Big comeback celebrated for Montavilla Street Fair

See how many folks came to this grand event. And, learn about the Montavilla Jazz Festival, starting August 15 …

Thousands of visitors, from all over the metropolitan area, converge in outer East Portland onto the Montavilla Street Fair, held on SE Stark Street.

Story and Photos by David F. Ashton

Organizing large-scale public events is a challenge for volunteer-based organizations – especially when the group is a business association whose members also tend their businesses.

In 2011, leaders and members of the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) decided to show off the resurgence of their district by holding a street fair.

> East Portland News was there:
CLICK HERE to see the story about their first Montavilla Street Fair.

METBA held their second and third annual fairs in July of 2012 and 2013. But, because of a lull in support for the event, there was no street fair in 2014.

But, on Sunday, August 2, the fair returned and organizers went all-out – to the extent of getting a permit to close down SE Stark Street, from SE 76th and 82nd Avenues, right through downtown Montavilla.

The “comedy-rock juggernaut” Jenny Sizzler Band, closes its high-energy set.

Taking a break are Rob Chapman of Block Party Barricades, who helps out at the METBA booth along with Association President Steve Rice.

“It’s been an unbelievable amount of work,” admitted Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association President Steve Rice.

“But it looks like its worth it!” Rice added. “This has turned out to be very good for our neighborhood.”

“I’ve been a Montavilla resident for 11 years,” Rice told East Portland News. “I used to describe myself as living ‘near Mount Tabor’. Now, I’m proud to say that I live here in Montavilla. An event like this helps build the identity of the neighborhood. It makes this a place where people want to go to shop, eat, and socialize.”

Steve the Balloon Guy” twists up fun for kids at the fair.

In the back, to the right of the colorful tarp, Scott Dobson of Cascade Athletic Club leads energetic kids activities.

And folks did come to socialize, to visit with the 70 vendors and community organizations who tabled at the event, and to listen to music on three stages at the street fair. Many visitors from outside the neighborhood checked out the successful Montavilla Farmers Market at the west end of the street fair.

About 40 volunteers helped Rice present the street fair, he said. “Long-term, we hope to build on this. It shows people from all around Portland that Montavilla is here; that it is a destination to be visited!”

Thousands of visitors come to stroll along SE Stark Street during the Montavilla Street Fair.

And, the turnout was greater than any of the organizers anticipated. “We were hoping for about 3,000 people to come, and it looks like it will top out at 10,000 people at the 2015 edition of the Montavilla Street Fair.”

Rice asked us to mention the fair was supported by a grant from Venture Portland, and by their Presenting Sponsor, Bipartisan Café. For more information about METBA, see their website: CLICK HERE.

Montavilla Jazz Festival returns August 15 and 16
During the afternoon, and into the evening both days, the Montavilla Neighborhood Association presents their second annual Jazz Festival.

It features 13 Portland-based bands performing cutting-edge original jazz. Of special note is internationally-recognized pianist and educator Darrell Grant, featured as the headliner.

New, cool venue: This year, the festival will be held at Portland Metro Arts, 9003 SE Stark Street, 97216. For more information, or to sign up for their e-mail list, see their official website: CLICK HERE. If you have specific questions, contact Fritz Hirsch, Managing Director, at fritz@montavillajazzfest.com.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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