Hessler Street Fair - Cleveland

15.) Hessler Street Fair – Cleveland – May 22, 2011

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Sometimes, when things look like they’re about to end…

…they simply don’t.

Such was the case when, in the late 1960’s, University Circle, Inc. wanted to knock down the houses on Hessler Road for dormitories and parking lots.

This could have been disastrous for the Hessler community if they didn’t already have the Hessler Neighborhood Association to run their block party-turned-festival…

…which looked like this back in the day.

With the money made from their festivals, they were able to save themselves, having the City of Cleveland recognize them as a Landmark District in 1975. And, as time passed, they eventually were able to acquire the properties/houses from University Circle, ensuring their neighborhood’s survival.

In 1984, it was the festival that ended up meeting a temporary end, as there weren’t enough people around with the desire to organize the festival. So, for many years, the Hessler Street Fair was only talked about to help coddle people’s nostalgia.

But, in 1995, it was the coddled nostalgia that brought it back to life and kept it going ever since*.

Now the Hessler Street Fair has an estimated annual attendance of about 10,000 visitors and, to help celebrate the survival of a neighborhood from parking lots…

…visitors, via the website, are encouraged to use the $10 kind.

The irony.

Fortunately, for us, we passed up the parking lots for some free metered parking (it was Sunday, after all)…
.

…and made our way into the Hessler Street Fair.

Consisting of an alley, a park…

…Hessler Road…

…and an entertainment stage…

…the festival still carried that hippy feel of the 60’s…
.

…through music…

…free speech…

…poetry…

…art…

…and vegetarian advocates.

The use of select porches also added to the charm…

…but you sometimes had to peer behind the vendor booths to find them.

Like any festival, the major presence consisted of vendor and food booths. Most vendors, if not representing an organization or movement, were made of artists…

…selling handmade pillows…

…jewelry…

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…Rock Star Rebel Clothing…

…and anything that had to do with jellyfish.

There was quite a decent food selection as well…

…including treats…

…wholesome grub…

…and food truck dishes.

But in the end, after the shopping and eating, visitors came back here…
.

…to continue coddling that nostalgia of those before them.

And for what better reason to do this than to keep the festival going for many more years to come?

* = there wasn’t an official festival in 2007 due to construction and some other factors (I just didn’t want to add too many details in a simple historical intro, you know?).
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