Monday, May 20, 2019

50th Annual U-District Streetfair

5/19/19 Didgeridoo busker

While the summer season offers a multitude of community festivals and fairs, the University District Streetfair holds the distinction of being the country’s longest-running festival of its kind. USk Seattle helped celebrate the fair’s 50th year on 10 city blocks of art and craft vendors, street food and music.

As I usually do at street fairs, I found myself irresistibly drawn to a wide variety of buskers. A classical cellist, a tuba and clarinet/washboard duo and a didgeridoo player (whom I had caught a couple of years ago at Folklife, too) were among the musicians performing for the crowd.

While sketching the guys on tuba and clarinet, I was standing near a very colorfully dressed balloon man who had created an eye-catching palm tree (I think?). He asked me to guard his prop and supplies while he went to use the restroom, so I obliged. When he returned, he told me a lengthy story about how a competing balloon vendor at another fair had stolen a hundred dollars’ worth of balloons from him, so he has been extra-cautious ever since. “I don’t trust just anyone to watch my stuff, though,” he assured me. “Usually I ask first if they are from Vashon Island to make sure I can trust them.” He had more stories to tell, but he was interrupted by customers (though he didn’t seem particularly happy about it).
5/19/19 Colorful balloon man with stories to tell.
Meanwhile, the tuba player came over to see what I was doing. Relieved that I was only sketching, he and the clarinet player had been afraid that I was writing them a citation.

The other balloon vendor I sketched had no drama to impart. A young man who was good with kids, he first started making what I thought was a tall purple crown, but he suddenly had so many customers that his headwear remained unfinished while I sketched. Later I saw in Swagatika’s sketch that it wasn’t a crown at all – it was the foundation for a well-designed unicorn.

After all that, I got hungry, so I explored the food booths, which are getting more and more state fair-like. Deep-fried PB&J, anyone?

Langostino sushi burrito, didgeridoo, and balloon man drama: Something for everyone at the U-District Streetfair.
5/19/19 Jazz and blues from clarinet/tuba players

5/19/19 classical cellist
5/19/19 This balloon vendor began by making his own
headgear, but he got too busy to finish.
P.S. Although I forgot to mention it then, yesterday’s outing was a personal celebration for me: It was my seventh anniversary since joining Urban Sketchers on May 20, 2012!

Happy 7th anniversary to me!


  1. Happy 7th! I remember that day very well. I'm very happy to have met you then and continued to sketch with you since.

    I just passed my 7th in Feb.

    1. Awww, thanks, Kate! You were the very first sketcher I met and talked to at an outing! And it's been fun ever since!


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