University District Street Fair

University District Street Fair


The earliest in the season of the various outdoor festivals and events in Seattle, the University District or U-District Street Fair is a mid-May festival of crafts, artists and musicians lining the street known as the Ave. Officially called “University Way,” the Ave is the main drag that runs parallel to the campus of the University of Washington, and the street fair is its annual heyday, as it is closed to traffic and becomes a colorful pedestrian walkway filled with local vendors hawking their wares.

The U-District Street Fair is the longest running street festival in the entire country and has the unique origins to explain why it started and why it has lasted so long. The Street Fair was started in 1970 to heal a neighborhood that had been divided and devastated by war protests and had ongoing tension issues between hippies and residents. The festival concept was not warmly greeted by many local businesses, but it turned out to be a success and has continued on for over forty years now. The festival itself strives to please the many different communities that share the Ave, from the University of Washington students who learn there, to the residents who live there permanently with families, from the ‘Ave Rats’ (a nickname for the local street kids who gather there) to the local shop owners. A successful event each year, it brings out the best in everyone, truly drawing the community together through the various booths and activities. Throughout the fair one can find a variety of artists, jewelers, face painters and stores, non-profits from throughout the community discussing the ways people can help the community, musicians playing on the various stages and any number of different types of activities for children attending the festival. At any of the local festivals there is food, art and good times, as you there is here, but for the kick-off event of the festival season and for a feeling of friendship and community not found at any of the others, the University District Street Fair is a must.

Read More: http://www.udistrictchamber.org




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