Street Fair enjoys sun, a steady stream of spectators

ARLINGTON ?A steady stream of folks wandered down the avenue through the middle of the Arlington Street Fair over the weekend, checking out the more than 80 vendors and munching on kettle corn, sipping on sodas and exploring activities offered by nonprofit groups and getting free frisbees and notepads from realtors.

Some rode the shuttle from the Arlington Fly-In into town, others walked from home. Two guys, Michael Howard and Duane Wendiling, traveled from Gig Harbor to attend the Fly-In for the day, finding time to take the shuttle into town.

"This town has a lot of ambiance," Howard said. They met a new friend on the shuttle, Susan Russell, who agreed. "Arlington has harmony," she said enthusiastically.

Handcrafted goods included wind chimes of natural stones, birdhouses and rocking chairs made of sticks and found materials, there were dishtowels and pot holders, incense, soaps, lotions and jewelry, among other things.

Fine paintings by Diana Washington and pottery by Laura Kuhl and photographs and paintings by members of the Arlington Arts Council teased the eye and children were entertained with body paintings by Erika Bruss and pinch pots by Laura Kuhl. Kellen Shoe stopped by with his grandmother, Michelle Heiderer, to get a band of dolphins painted on his legs.

Down the street, in the gazebo, a wide variety of music played to small audiences seeking shade from the hot sun. Real Folk played real folk music, including a song about swimming in the Stillaguamish River by Dennis Griffiths, there was some Django Reinhardt jazz and indie music, as well as the Old Time Fiddlers. Ballroom dancing in the parking lot was disappointing, according to one of the entertainment coordinators, Kara Keating, whose business, Movement Arts provided cash prizes for the Idol contest.

"I heard there were only about 12 people dancing," she said. "But we got a lot of queries about yoga after our yoga performance," she added. "The Idol contest was a big success."

The first ever Arlington Idol contest attracted the biggest crowd of the weekend with more than 100 people at Legion Park Friday evening. A former professional singer, Kathy Brainerd won $175 cash in first place and a recent graduate of Arlington High School who was a member of Jazzmine, Jessica Safford, placed second with $75 cash prize.

Before she moved to Arlington, Brainerd sang across the U.S.A. and Canada, with gigs at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, but she hasn't performed since she settled here a little more than five years ago.

"I am thrilled," Brainerd said. "It was so much fun. All the contestants had very unique styles." She moved to Arlington because of the beautiful countryside, the nice feel of the community and the reasonable house prices. Her cousin who lives in Arlington as well showed her support by attending the competition with her daughter and grandkids.

The sound man, Robert Campbell, said the gazebo worked out pretty good, except the dome causes a bit of echoing.

"It's better for softer, acoustic music than for rock-n-roll," Campbell said.

The city of Arlington booth in front of City Hall featured an impressive roundup of volunteers, from city staff, elected officials, police officers and firefighters to answer questions about city projects such as water quality wetlands and a proposed compost recycling system. Alena Aravjo joined the city on behalf of Waste Management Northwest and Cascade Recycling Center, sharing information about a proposed new composting program.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 92 dragged a wagon up and down the avenue all weekend long collecting trash, sweeping up popcorn and keeping the street tidy for the presenting group, the Downtown Arlington Business Association.

"It's a great service they offer," said Arlington Police Lt. Ed Erlandson, noting the clean street as he was preparing to reopen it to traffic at 6 p.m., Sunday. There were no major crises, but some vendors were assuming there would be security on the street all night, he said. "Apparently some items were stolen in the night," he said.

The chair of the event, Julie Tate, of Julie's Barber and Styling Salon, left for her summer vacation Sunday. No doubt she is relieved it's all over and done with for another year.

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