Lents Community Fair burgeons

As you’ll see, they didn’t ‘chicken out’ about holding their fowl contest at this outer East Portland fair in Lents Park …

Located along the south edge of Lents Park, the 2017 Lents Street Fair attracts many participants and thousands of guests.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After hosting the Lents Street Fair at several locations, organizers moved it back to the southwest corner of Lents Park – the home of Lents Founder’s Day, the event’s antecedent – on August 6, to great success.

The question on the minds of many was, “Will the ‘Most Beautifulist Chicken Beauty Contest’ return to the Lents Street Fair?” And the answer was yes, it did!

Featured again this year was the “Most Beautifulist Chicken Beauty Contest”, catching the attention of many visitors.

“We certainly had no expectations when we started the ‘Most Beautifulist Chicken Beauty Contest’ that it would continue after the first year – but now, in our third year, we’re very pleased to welcome a large turnout of entries every year,” grinned contest co-creator and organizer Jonah Willbach.

Showing off the trophy for the competition they created are co-creators and organizers Jonah Willbach and Maggie Kearns.

“The Grand Prize is the trophy that is engraved ‘2017 Most Beautifulist Chicken Beauty Contest – Lents Street Fair’, and they also get a gift basket from Scratch & Peck Feed, and other goodies,” added co-creator and organizer Maggie Kearns. “And, all of our entrants get a 50 pound bag of chicken feed from Foster Feed.”

Willbach commented that, this year, the competition hosted 19 entries, and visitors to the fair cast votes for their favorite fowl.

“Cordon Bleu” is voted “Most Beautifulist Chicken” in Lents this year. Tamara Simmons photo

After it was over, and all the feathers had settled, 651 votes had been cast, and the First Place trophy and crowing rights went to “Cordon Bleu”, a 4-month-old white crested blue Polish hen owned by Tamara Simmons, the organizers told East Portland News.

With the fair well underway, taking a break is Lents Fair Committee Chair Robert Schultz.

“It’s true, many of the places where we’ve had this fair in the past have gone from empty lots to construction zones,” observed Lents Fair Committee Chair Robert Schultz, in discussing the new location. “But honestly, I think it really deserves to be here, in Lents Park.”

Internationally famous rock band The Slants pause for a photo just before going on stage.

Instead of getting smaller at their new location – situated blocks away from SE Foster Road and 92nd Avenue – this year they hosted about 100 vendors the organizer said.

“We have some businesses making sales, and many nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies sharing information, fast food to enjoy, and we even had some young buskers showing up throwing some yo-yos around,” remarked Schultz.

Lifelong neighbor Ray Hites again sets up his pictorial display of Lents history.

The tradition of holding Lents Founder’s Day goes back a century, when the neighborhood was first annexed into the City of Portland, Schultz reminded – adding that he hopes it, in some form, will continue to be a keystone event for the community far into the future.

“The best part is seeing happy people,” Schultz said. “Our community deserves this; celebrating our community, and having it come alive and be happy.

“I stepped up and took a more prominent role this year because I believe this event helps bring our neighborhood together. The core team is probably 10 or 15 people; but today, we had about 150 volunteers helping us out!”

Zenger Farm Community Chef Paula Hernandez demonstrates how she prepares zucchini, fried chilies, onions, and spices to make zucchini tacos.

“We welcome anyone and everyone interested in this project to help us make next year’s fair even better; e-mail us at lentsfair@Gmail.com” Schultz concluded.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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