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Coventry Fair May Be Canceled, Organizers Say

Sunday's Coventry Street Arts Fair ended on a bad note when kids wouldn't leave and started fighting

The future of the Coventry Street Arts Fair is in limbo. 

Sunday was the first fair of the summer, and although most of the day went smoothly, kids crowded the street near the end and refused to leave. 

South Euclid and Shaker Heights police were called to help Cleveland Heights police disperse the crowd and stop fights.

“There were kids fighting, but it was among themselves. We’re dealing with kids that don’t care,” said Steve Presser, owner of and a member of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District, which organizes the event. He helped police encourage teens to leave, but he said, “They didn’t want to listen.”

He said it’s possible that the next fair, scheduled July 24, will be canceled because of the incidents near the end and after the festival Sunday.  

“We’re definitely looking at if we’re going to have a July festival in place,” he said. “Kids decided they didn’t want to respect the (fair) or each other.”

He said merchants on Coventry and city officials will meet sometime in the near future to discuss changes that could help avoid some of the problems of the past, and he hopes avoid ending the event all together.

One suggestion he offered is to charge admission and give out wristbands. Another is to shorten the fair an hour, so it ends at 5 p.m.

It was to give vendors more time and to make the atmosphere more “family-friendly,” Presser said. Last year, the fair was from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on a few Thursdays throughout the summer.

“We have to talk to all the powers that be — the merchants, the city, the police — to find out if they feel comfortable (having another fair),” Presser said. “People have to understand this is a big decision, and it’s not made in a vacuum.

Presser sounded disappointed that the fair but ended so badly.  

“The good parts were wonderful. Initially it was just fantastic. We had a lot of families, a lot of kids having a good time. There was good music and the vendors did well,” he said. “The issue was that the kids didn’t want to leave.” 

kablammy June 27, 2011 at 08:18 PM
Oh, I hope this isn't cancelled for next month. The end got a little rowdy, but the whole event was incredibly fun and positive. We need our Coventry Street Fair!
Jake Crouse June 27, 2011 at 08:23 PM
Shorten the fair an hour by closing it at 5 PM instead of 6 ? Yup, that should do it. That one hour will make all the difference. Will change the entire attitude of those kids. One question. If they didn't want to leave at 6 PM, what's going to make them want to leave an hour earlier ? Just askin.'
Michelle Simakis (Editor) June 27, 2011 at 08:30 PM
Thanks for your comment and for reading. That's what everyone I spoke to said. A great day, until the very end.
D$ June 27, 2011 at 08:32 PM
The kids will show up an hour earlier. They caused a riot at the fair last year which was held at a different day and time, and now caused one again this year. They also showed up at the Severance movie theater and caused a riot there 4 times in the past 2 years. The only solution is throwing these little criminals in juvenile detention.
WONTANARA! (We are together) June 27, 2011 at 08:44 PM
I agree--it WAS wonderful. The non-profit organization that I direct, Passport Project was there last summer and yesterday. There was SO MUCH positivity. The youth who were loitering seemed to be in their early teens--what if there was, instead of the entrance fee, a stipulation that all youth up to the age of 18 had to attend with a parent/guardian. It is what many stores do. And, I don't see why kids that age should be loitering about alone on the streets. This is a shorter-term solution to keep the fair going, but we must address the root of the problem as a community so that these children can learn to feel a sense of community and belonging. Clearly there is something greater that needs to be addressed and I would like to see dialog on this. Thank you for all you do--and keep doing it! If kids learn that they can shut down a whole street fair, this is the wrong way to give them a sense of power. Let's find more positive ways.
Anne and George Karavantas June 27, 2011 at 09:08 PM
I agree that shutting down the fair would give the kids a sense of power. If this type of behavior is their idea of fun then we have to take the fun out of the results. Anyone 15 and over should be arrested and charged as adults. No more call the parent and release the kid to them. Short term this will be a big pain in the neck for the police dept. Long term it will send a clear message to the younger generation that this behavior will not be tolerated. So let's look at the legal ramifications of changing the ordinances to restore civil obedience.
Eric June 27, 2011 at 09:38 PM
You just know that those punk teens don't even care about art. They were just itching to fight I bet, so they ended up doing it in a public event out of ignorance, probably over some idiot stealing someone else's girlfriend. First we lost the 185th Fair; let's not lose this one too!! Bring out the tasers or pepper spray if those kids don't wanna listen and act like decent and civil humans. There must be law & order.
Jeff B June 27, 2011 at 11:10 PM
For all those wondering if the sudden influx of youths was planned, and whether they came looking for trouble, a Twitter search of the term "coventry" from Sunday will tell you all you need to know. http://search.twitter.com/search?max_id=85120150499639296&page=28&q=+coventry+since%3A2011-06-26+until%3A2011-06-26
Glinda Smith June 28, 2011 at 02:20 PM
I read the tweets on Coventry and it was mostly kids telling each other to come because it would be fun - not to fight or riot. Later there were reports of fights and gunshots and the reactions to them were uniformly negative. So, we have a situation where kids are gathering to have fun, then some are ruining it, and the majority don't like that. Perhaps the solution is restricting admission to the fair by charging admission and requiring wristbands. A lot of kids won't come in that case and if they do show up en masse you could tell them they can't get in because the street is full. I don't know. What do people think?
linda jenkins June 28, 2011 at 02:29 PM
This is not fair for theFAIR,the event was wonderful until the incident,if your child is disruptive at home do you leave the house,this is a problem we need to face as the adults here,we have the right and the authority to teach and direct our young people let them know and show them that there are serious consequences for negative behaviors.Remember the term the terrible Two when our child was trying to be an infant however acting like a angry toddler,we should not give these young people power and control over our community.Hold them accountable,the vendors need to take this event back,don't give up,rise up use every legal process to continue having the Coventry Fair,because this approach is not fair.Have a great day!
Julie A Smith June 28, 2011 at 05:52 PM
The parents of the troublemaking kids are the ones that raised them that way. When you, as a parent, don't raise your children to respect other people, this is what comes of it. I asked my 17-year-old if she wanted to go, and she said, "No, Mom. If I go it will have to be when it starts before the bad kids get there."
linda jenkins June 28, 2011 at 07:34 PM
Julie,I agree this behavior start at home it should not be allowed to grow up in our young adult children,the presence of any level of authority should be respected.If you have a child acting out at home that child is acting out in public,seek outside help and counseling if needed,don't ignore your child and your responsibilty as a parent,sometimes it's hard but everytime it's right,and through personal experience I know it works to the best interest of the child.Let's take responsibity if your child was involved,talking about having the Coventry Fair without any incident,this event was put together by adults I can't imagine a child from any community having the power to shut down an event,this is Cleveland Hts. and people are telling me that They are glad they went to other neighborhood Fairs instead,there two Fairs I attended with some friends of course I invited them to attend my Fair.
Dee June 29, 2011 at 03:10 AM
I brought my 2 and 5 year olds to the fair around 4:30pm and a teen girl who was walking with her two girl friends - all very scantily clad - said the f*** word loudly in front of my children. I glared at her and put my finger to my lips, to which she told her friends, following me down the street "I'm going to tell that one something else..." she then passed by me again and said the f*** word very loudly followed by a string of unintelligible diatribe. Just prior to that we had stopped and gotten balloons made for the kids in front of Big Fun and an a grade school child, his parent present, just flung an empty water bottle on the ground - and left it there, no remonstrations.
Allana G. June 29, 2011 at 05:44 AM
First Cleveland Hts. PD needs to start making the kids that loiter there the other 364 days of the year unconfortable by making them move along and go home. I hate when I drive down Coventry and you can hear them (kids) yelling to each other from opposite sides of the street. Sometimes they are just hanging around outside the door of Hunan's. For the fair if Cleveland Hts has a paddy wagon they need to bring it out and set it up as a mobile processing unit where they will hold your child for 1 hr, if you do not come to pick them up you will pick them up from the station or give them a ticket and tell them if they are caught at the fair again they will arrested. I don't know if they have any charges they can file on them or not but that's not my job. I know once you start costing people money they will tell their kids to keep their trouble making selves at home! Also where were the bike cops they are pretty fast and they can chase down runners! For the record I'm black and a part of the "community" that was refered to in Brenda Warner's post (I admire the fact that you used your real name), but I am far from subhuman or scum ma'am! I can't stand the fake community leaders out here but your post smacks of "thinly veiled" racism. It was the subhuman remark just so you know.
Donald R. Thompson June 29, 2011 at 11:34 AM
The truth hurts James
JC June 30, 2011 at 05:24 AM
JC This type of behavior has been evidenced in the schools throughout the school year and it is in that setting the community should come together to address it. I believe the majority of our youth are respectful, but in a group setting "group think" takes over. There are some growing unsettling trends evidenced by our youth nationwide; one of which is "wilding." It is fortunate that it did not occur Sunday evening. Poor parenting, days with no constructive activity, idleness, and unemployment contribute to the behavior evidenced at the Fair. Cleveland Heights is a "village" and it takes a "village" to raise a child. If our youth are exhibiting disrespect for the "village;" we must educate them - not punish them. The Fairs should not be cancelled because of a few unruly youth! A message can be sent to them that disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. If community members modeled positive parenting skills when encountering disrepectful or disruptive behavior by voicing their intolerance of that behavior; it would send a powerful message. There is strength in unity.
Maria Smith July 04, 2011 at 11:15 PM
i agree but then to a certain degree u don't some people didn't show up for a fight but caught themselves in one because of self-defense.
Maria Smith July 04, 2011 at 11:19 PM
My opinion on the whole situation is that yes it would be nice to make a change so that the disturbances will go away but i don't think every teen should be punishhed. Im a teen myself and i love goin to the street fair's not to fight or start any problems but just simply to go and have a fun time with my friends. i think that people that do not live in cleveland heights should NOT attend are fair. This will at least calm things down. !
lolita July 07, 2011 at 08:50 PM
I tell you this, I think and really believe that the police should call the parent and release them to the parents and also, FINE THE PARENTS, for letting their underage child run wild in the streets without adult supervision. I will say this again, I will bet you a hundred percent this will decrease this foolishness that is going on. HIT WHERE IT HURTS, THE POCKETS. I bet there will be a lot more discipline going on when the parents realize that it will cost them money to let their children, yes children go unsupervised. And how can it be okay to charge parents for allowing their underage children to drink at parties but not charge them when their child is committing crimes because of being unsupervised. The teenagers should be required to be accompanied by an adult and then of they act up, the accompanying adult be fined. I am in partial agreement with what Maria Smith said that if you do not live in Cleveland Heights, you should not attend the fair. I think that the fair is a great source of revenue and helps bring in new customers that keep the business going. But I can see her point and do agree. I was told by a resident in Garfield Heights, that they used to have a fair , but it was discontinued because of the same behavior. Also the Slavic village, I am not sure if that is the save as the E. 185 street fair which closed down due to the same type of street behavior, My sister and really had a good time there and was sorry it was not renewed.
lolita July 07, 2011 at 08:55 PM
I have a lot of typos in the previous statement, sorry, I guess I was typing to fast. But the fair that was held on E. 185 street was a very fun event. I remember when my sister and I went, we had a lot of fun. Then a couple of years later I wanted to take my children and was told that it was canceled, forever.
lolita July 07, 2011 at 09:12 PM
I am black as well and do not appreciate racist comments. The city of Cleveland Heights really need to listen to the black community and to what they have to say about this ongoing problem. PLEASE PROSECUTE BY WAY OF MONEY. FINE THE PARENTS OR AT LEAST THREATENED TO FINE, AND START THE FIRST OFFENSE AT ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS, SECOND OFFENSE, 200 DOLLARS, AND THIRD OFFENSE, ONE THOUSANDS DOLLARS. THINK that won`t help? try it, I guarantee that it will work. Who in this economy have even one hundred dollars to give for nothing in return, for bad stupid behavior. I know I don`t. Someone please listen, we know what we are talking about.
RT July 10, 2011 at 04:51 AM
The only ones with that kind of money, in this economy, are drug dealers and those on public assistance. They same people who spawn these troublemakers.

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