There’s an unusual calm over parts of Solid Ground this weekend as the 39th Fremont Fair commences without this agency acting as the producer for the first time in 37 years.
Don’t get me wrong, we loved the Fair and the responsibility of stewarding it through a changing set of economic and social environments. Mostly.
Hopefully, we retained the kernel of Fremontism that is the Fair’s core. What was once a party the neighborhood threw for itself to acknowledge and celebrate its strengths has changed as the Fremont neighborhood has changed. By the mid 1990s, we were growing the event and wondering if we should be measuring ourselves up against performance-heavy festivals like Bumbershoot.
Throughout the past decade, we have experimented with different production models, striving to find the balance between organizational investment in the Fair and what this social service/anti-poverty/anti-racism agency got out of it. Did we raise enough financial support, community awareness, neighborhood relations? What activities were we not able to pursue due to investing staff time in the Fair?
Last year we hit a tipping point with the Fair and made the decision to find another partner to continue it, nurture it and allow it to grow. We were thrilled to learn that the Fremont Chamber of Commerce wanted to take on the Fair. And we’ve seen them both return it, somewhat, to its neighborhood roots, and infuse new energy and ideas.
Even better, they will still raise funding through the Fair to support Solid Ground’s services and other community nonprofits.
The Fremont Fair developed a different personae than the University District Street Fair and other Seattle traditional summer events because it possessed a magical artistic exploration in the service of community. It’s been a little weird in all the best ways.
So, here’s a tip of a Redhook to the Chamber. May you keep the tradition alive another 39 years!
The PI Big Blog just ran a cool story about the transition, which you can read on their site.
I was particularly interested in the comments section of the blog post, where one reader answered the question that titled the post (emphasis added):
Posted by XXXX at 6/18/2010 2:53 a.m.
Will new management change the Fremont Fair?
God I hope so…