vendor booths, kids activities, food, music, beer and wine gardens and a whole lot of entertainment.
Aurora Farmers Fair-Aurora Indiana
One of Indiana’s oldest festivals, the Aurora Farmers Fair combines State Fair with Street fair, including food vendors, music, a carnival, exhibition entries and even a parade. The fair takes place this year the end of Sept/beginning of October.