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Annual Tigard Street Fair brings fun, music to downtown core

One day festival aimed at promoting downtown businesses, planners say

        When planning for last weekend’s Explore Downtown Tigard Street Fair, event organizer Dianna Weston said she hoped for 3,000 visitors to the annual celebration.

They exceeded that, and more.

“It was the largest crowds we’ve seen yet,” Weston said of the event, which was held Sept. 12 on Southwest Main Street. “We had people all day long, and the two community stages really gathered a crowd.”

Weston, the former community events coordinator for the city of Tigard, has been working to put on the Street Fair for the past three years.

Started by the Tigard Downtown Alliance as a way to drum up shoppers for downtown businesses, the annual fair is becoming an event in its own right, Weston said, with more than 90 vendors.

The fair has seen growing attendance each year. Last year the downtown was crippled by construction, and organizers had hoped that this year’s crowd would be drawn to downtown, partly because of its fresh new look.

“There is more stuff going on downtown than ever,” Weston said. “We were able to pound the drum a bit more.”

Along with the crowds, this year set a record for the largest number of vendors on display during the one-day event, Weston said.

For years, Tigard’s downtown has struggled, but recent improvements to the downtown have given it a new lease on life, Weston said.

“We’re giving people a reason to come downtown,” she said. “There are shops here, like the dive shop, that a lot of people might not know about. Events like the street fair wake people up to the fact that there is something going on down here, and once they get here they discover other things.”

That’s why it’s called the “Explore Downtown Tigard” Street Fair, Weston said.

“It’s all about finding those hidden treasures,” she said. “They don’t know about them until they get here.”

Community events like the Street Fair are a great way for the growing city to hold onto its identity, Weston said.

“If we can keep building on what we have (then) there will always be a reason to celebrate,” Weston said. “It serves as a reminder to folks that Tigard still has a sense of community.”

This year’s festivities included everything from martial arts demonstrations to performances by the Mask & Mirror Community Theater.

“I think the dog toothbrushing demonstration was the most fascinating,” Weston said. “For sure.”

By Geoff Pursinger
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