Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - The Explore Downtown Tigard Street Fair returns to Main Street this Saturday.Get ready for fun in the sun Saturday, with the return of the Explore Downtown Tigard Street Fair.

The annual one-day festival is designed to get people downtown in order to highlight the many businesses and activities in the heart of the city.

The party returns to Main Street from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Stretching through much of downtown, the Street Fair offers something for everyone, said Diana Weston, downtown’s event coordinator.

Carnival games, street vendors, sidewalk sales, food, a bounce house, a beer garden outside of Symposium Coffee, pony rides, a glass blowing demonstration, face painting and a small car show will be going on throughout the day, as will appearances by Timber Joey, the chainsaw-wielding outdoorsman and mascot of the Portland Timbers.

“If you had a good time last year, you are really going to enjoy this year,” Weston said.

Check it out

What: Explore Downtown Tigard Street Fair

Where: Main Street in Tigard

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16.

How much: Free

Parking: Public parking is available at several sites throughout downtown, as well as satellite parking at St. Anthony Catholic Church, 9905 S.W. McKenzie St.

Along with live music from the Bobby Lee Band, the main stage will also feature performances by local businesses and groups, including The Ballroom Dance Company, Mask & Mirror Singers, Karate on Main and U.S. World Class Taekwondo, as well as magician Andy Turner.

Returning this year is Oregon’s Cloud City Garrison, a local costume club that recreates the costumes of “Star Wars” villains. The group donates proceeds to local charities.

At the far end of Main Street, Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub is throwing its yearly Nano Beer Fest Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The city also plans to name the winners of its Tigard Vision photo contest at the event, Weston said.

Unexplored treasure chest

Weston said about 2,000 people attended last year’s Street Fair. With a larger budget and more vendors and attractions, Weston hopes to top that number this year.

But it’s an uphill challenge. Heavy construction in downtown is expected to last well into November, and many shoppers have avoided Main Street businesses in the past few months. Weston said the Street Fair is a good way for people to reconnect with downtown.

“We need to overcome people’s reluctance to go downtown right now, and that’s why we’re closing the street,” Weston said. “I think it will be helpful to have part of Main Street closed, that way people can wander around freely.”

Weston said downtown businesses are excited about this weekend’s festivities.

“There was a surge in registration, and I’m having to turn vendors away,” Weston said. “Vendors have been talking at other festivals asking, ‘Are you going to the Tigard Street Fair?’”

The annual event is designed to showcase some of the area’s businesses and merchants. Weston said the festival has grown into something more — it’s about giving people a place to come together.

“It provides a community gathering place,” she said. “Even if we didn’t have construction, people should explore downtown because there are a lot of really interesting businesses that people might not know about.”

In the past, Weston has called downtown Tigard an unexplored treasure chest of restaurants and shops.

“To me, that’s the main benefit,” Weston said. “It’s Main Street, and it would be great if we could get back to thinking of it as the main street through town. It would be great if people would think about shopping downtown before they go into Portland or to a shopping mall. There is more and more reason to do that, now, and there is more fun to be had.”

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