Street Fairs are back and not without a sense of Portland irony.
We have had two deadly heat waves this summer, so of course it rained on the day of the Hawthorne Street Fair.
Not wanting to find the place overcrowded in these Delta-variant times, we walked down early. In fact, some vendors weren’t even set up yet. But we wore our masks (as did a lot of folks) and got some books and yarn from Backstory Books’ sidewalk sale. We stepped into the Gold Leaf & Alter art gallery and got to see their offerings while visiting with jeweler Judy Goldblatt.
There were groups making music….
As the rain came (sometimes in buckets!) and went, we walked the street, talked with folks, and remembered the many reasons we love Portland.
A delicious “Ethiopian taco” (actually injera, a flatbread, served with a spicy chicken curry) from “Spice of Africa” was our lunch. We ate it under the shelter of an out of service bus stop during the heaviest of the rain.
Grandpa Nelson was the first customer of the day for Two Wahine’s Shave Ice. We signed political petitions and talked with folks about their dogs.
Even the Multnomah County Health Services got into the act, giving vaccinations right across the street from the Bread and Ink Cafe.
We were back home, changing out of wet socks, before the crowds kicked in. It was a wonderful, perfectly Portland day.
Sunday was another full day. As Summer comes to an end, it feels like we are all trying to fit as much sunshine time in before Autumn chases the big events indoors.
Auntie Bridgett was busy most of the day, helping host Mimosa Sunday at the SideStreet Gallery. Grandpa Nelson and I walked down to the Hawthorne Street Fair to see what was going on there. The weather was cool enough that I actually wore my jacket and hat!
The booths were a lively mix of local artisans, people with political agendas, and established businesses hoping to pull in some new clients. The more interesting of the first was a lady (whose name I neglected to get) whose company, Deja, makes lamps from old 33 mm film strips. Each lamp has film from a particular movie…my favorite was “ParaNorman”. The strips of film are hand-crocheted together to make lampshades. The lamps aren’t very bright, but are delightfully moody and I love the re-use of materials.
Another a creative example of re-use was this dress made entirely out of beer bottle caps. at The House of Resource booth. Each bottle cap was hammered flat, pierced, and strung to its fellows with a slightly stretchy rubber strip. I imagine it would need an undergarment and would be very heavy, but it was wonderfully creative.
A booth with a very unusual political agenda was the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. This is a group of folks who see humanity as a real blight on the Earth, the one species that seems to be making it harder for all the others, as well as ourselves. They say that fewer humans would make a healthier planet and advocate that humans stop reproducing, or, if we have already, don’t pressure our children to. The members of the movement that I met are very positive, cheerful people, who just want to make sure people understand that, when it comes to population, sometimes less is more.
Pets and their people are always a big part of Portland events. We met Millie, a dog who must weigh over 100 pounds, and Hollandaise, a hen who looked very well cared for.
Grandpa Nelson and I got tired and went back home, and then Auntie Bridgett got done at the SideStreet Gallery. She and I walked to the library to return some books and then went back to the fair! I was totally worn out by the time we got home for dinner. We had planned to go to Laurelhurst Park for another symphony concert, but we were done in.
I am sad to say that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and we sure had it yesterday. We slept like rocks and today are enjoying the sounds of men pressure-washing the building prior to re-painting.
As if our weekend wasn’t full enough with our new car, Sunday was the Hawthorne Street Fair. They close the street for 10 blocks and all sorts of folks set up tents to share their ideas and talents, and sell their things.
Auntie Bridgett spent the morning at a drawing “meet up” at the Portland Museum of Art, where artists look at art, draw about it, and talk about it. So Grandpa Nelson and I did the first part of the Fair by ourselves. First, we stopped at the Bazi Bierbrasserie because Grandpa Nelson had heard about their french fries and wanted to try them out. They and my “velgi” burger were very good, and the cider and beer were light and cold, just what was needed on a hot day. Outside the brasserie was a “Human Foosball” game, where four guys….well, you get the idea. Have a look at the picture.
Out on the street, there were food booths selling Cajun, Hawaiian, Lebanese, Mexican, Filipino, and American food. Pork, beef, chicken, tofu, if it could be fried, spiced and wrapped in something, it was for sale. It all smelled so yummy! There were also Gelato carts, shave ice trucks, and tents just giving away free cold water to anyone who needed it. These were all very popular.
There were political action booths, asking people to sign petitions, buy t-shirts, or volunteer to save the planet, the country, the forests and just about anything else you can think of. These were interesting but a little dangerous, because if you asked the folks about their cause they were so passionate, it was hard to walk away!
Auntie Bridgett joined us as the day was getting really warm. There were booths selling music! Old vinyl records by the box load called to us, but since we gave away our old turntable when we moved, we didn’t stop. A fellow named Sonny was selling guitars and ukeleles that he built from beautiful cigar boxes, and Auntie Bridgett gave them a try.
Musicians of every age were sitting, standing, or dancing, and playing music with their boxes set out for donations. The youngest were about 13, two girls playing ukeleles behind a sign that said “Tip the musicians (but don’t knock them over)”.
Auntie Bridgett hadn’t had lunch and we were all ready to fall over from the heat (we are not used to 98 degrees!) so we stopped in at the lovely and air conditioned Chez Machin. This french style creperie is friendly, small, and serves both savory and sweet crepes and drinks. The sit-down, cool air, and food were exactly what was needed.
After looking at hats from Ray’s Classic Collection shop and some vintage clothing, we decided it was time to head home. We all had some downtime, read, or napped. In the evening was the final performance of the summer “Music in the Parks” program, so we walked to Laurelhurst Park with our dinner and listened to the Providence band play jazz, big band music, and even some disco. People danced, kids played, and the sun went down. It was lovely.
On the way home, we saw that the flamingos had changed again! They were apparently home from their camping trip and were ready to go back to school! This running story played out on a lawn just cracks me up, and it is so ….Portland.