Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Mixed reviews for Street Fair

Citizen Staff Writer



The 40th annual Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair has wrapped up, after drawing an estimated 300,000 Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with mixed reviews.

Some said the money was good, even with a faltering national economy.

Other said not as much was being spent by visitors this year.

“I think we’ve had a good turnout of people. Despite all the bad news about the economy, people have decided to go to the fair,” said Kanella Conklin, owner of Kanella’s, a North Fourth Avenue clothing store.

John Sedwick, executive director of the North Fourth Avenue Merchants Association, said the word he was getting from art-booth operators was the revenue from sales at the fair were down about 20 percent.

But vendors, many of whom follow a circuit of street fairs around the country, report that revenue at other street fairs is down 30 to 50 percent, Sedwick said.

“People are not spending at the level of past years, but the artists are pleased,” Sedwick said.

Monica Cota, 34, owner of the Rustic Candle Co. said of the fair, “It’s been good, but it’s been a little slower than the winter one.” A street fair is also held along the avenue in the winter.

People are holding back, “maybe a little,” on their spending because of the economy, said Cota, whose business is on North Fourth.

But, Cota said, “in general, I think it’s going well.”

The street fair, Sedwick said, featured 400 booths, with merchants selling such things as ethnic foods from a variety of cultures, including Greek, Mexican and Thai foods. There also were a variety of arts and crafts and T-shirts being sold along the avenue.

There also were street jugglers, a kids’ hands-on art pavilion, face painting, balloons and a Ferris wheel for the kids, Sedwick said.

In past years, Sedwick said, the fail has drawn between 200,000 and 400,000 people.

The fair, Sedwick said, helps fund a number of non-profit charities each year.

Among those at the fair Sunday were Hector Garcia and his wife, Delores, in Tucson for the weekend from El Paso, Texas, to see a Diamondbacks spring training game.

With the couple was their 9-year-old daughter, Alejandra Garcia.

Sunday was her first time at the street fair and she said, “It’s good, lots of things to look at.

Her mother said the family had not bought anything at the fair other than food, but that was only because they had just arrived early Sunday afternoon.

“We just barely got here,” Delores Garcia said.

She said her family decided to come to the fair after seeing an information pamphlet about it at their hotel.

Street fair organizers say sales may have been off as much as 20 percent

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