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First of Two Coventry Street Arts Fairs Sunday

Street fairs will be six-hour rather than three-hour events

The first of two Coventry Street Arts Fairs is from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Last year, the fair was scheduled on three Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 throughout the summer. 

"A lot of people wanted more time," said Steve Presser, owner of and one of the organizers from the Coventry Village Special Improvement District, which runs the event. "This year we thought, let’s have it on a Sunday afternoon, get a different crowd in and make it family-friendly. And definitely from a vendor standpoint, three hours is not enough."

Last year, a fight broke out, threatening the future of the fair, according to a July 2010 article in The Sun Press

But the problems from last summer are in the past. Presser said this year's fair will be "bigger and better." 

Two stages at either end of Coventry Village have events scheduled every few hours, including performances from bluegrass band Katty Whomp Us and reggae band I-Tal, dance from the Passport Project and comedy from Big Dog Theater. A full schedule is available on Coventry Village's website

Street performers who can juggle, walk on stilts and fool you with their magic tricks will also be entertaining crowds. 

And a variety of vendors will line the streets. 

"It's really nice. We really have soups to nuts in the way of the artists category," Presser said as he began listing the vendors. Artists will sell jewelry, baby clothes, paintings, sculptures, photography and more.  

Local farmers will also sell vegetables, spices, herbs and flowers. 

Those who are veterans of the Coventry fairs may remember the fairs of the '70s and '80s, when the event stretched for an entire weekend. 

Bruce Hennes served a few terms as president of Coventry Neighbors during the late '70s, and the organization used to run the event. Hennes, managing partner of Hennes Paynter Communications, not only can recall memories of the street parties, but he made a documentary about the 1981 fair

"After '83 or '84 we decided to not do that type of fair any longer. And it was scaled way, way back to something very small," Hennes said. "It really wasn’t until five or six years ago that the Coventry Village Special Improvement District decided they wanted to resurrect something akin to the old fair, where they would block the street off for three evenings during the summer." 

Hennes' documentary and hundreds of photos from the same time period from Joe Polevoi were shown during the last weekend. Polevoi's wife, Marcia, used to own High Tide Rock Bottom, and Joe always had a camera around his neck, Hennes said. 

The documentary and photos are also posted on Coventry Village's website. 

The second arts fair is scheduled for Sunday, July 24. 

"I’m looking forward to everybody having a good time," Presser said. "That’s what it’s all about." 

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