Lents Fair flourishes

Take a look, and you’ll see why thousands of outer East Portland folks came to celebrate the new incarnation of ‘Lents Founder’s Day’ …

Situated next to the Lents International Farmers Market, the Lents Fair proves to be a delightful destination for families from throughout the greater Portland metro area.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

What started as a celebration of the neighborhood’s founder, called “Lents Founders Day” – founded by Oliver P. Lent, this was the first outer East Portland area to be annexed into the City of Portland, about a century ago – appeared this August as the “Lents Fair”.

“We considered calling it the ‘Lents Founder’s Day Celebration and Fair’, but that’s quite a mouthful,” remarked Lents Fair Chair Robert Schultz.

The Killer Granddaddies, featuring lead singer (center) David Dahl of “Dave’s Killer Bread”, launches into a energetic rendition of the Stray Cats’ Stray Cat Strut.

Instead of being a street fair off SE Foster Road, or celebration held in Lents Park – this year the fair was held in the vacant lot, formerly the Lents Little League ballpark, along SE 92nd Avenue, just south of Harold Street.

Watching folks flood into the fair and browsing among vendors, as well as visiting with representatives of nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies, Schultz looked pleased.

“Something good that come from an event like this is that even people who don’t like each other, are today smiling at one another. In a politically-charged and emotionally-exasperated world, we’re offering neighbors and Lents visitors a calm and fun community-oriented place where people come together for a good time,” Schultz observed.

Here, in the very popular “Kids Village”, are well-loved family entertainers Dingo & Olive, along with organizers Robert Schultz and Sabina Urdes.

The reason for the fair’s success, Schultz reflected, are the volunteers who contribute about 600 hours of time to it – several of them for as much as eleven months before it takes place. “It’s with the help of volunteers like Char Pennie, David Potts, and our former neighborhood association Chair Sabina Urdes, that this fair continues!”

A popular returning attraction is the “Chicken Beauty Contest” – the winner of which receives a big gift pack, including chicken food from Foster Feed store.

“And, kudos to one of our best and most famous attractions, the ‘Chicken Beauty Contest’ – originated by, and continuing with the support of, volunteers Jonah Willbach and Maggie Kearns-Willbach,” Schultz told East Portland News.

“Every obstacle we encountered, especially in the last few weeks and days leading up to the fair, was overcome when our local Lents organizations stepped up and helped out,” marveled Schultz. “They were with us all the way!”

Showing off the robot of Lents-based Metal Beavers FRC Team 1432 is Jacob Purvis.

With lots to see and do at this year’s Lents Fair, people leave happy, organizers say.

By the end of the day, an estimated 3,000 people had come and enjoyed this year’s Lents Fair.

“When you see people smiling and interacting with our activities, presenters, and vendors, and then walk away happy, it makes this effort all worthwhile,” Schultz concluded with a smile.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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