Street Fair will get rolling Friday
April 30, 2009 · Updated 11:25 AM
By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald
To say the Enumclaw Street Fair has been energized might be something of an understatement.
Now under the direction of city resident Celia Bender, the event has been pushed and prodded, promoted and kick-started. Her goal has been to create an event that will not only draw visitors to downtown, but give them plenty to do once they arrive.
Bender's months of planning and pitching will culminate Friday with the kickoff of the street fair, a 2007 rendition of a tradition that has proud roots on Cole Street.
Old-timers will remember the glory days of the Sidewalk Sale, when crowds filled the street. More recent years brought a three-year run for Pickles and Ice Cream, as the event was labeled when the Enumclaw Downtown Partnership assumed control. After the EDP dissolved, the Enumclaw Area Chamber of Commerce rescued the affair, calling it the Summer Sidewalk Fest.
The chamber had never intended to be a permanent host and, before long, downtown businesswoman Athena Dean entered the picture. She soon hooked up with Bender and, in a flash, Street Fair 2007 was off and running.
She has put together a full 24 hours of Street Fair - a dozen hours Friday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. The event will fill Cole Street from Stevenson Avenue to just shy of Marshall Avenue. As usual, side streets will be blocked, with the exception of busy Griffin Avenue.
At the heart of any street fair are merchants and vendors, and Bender has worked overtime to bump up the number of participants.
Bender's goal has been to give guests plenty to do while they're not shopping.
Topping the bill, performing in the prime-time slot, will be Nathan Chance, one of the hottest new country bands in the Northwest. The group will play at 7:15 Saturday night on the main stage.
The band has opened for SheDaisy and has been on the “pre-show” bill for the likes of Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Martina McBride and Brooks and Dunn.
Also on the schedule is popular, family-friendly entertainer Tim Noah, who makes a return visit to Enumclaw. He'll put on shows at 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday on the main stage.
The rest of the schedule has Greg Williamson's Pony Boy Band playing at 3 p.m. Friday and Yankee Whiskey putting on two shows, taking the stage at 7 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday.
Scot Peterson, better known as The Reptile Man, will be on the main stage at 2 p.m. Friday and Geoff Kanick, an illusionist and juggler, will be the hardest working man in Enumclaw. Kanick will offer shows at noon both Friday and Saturday and then take his act on the road, roaming downtown between 2 and 4 p.m. each day.
For those who like things more physical, students from the Tae Kwon Do Connection will demonstrate their skills at 1 p.m. Friday and students from the American Colleges of AKJ Self Defense will put on a mixed martial arts demonstration at 1 p.m. Saturday.
For kids of all ages, large, inflatable slides and big toys will be open all hours of the fair. Kids can burn energy on the bouncy “jumparoo” or play more serenely in a sand box. There will be a bubble-making tub, assorted arts and crafts and pony rides. And some will go home with a temporary airbrush tattoo or having had their face painted.
Others might have something more serene in mind. In that case, a farmers market will operate from 9 a.m. to noon each day and Bender has recruited a variety of artists to display their works for show and sale.
Also on hand each day will be members of the Enumclaw Volunteer Firefighter Association and Rescue One. They will be available to answer questions, demonstrate tools and, should the need arise, offer emergency first aid.
One of the first things Bender did after taking over the Street Fair was to get a primary sponsor on board. That came in the form of the local Rotary Club, which offered cash assistance. Looking for additional finances to support the cause, Bender landed $5,000 from the Muckleshoot Charitable Fund.