Arlington Street Fair has big turnout, new features

ARLINGTON — After more than two decades, Arlington’s annual Street Fair still offered attendees new avenues of entertainment this year.

“The Purse Lady” Debbie Whitis chaired the event for the first time this year and credited pleasant weather, local newspaper coverage, and a mix of new features and familiar favorites with drawing plenty of foot traffic to Olympic Avenue from July 8-10.

“We must have had at least twice as many visitors this year as last year,” said Whitis, who’s been a vendor at the Street Fair for the past four years. “On Sunday, we didn’t officially start up until 11 a.m., but I’d already sold my first bag by 9:30 a.m. We’ve gotten so much positive feedback that we’ve already started signing vendors up for next year.”

Arlington’s Logan Springer, 7, climbed his first rock wall on Olympic Avenue on July 8, even though his family has attended the Street Fair for the past three years.

“Don’t look down,” Logan advised any other would-be rock wall climbers. Although he came close to the top, the same view from on high that he enjoyed also made him hesitate too long and break his rhythm.

“I’ll reach it next time,” he added. “I’m pacing myself.”

“The Street Fair is good exercise and fun for the whole family,” said Logan’s mom, Summer Springer. “It’s close to home and lets us walk up and down the street with our kids on a wonderful day.”

Fellow Arlington resident Tammy Robinson got a colorful hair extension from Haimee Engstrom of the Oasis Hair Salon on July 8. While husband Dale teased her about going for the food, Tammy appreciates everything that she’s discovered in the past five years of attending the Street Fair.

“If you look around, you’ll always find something new and different, whether it’s jewelry or fun stuff like this,” Tammy said, pinching her hair extension.

“She’ll be climbing the rock wall next,” Dale joked.

“No, I won’t,” Tammy laughed.

Street Fair vendor Brad Grinage has made rustic woodworking a labor of love for the past 15 years. He’s applied the skills he picked up in building roof trusses toward creating organic-looking wooden chairs, stools, tables, chests, birdhouses and bird-feeders. Rather than using a generic canvas-and-metal tent for his booth at the Street Fair, he even set up one of his naturalistic wooden gazebo tents to showcase his wares.

“I need to create and all the materials are free,” Grinage said. “I just pick them up from my backyard. I don’t make much money, but I have lots of fun.”

Local Scoop co-owner Bev Angerbauer agreed with Whitis’ assessment of the event’s “huge turnout,” and thanked Street Fair attendees for swinging by her restaurant to make its burgers, chili dogs and especially ice cream such popular orders.

The first evening of the Street Fair wrapped up with the fourth annual Arlington Idol, which drew close to a dozen aspiring musicians to the Legion Park gazebo on July 8.

“Oh my goodness, what talent we had,” Whitis said. “We might divide it up into age categories for next year, but people really seemed to like being able to sign up to perform right before the show.”

Hannah Gould won first place for singing and keyboard-playing “Rolling in the Deep,” while Robby Treichel scored second for singing “Oh Danny Boy” and Katelyn Duskin nabbed third for singing and guitar-playing “Drops of Jupiter.”


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