Montavilla Street Fair teems with visitors

If you missed this lively event, take a look at the huge throng of folks who partook of this outer East Portland summer fair. If you were there, relive the memories …

Crowds of people visit this year’s Montavilla Street Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Six years ago, when members of the Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) held their first fair along SE Stark Street, they wondered if anyone would attend their event, tucked in as it was along the road on side streets. They did.

Three years, ago, the volunteers stepped up event by getting permits to close SE Stark Street from SE 76th to 80th Avenues for a day – and then the Montavilla Street Fair really caught fire.

This year, even with a blazing sun heating both the pavement and the participants on July 30, Montavilla’s main street was packed with participants enjoying the day.

Lots of shoppers visit vendors at the Montavilla Farmers Market.

Since it was a Sunday, the Montavilla Farmers Market was open as usual, near the west end of the celebration.

“Our volunteers kept count, and we had about 4,500 shoppers visit our market – about 1,000 more than last year,” market manager Amanda Cross told East Portland News. “We’re excited the Street Fair brought our market to the attention of Montavillans who never knew they had this resource for fresh, local food in their own back yard and  we expect we’ll see them again over the rest of the season!”

Nate Davis of Mt. Tabor Cross Fit helped raise money for the street fair by taking a turn in the dunk tank.

METBA members Diana Moore of Eco Baby Gear, Tina Granzo from City Beautiful Design and association President Stephen Rice pause for a photo during the massively successful event.

“Seeing nothing but smiling faces going by, up and down the street today, makes it well worth the effort,” said METBA President Stephen Rice with a big grin. “This is the biggest Street fair so far; we’re on track to have as many as 16,000 people visiting here today!”

Those new to it say a street fair of this magnitude is an “instant success”. But, not really. “It comes about as a result of six months of hard work by a dedicated team of about a about dozen people who of met every month – and also by some 30 volunteers who help with activities the fair, as well as tidying up and replacing filled trash bags,” commented Rice.

Cooking traditional treats is Maggie Armstrong of Philippine Market.

Jeweler Yvonne Dollard shows one of her stunning works for sale.

“We think of the business district as a community hub; a place for all of our neighbors, and people from surrounding communities, to come in and enjoy food or drink and entertainment, purchase a few things, run into their friends, and be a part of all the wonderful amenities that the Montavilla neighborhood can provide,” Rice said.

Evan Zafra gets his first pony ride at the Montavilla Street Fair.

Kelli Welli and friend entertains in KidVilla.

A total of 12 bands played from three music stages, providing a soundtrack for the fair. “Don’t forget about ‘KidVilla’, providing live music, kid friendly games, pony rides, even kid yoga!” said street fair manager Katie Meyer.

“It is gratifying for us to see all of these people out here today; and, seeing this, we feel somewhat amazed that this is happened,” Rice commented.

To METBA members and affiliates, the success of the street fair shows the health of their community, Rice added.

Rocking out on the East Stage is the Rockit Szienze Band.

“It’s our businesses that make this a vibrant overall community. We have many great local sponsors who help underwrite the approximately $20,000 it costs to put this on every year,” commended Rice.

And so went the afternoon, with visitors ducking out of the sun under vendors’ canopies, enjoying prepared food cooked fresh along the street, listening to music, and visiting.

There’s no other summertime event in outer East Portland like the Montavilla Street Fair!

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News



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