Where I Live and the Coventry Street Fair

As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s a little strange to go from traveling around the world to settling in Cleveland, Ohio.  If you ever do though you can’t pick a better street to live off of than Coventry, a funky little community that used to be populated by the area’s hippies but now is mainly filled with students and hippies-at-heart mainly.  There is a sense of history more than you usually find in Ohio- my hardware store down the block has been in business over a hundred years, John D. Rockefeller is buried in the cemetery bordering the north side of the neighborhood, and while my apartment from the 1920s has wooden floors that have a distinctive slant it does have the novelty of two doors, one for company and one going straight to the kitchen for the milkman (who does not make rounds anymore but this door is quite useful when carrying groceries).  And when you toss in Mac’s Backs, the secondhand bookstore where the second story is all science fiction and the proprietor swaps tips with you on reading material and the Winking Lizard where one can participate in the yearly World Tour of Beers, well!

The problem with anyplace you live is it gets so normal that you don’t think it’s particularly interesting on any given day regardless of that actuality, so to introduce you to Coventry here’s a photo tour of our Street Fair last week.  Where a good time was had at all, until the end when word on the street says some youths started getting into a fight for reasons unknown and the paddywagon came (I was a few blocks away at the time), to the great worry of all the locals who are hoping it won’t be considered reason to cancel the fair next year.  Always the bad apples ruining the fun stuff for the rest of us, isn’t it?

First of all, as I said, if you want to be a hippie in Cleveland you probably hang out on Coventry a lot, but I say it’s more about being a hippie-at-heart these days because I can’t say you smell pot walking down the street, even during a street fair!, which I hear was the norm during the sixties.  Plus c’mon, not like they’re breaking out into drum circles in the middle of the road right?

Um ok, nix that.  We are the only street I know of that has drum circles during our street fair, but we usually don’t normally ok?  Really!  Plus anyway, I did join in with the drum circle for a little while and it was pretty fun though I classify more as a “free spirit” than a hippie anyway.  You can tell the difference by my lack of illegal drug consumption and knowledge that anyone who thinks communism is cool has never lived under it.

Back on the more normal side of things, this was the band that was playing on the opposite side of the street.  They were really good, and those little kids were having a good time dancing in front.

There were a couple of these stilt walkers about as well, though they stood out a bit…

And giant puppets galore too.  Honestly I’d never seen one quite like the above before in terms of size, design, and color- the artists did a great job!

Little puppets too, doing a puppet show!  Like any fair the world over ours consists of lots of booths lined up and down the street- the stores and cafes just go a step further and set up shop outside and the middle is taken over by local artists and street performers.  The food wasn’t particularly interesting to me because I can get what they were selling all the time (and do!), but as a member of the fairer sex that enjoys shiny things I couldn’t help but pick up a pair of earrings and new necklace.

Though by the way, does anyone ever spend time thinking about how much time us ladies spend enjoying and thinking about jewelry, which is inherently worthless but we like because it’s pretty?  Did you know that some archeologists associate the beginning of homo sapiens in the fossil record with the moment shellfish jewelry showed up?  What would make you want to do this so far as evolution goes? (To be fair men do this too, but their shiny things tend to involve watches or electronic gadgets and prefer things that have a “useful” component to impress however tenuous the connection!)

Anyway, moving along…I have absolutely no real explanation of this picture other than I like it and yep, my street is random.  I think he was there with one of the stalls and they were selling jewelry and pictures with a giant superhero eyeball on them, or something, but clearly the marketing didn’t completely work on me.

Anyway, this picture was taken towards the end of the Coventry Street Fair while the first of the booths were breaking up, the rest were trying hard to push in a few last sales, and apparently a near-riot was breaking down on the other end of the street.  And among the activity I settled in at the Wink for a tasty wheat beer from the Czech Republic and struck up a conversation with the street performer who’d juggled knives and his friend who was a magician.  Almost like travel.

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