The Rapidian

Eastown Street Fair 2009

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Jesse Macintosh plays his hurdy gurdy on the Wealthy Street during Eastown Street fair 2009

Jesse Macintosh plays his hurdy gurdy on the Wealthy Street during Eastown Street fair 2009 /Matthew Silverman, A Deeper Blue Photography

For the last 36 years Eastown has turned Wealthy street from Atlas to Lake Drive into a cultural mecca, this year they've out done themselves. Organized by the Eastown Community Association, local business, restauraunts, artist and musicians get together and celebrate this unique community with the Eastown Street Fair. This year there were 94 vendors, set up in tents throughout the streets, 13 bands playing an eclectic mix of music and several tents offering a taste of the local fare.

There were so many applicants for booths, that Tyler Nickerson of the ECA said they turned away at least 20. And for good reason, according to Nickerson, businesses reported record sales and crowds throughout the day. Street fair has expanded, too. New this year was IGE's Grand Rapids Peace Festival on Ethel street, a circle of 7 booths centered on positive principles such as respect, communication and creativity.

As for the music, it was what you can only expect from such a diverse area as Eastown. From rock to rap, jazz to bluegrass it seems that every genre was represented and represented well. There was two stages, one on Wealthy Street by Lake and the Other inside Billy's Lounge and several street performers throughout. Bands such as Deep Couch and Ab and Coconut Brown performed for free throughout the day in support of the community.

Throughout the booths there was all types of art from purses and hats to peace signs made from found objects. Local photographers, painters, sculpters, wood workers and even fragrant oil perfumers were selling their crafts in tents along the streets.

As for the bottom line- The weather was great, the music incredible, the food delicious and the crowd was electric. For those of you that missed it, take note that it will return next year and if the trend continues, it will be better than ever.

If you'd like to participate next year, contact the Eastown Community Association. Booths run $40 for non-profits, $80 for retailers and $300 for food vendors. Be sure to apply early so you don't miss out.

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