I flew home today from Oregon just I time to visit my neighbourhood street fair / block party.
Now, make no mistake, our street fair is a bit large. We close a four lane street and re-route the streetcars. It’s about 2-3 miles long. 10′s of thousands of people come. There are 100′s of tents and booths. There were 3-4 outdoor beer halls. I saw three packed dance floors on the street. There were about 10 stages with constant music – rock, Polish, Chilean, kids, folk, soloists, and more. There were artists and crafts. The military was there with a few army vehicles for the kids to climb on. There was food galore of every type. I had my favourite trash food – corn dogs. I also had some delicious Ontario corn grilled in the husk and drenched in butter and salt. I topped it all off with a Beaver Tail. Mmmmmm. I avoided the deep-fried cheesecake, deep-fried butter sticks, deep-fried Mars bars, deep-fried bananas, deep-fried pineapple, and other deep-fried stuff. I stuck with other heart attack inducing stuff.
There were so many people. Many were in national dress, especially loads of Polish and Ukrainian outfits. I also saw Chilean, Andean, Peruvian, and more. Does Goth and Punk count as national dress? ;-) Some were performing and just stayed dresed up. There were a bunch of Buskers that everyone loved – - unicyclists, magicians, fire eaters, clowns, jugglers, robot people, comics, and more. Just about every local church, synagogue, mosque, and storefront preacher was out in their booth with literature and crafts.
It was fun to watch the kids’ reactions where all this stuff is still fresh and magical. There were a bunch of rides like Merry-Go-Rounds, trains, and such. And the usual carnie stuff and games. The kids were laughing all the way.
My neighbourhood has changed a little over the last few years. It still has all the stuff that attracted us to it but now there is a hipster migration into the neighbourhoos and that’s fun too. All these hipster puppies – both the dog and human kind in strollers are all over. We now have at least 7 custom dog food stores and beauty salons for pets. Our restaurants have been diversified – still all the great ethnic places but now we have a bunch of vegan, vegetarian, lactose-free, gluten-free, additive-free, organic, humane food places and menu additions. I like the small lot fresh food, specialty cheese and jam store. I swear there’s one place that says their chickens died young of natural causes after a great life running in clover and daisies. They all had stuff at the fair. There are now a bunch of new independent and small bistros owned by young hipster couples that are very cool and have great patios and menus.
One of my favourite things is that there were bubble machines all up and down the street filling the air with irridescent bubbles. Just magical in the sunset.
The library branch is on this street but I didn’t seem their booth. The Ontario Library Association was at the “EX” (Canadian National Exhibition) this year promoting the Forest of Trees reading program and summer reading clubs. That was great to see.
Anyway, today was a good day.