home Featured, Public Space Are street fairs having nothing to do with neighborhoods anymore? What has to be done to make it more interesting to manifest the unique features of the communities?

Are street fairs having nothing to do with neighborhoods anymore? What has to be done to make it more interesting to manifest the unique features of the communities?

Urban street fairs and festivals are public indication of the character and uniqueness of the community. They are important commercial activity and  most ardent way of enticing people to use the public space. Street fairs, which once created lively gathering spaces, now offer less heterogeneous collections and are not favorable for local vendors to participate. In June 2010, The Center for Urban Future released a report on ‘New Visions for New York Street Fair’. The report discusses about the uninteresting and monotonous fairs in New York, which requires a make over. Many innovators from different disciplines have given their opinions on how to improve the city’s fair.  Street fairs evolved as trade markets along the shoreline. Back in 17th century people bought dinners and necessities from street markets. In 19th century people got their every day essential supplies from the pushcarts in the markets. Modern fairs are distinct. It is more of fun, festival and a gathering place (Eldon, Scott, 2010).

Brooklyn’s Atlantic Antic and the Bedford Barrow Commerce Block Association Fair in the West Village are still triumphant and lively events of the city. Though the city presents more than 350 street fairs every year, New Yorkers are just exasperated by the sight of vendors selling tube socks, funnel cakes and Italian sausage.Though New York offers phenomenal ethnic diversity of all places in world, the street fairs here lack in show casing the unique identity of neighborhoods, diverse food and local merchants. The study by Center for Urban Future indicates that, nine of the twenty vendors with permits and a quarter of all products were from outside of the five boroughs. The large companies which run majority of street fairs have no incentive to work with business owners, local vendors, cultural groups and artists.The fairs are not tied up with the local communities.

Calrsbad Village Street fair is one of the largest fairs in California with flavorful eats, family entertainments and lot of vendors. But the question is does it offer variety every year? Is it in public’s radar screen? The Sunset Junction street festival  featuring Hanson, Bobby Womack and many others is a popular fair in Los Angeles. After 30 years of rich history the festival was cancelled last year as the organizers couldn’t pay the permit- fees payment of $400,000 cost assessed payment for past two years to L.A’s Board of Public Works.

Atlantic Antic Street Fair, Brooklyn, New York.

Source: Project for Public Spaces, June 2010

Street fairs and markets in European and Asian countries have a different style and trend in making it a bustling event. In Paris, La Fête de la Musique is a lively street music festival held every year in June. Hundreds of musicians gather and perform in the streets without a permit. It is one of the popular events that show cases authentic Paris culture and unique features of the neighborhoods in the city. Links market is the longest and renowned street fair in Europe. It has a long history, which dates back to 1304. It is an annual fair in Scotland with thrill rides, coasters, players, shows, carousels, food and shopping. The fair is almost a mile in length along Esplanade, Kirkcaldy, Fife. The Broadway, Portobello, Camden and Borough are few of the most successful markets and gathering place with its exquisite boutiques, fashion, antique collections, vintage clothing and variety of restaurants in London.  There are numerous bazaars in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and in every city in India. The streets are crowded and flanked with variety of shops. One could get a sense of Indian culture and literally buy anything you want. Bazaars are successful in India mainly because they are not a dominant commercial establishment but are very local.

La Fête de la Musique- Music Street Festival, Paris

Source: GQ trippin, 2011

 Camden Market, London

Source: www.londontourist.org

 Bazaar in Delhi, India

Source: www.dailymail.co.uk, July 2010

The Dubai street festival is a ten day international street performance, which usually takes place on Dubai Marina Promenade outside Dubai Marina Mall. In 2011, more than 100 shows took place which included escape artists, fire – eaters, clowns, comedy troupes, jugglers and many others. Performers from all over the world participated (The National, UAE news, March 2011). Whether a street fair or a street market or a street festival, it gives people an opportunity to re-imagine what a city can do, how a street can look and what street life in the public realm can offer to a city (Jeff, Risom, 2010).

Links Market, Scotland

Source: www.linksmarket.org.uk, 2010

It is high time to re-create the street fairs in cities. It should be unique with diversity of products, variety of vendors and should reveal the distinct character of the neighborhoods. The city should join forces with the entrepreneurs, artists and vendors to provide quality street fairs. The permit process and fees should also be made easy and feasible.  In this modern iworld it is very essential for people to step out and experience the spirited street life.

References:

 


 

9 thoughts on “Are street fairs having nothing to do with neighborhoods anymore? What has to be done to make it more interesting to manifest the unique features of the communities?

  1. how the community developes.its a basic phenomenon in Islamic teachings.every body till fourty houses in each direction comes under the category of neighbour hood.in this smaller context you have to care with every respect.
    The second most important communal space is a place of worship( The mosque) where you meet your neighbours on daily basis and beside the worship you discuss,communicate the routine affairs.The third paltform is a market where you further interact with the neibours.In response one participate in the difficulties.achievements,celebrations of their neighbours.this is what how it it works in development of community on a small scale.It continues on large scale……..

  2. I agree. Urban street fairs haev become small, quick flea markets. Almost any street fair that you attend in Chicago will be filled with tube socks, junk toy sellers, deep fried twinkies and loads of costume jewelry. There are average stores where all of these things can be bought. Street fairs should be a mirror image of the neighborhood. Stands should have ethnic foods-not hot dogs, artists from the area-not Lia Sophia or Home Decorators, etc. The Roscoe Village Fair in Chicago still has many ethnic and neighborhood stands. I enjoy it very much. Neighborhoods complain that their fairs do not make enough money but what do they have to offer. We, as consumers, want to see a World’s Fair. Most of the time we are willing to pay for it. Let’s get back into showing who we are as a community.

    A great example of neighborhood fairs that have been a huge success due to their authenticity is the Whiting, Indiana Pierogi Fest. The town makes enough money that they now have their own baseball league (minors of course). Check it out: http://pierogifest.net/.

  3. With many thanks; great work Josephine.

    Interesting to contrast and compare a market versus a fair, and how such structures are supported.

    In Australia the latter is commonly for entertainment, with rides, balloons, sweet and or greasy food etc; typically the stall owners are not local based businesses. Typically these may come to a local or regional town for a fixed period, typically returning each year.

    On the other hand, a market is often a more regular event, ideally with regular locally grown items, locally made foods, hand made goods, plants, coffee stands, wine stalls (unlicensed / tasting only), bakery, fruit & veg., local community organisations such as the cycling club, fire brigade, etc.

    More recently there has been a stronger push towards the latter model; something I would strongly applaud, as the regular socialisation at these events is quite profound and very positive.

    My own experienced suggested some element of (self) control is needed. In our case in one of the local markets a self controlling committee consisting of the stall holders was established, encouraging only those with a local focus (known as make it / bake it / grow it) to join in the event.

    Sites are generally well sought after and at a premium. The land on which the event is held is owned by the local government, ensuring public liability insurance etc.

    The profits raised go towards supporting our local public hospital; returning the investment to the broader community.

  4. This is a great article and praises local identity of our communities. Goodby cloning and hello diversity and uniqueness. BRAVO! MORE! MORE!
    Thanks Josephine. Great article and boy is it right on.

  5. I think we are seeing the commercialization of the larger urban street fairs, in much the same way that the “County” fairs here in California have become a showcase for commercial vendors. While many County Fairs hold on to the traditions (such as the fair queen and her court), and many still have buildings that showcase local artisans and hobbyists, the main thrust of the County Fair is now the large Grandstand or Stage productions, Carnival Area, and Concessionaires that sell trinkets and memorabilia made in China, and food that has as much local flavor as that you can find in a mall food court.

    Fortunately, living in the Coachella Valley of California, I have a variety of local street fairs that I can attend on any given week. Each street fair has a distinct feel, and showcases local business, art, and community. From Palm Springs (funky, artsy, and eclectic), to Palm Desert (largest number of vendors, food, and farmers market), to La Quinta (art and locally sourced fruit vegetables, and meat), to Coachella (Latin influenced with a wide variety of food, fruit, and vegetables), each of these regularly scheduled street fairs enjoys a unique place in their community, and in the Coachella Valley as a whole. From my somewhat limited perspective, the Street Fair is alive and well in the California Desert.

  6. With many thanks; great work Josephine.

    Interesting to contrast and compare a market versus a fair, and how such structures are supported.

    In Australia the latter is commonly for entertainment, with rides, balloons, sweet and or greasy food etc; typically the stall owners are not local based businesses. Typically these may come to a local or regional town for a fixed period, typically returning each year.

    On the other hand, a market is often a more regular event, ideally with regular locally grown items, locally made foods, hand made goods, plants, coffee stands, wine stalls (unlicensed / tasting only), bakery, fruit & veg., local community organisations such as the cycling club, fire brigade, etc.

    More recently there has been a stronger push towards the latter model; something I would strongly applaud, as the regular socialisation at these events is quite profound and very positive.

    My own experienced suggested some element of (self) control is needed. In our case in one of the local markets a self controlling committee consisting of the stall holders was established, encouraging only those with a local focus (known as make it / bake it / grow it) to join in the event.

    Sites are generally well sought after and at a premium. The land on which the event is held is owned by the local government, ensuring public liability insurance etc.

    The profits raised go towards supporting our local public hospital; returning the investment to the broader community.

  7. We’ve been in Bangalore, India since four years now and I am amazed to discover the ways in which the busiest streets in the city are pedestrianised for one day – sometimes it’s a Peanut festival/Groundnut fair and sometimes, an art fair. The Peanut festival is linked to religion with peanut growers coming from villages nearby to offer their first crop at the Bull temple here and it is said that it is a centuries old fair.

    The Art fair first started nine years ago and has been quite successful, making it possible for local artists to showcase their work. Each year, the Peanut festival expands in its physical extent and does have vendors who are not all from the rural areas but from the city of Bangalore itself, selling more than just the peanuts. It does reflect how the city continues to have a strong cultural identity as it support these fairs inspite of being today the ‘IT capital’ of the country. These are links to two posts on: http://indianbazaars.blogspot.in/2011/11/peanut-festival-in-bangalore.html
    and
    http://indianbazaars.blogspot.in/2012/01/business-of-art.html

  8. Street fairs and markets in European countries are different as in Asian and Africa countries. There is annually music festival in Berlin a lively biggest street music festival of the world, held every year in August. Hundreds of musicians and bands gather and perform in the streets with a permit of municipality of Berlin. It is one of the popular events that show cases authentic world culture and unique features of the neighborhoods in the city. It is the longest and renowned street fair in Germany. It has a long history; there have been early in Cologne. Economically, it brings more income for the City.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bitnami