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Crowd walking down the street to visit booths at the fair.
Crowd walking down the street to visit booths at the fair.
© Alabastro Photography, U District Street Fair 2022 for The U District Partnership
Life > Experiences

The 53rd Annual U District Street Fair

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Washington chapter.

If you were anywhere near The Ave the weekend of May 18th, I am certain that you noticed the hundreds of stands lining our beloved street. If you somehow didn’t notice, I really don’t know what to tell you. Maybe it’s time for a eye check because the 53rd U District street fair was in full swing! I can’t pretend to be a critic of street fairs (I don’t know if that is even a real occupation), so all my opinions are just from a college girl who has a generally positive outlook on farmers markets and similar such events.

The sheer amount of eating options was awe-inspiring to me. With forty or so different food trucks, the food possibilities were seemingly endless. Had I been carrying a bit more pocket change, I would have tried to hit as many of them as possible. Instead, I limited myself to trying something savory and something sweet. When wandering, I came across Shishkaberry’s, which is honestly a life changing concept. The stand offers chocolate covered strawberries on a stick, including various chocolate types and toppings. I opted for the “Dingleberry” which was plain and simple dark chocolate. As expected with a food truck at a street fair, the price was pretty high for what are essentially just chocolate and strawberries. However, in cases such as this, I tend to think I am also paying for the novelty of the kabab and atmosphere as well. At least, that’s how I justified spending ten dollars on a few strawberries.

Unfortunately, my savory food was not as gratifying as the Shishkaberry experience. I was so excited to try some dumplings at Kathmandu MoMoCha. I ordered the Chicken MoMoCha with the high heat hot sauce, but was disappointed at best by the meal. While the textures were perfectly fine, I found the meat to be lacking in any flavor outside of the chicken. Normally a hot sauce can be a saving grace in a situation like this, but the sauce similarly lacked flavor as well as heat. I hope that I had gotten a bad batch or something because I’ve heard many good things about the stand, but unfortunately it left me craving something with some more punch to it.

My lack of expendable income also stopped me from buying any goods, but I was tempted to push my bank accounts limits many times. There were hundreds of different booths, spanning from hand crafted jewelry, to animal shaped claw clips, to a prize wheel for Safeway. This quarter I started my first ceramics class which I believe is the reason I found myself drawn to the pottery booths most often. Muddy Jill Pottery had gorgeous kitchen ware and wood fired pottery that was out of my budget, but really tested my self will. Unsurprisingly, I found Blue Kettle Books to be the coolest of all the stands. The concept of a Bookmobile is something straight out of my dream journal. The titles available were fairly bare bones, but with such little space, the bus spanned a fairly large amount of genres including children, cooking, and currently trending titles. I am currently on a self imposed book buying ban, so I didn’t bother look at the prices, but if I was going to make a guess I’d say somewhere in the ballpark of Barnes and Noble pricing. Next year I will definitely be bringing some extra money and have my eye out for the blue truck so I can have a book in my collection from there.

While all of them were unique in and of themselves, most of the booths were your standard farmers market finds. There were hippie clothes, woodworking goods, paintings, candles, salsas, and so much more. I wish I had the chance to patronize each of them on their own, but luckily the 54th street fair will allow me to chip away at the absurd amount of businesses. The most standout of all the booths were the “vibe enhancement stations” on sporadic corners of the ave. For any of you who are unaware of what a vibe enhancement station is (as I was before May 18th) it is a DJ in a booth playing pop music so loud. I can’t say I am a fan of them as I found the insane volume to be pretty overstimulating, but what they lacked in subtlety they made up for in the fact that they are called vibe enhancement stations, and that is very funny.

If you take anything away from this article, I want it to be this; don’t show up without any fun spending money. Even just ten dollars can get you some delicious chocolate covered strawberries! I’m sure there is some enrichment to be found in window shopping alone, but the beauty of the U District Street Fair is just how much unique goods are available in such a small space. I will personally be saving my pennies in preparation for next year!

Montanna Lovins

Washington '27

Montanna Lovins is a Freshman at UW where she is studying English and Creative Writing. Her writing covers mainly entertainment media, primarily focusing on film and literature. When she isn’t writing, Montanna is commonly found in local theaters or watching movies on her laptop in the dorm. She also enjoys reading classic literature, playing guitar, baking, and hiking to hunt for frogs.