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Second Coventry Street Arts Fair Canceled

The Coventry Village Special Improvement District sent an email about the news Saturday

The second Coventry Street Arts Fair, scheduled for July 24, is now canceled.

Steve Presser, owner of and a member of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District, which organizes the event, sent an email out Saturday morning to notify vendors and others. 

"The organizers of the Coventry Street Fair have decided to only have one street fair this year but will immediately begin planning for the street fair in 2012," Presser said in the email. "We would like to be able to put on the best event possible for the neighborhood, visitors and the Coventry community and we will spend the next year thinking about the best way to do that."

The June 26 festival, which was scheduled from noon to 6 p.m., . But near the end, some estimated that hundreds or even thousands of kids gathered in the street, and to help disperse the crowd. Sixteen people were arrested. 

Presser said by email that the decision was made by several people. 

"The decision came from all parties that have a vested interest — the merchants, landlords, neighbors, city, etc. It was not one person. Everybody has an opinion on this one," he said. 

Presser had said the , and Mayor Ed Kelley said he couldn't support the fair if it wasn't safe for the community. 

"My first and major concern here is the safety of the people who come to the fair. If people can’t be kept safe, I’m not for the fair. That’s the bottom line," Kelley said a few days after the event.

People believe that kids were encouraged to go to the area via social media such as Twitter, and were not necessarily looking for a fight. But with so many people, things quickly escalated. 

Nearby communities are  and discussing how to curb these large gatherings, called "flash mobs," that have marred or threatened recent events in areas around Cleveland, including Shaker Heights, Shaker Square and . 

And just days after the Coventry Street Arts Fair, Cleveland Heights  for minors. 

Vendors who paid to have a booth in the second Coventry Street Arts Fair will be reimbursed, according to the email.

"The street fair in June featured great music, terrific vendors, interesting artists, tasty food choices and a fun activity area for children and families," Presser said the email. "Next year we would like to continue the long tradition of the Coventry Street Fair as a peaceful, safe, diverse and enjoyable summer festival."

Eric July 09, 2011 at 04:50 PM
this is so lame and weak. Art makes the world go round. Now the city caves in because of some punk teenagers? Just taze them if if they get unruly; they should respect the law and other people. So basically that whole 6pm curfew had zero point??? Highly disappointing Cleve Hts....
Jake Crouse July 09, 2011 at 11:17 PM
So the punks won, right ? Good job, well done, Cleveland Heights officials. Neville Chamberlain had nothing on you. A wrong-headed move by a bunch of people with linguini for spines.
ro July 10, 2011 at 01:30 AM
Being safe comes first. If the parents of the trouble makers can't control their kids, then how do the police. It's the parents who need a few lessons in how to raise their kids. How do people attend this type of "Fun" function and come home with cuts and bruises! That's not fun for me!!! Cleveland Hts has every right to cancel the next street fair do to intolerable behavior!
ILUVCH July 10, 2011 at 03:39 AM
They arrested 16 people ages 12-18, hardly a riot. For this we should shut down a street fair? Give me a break.
A July 10, 2011 at 05:28 AM
Well they don't want to do actual policing nor riot control. All they want to do is to sit in their cars and give out speeding tickets on Mayfield Rd. They need to break out the riot gear and crack a few heads with batons. Like they say, they gotta "thug it out" with the criminally insane!
Maria Shine Stewart July 10, 2011 at 11:35 AM
Well, this makes me a little sad. I grew up on Coventry (north, duplex section) from the late 1950s through early 1970s. When the flower children entered the scene, the immigrant flavor altered. I moved away and always maintain at the core of my being both the heartache of personal memories and the joy of a great education at Coventry School plus the resources of the Coventry Library (almost a shrine to me at the time)...and the thriving small business scene there, which was an education in itself to a young girl. I wish that there were ways for youth to garner their powerful energy and need for camaraderie into activities other than solely organized sports and generalized browsing (or worse?) of neighborhoods. The teen years are difficult; I can attest to that. I barely survived solo and isolated; other kids are drawn to groups for imagined power. There are two issues here: The need for a creative venue for businesses and the need for young adults to have their aggression channeled into socially constructive activities. May minds far wiser than mine find the answers.
ro July 10, 2011 at 01:22 PM
how many people does it take to ruin an event? Sixteen people too many!! I grew up on Hampshire. There was NEVER any trouble or problems with fights in all the years I lived there and my parents lived there. This is s different world today, people don't care about each other, especially the younger generation.It seems all they want to do is start trouble and fight. This was not tolerated when I was growing up.If any one walks past Heights high school, you have to wonder how these kids left the house the way they are dressed. Short shorts, no underwear! Horrible. So this type of behavior does start at a very young age!
ILUVCH July 10, 2011 at 08:26 PM
I think some of the comments are a total over reaction at best. Were any of you there? Did you see unsavory 15 year old thugs out to pillage, rob and steal? The Fair should not have been canceled. The police handled it and they were not even prepared, the second time around they would have been. And one more thing. Get off the backs of these parents, you don't know them. You don't know how these kids are raised. If you for one minute think your kids are la dee da perfect, either you are not a parent (and if you are you probably suck at it) or you need a dose of reality.
marjohn July 11, 2011 at 03:06 AM
Amen@ iluvch! U all are a bunch of critical cynics who luv to point a finger or two. In short -get a life. What's done is done. Unless u get involve in wrkn a reslution keep ur freakin traps shut!!!
Kim Fry July 11, 2011 at 12:58 PM
I agree with ILUVCH and Jake. The fair should not have been cancelled. This signals that the punks won. Bring the prisoner vans, park them in strategic places and be ready. With the hyper-awareness of police, business owners and fair-goers, there would be no problem next time.
A July 11, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Well the Clev. Hts police chickened out AGAIN! The answer to this lies not in cancelling events but in providing for riot control since the criminals want to disrupt events for entertainment since their pathetic lives are worth little. Crack heads, liberal use of the taser and then throw them in jail for months and then see how quick things change. The endemically criminally insane don’t understand any language other than violence so communication has to occur in their lingo. To be ruled by the criminal classes is outrageous!
Sandy Stone July 12, 2011 at 02:55 AM
Maybe next time hire Cleveland's Mounted Police. Those horsies can be intimidating as well as entertaining! And let the rough-necks clean up the streets.
ILUVCH July 12, 2011 at 04:44 AM
The police did not cancel the fair it was the mayor and city council so please get off their backs. I like the idea of mounted police and letting these kids clean up the the horse poop as punishment. It would be a good lesson and a good laugh.
Glinda Smith July 12, 2011 at 01:24 PM
The kids do not want the fair cancelled - they love the fair. That's why they all showed up. But, because so many showed up at once, things got out of control. It's unruly flash mobs, which have been occurring all over the country, that need to be controlled. And we need time to figure this out.
Michelle Simakis (Editor) July 12, 2011 at 02:00 PM
@ILUVCH and @A, it was a decision made by police, the city and the merchants, according to Steve Presser. Technically the city does have the final word in allowing the fair, but Presser said more opinions were involved in this one.
A July 12, 2011 at 02:20 PM
Michelle thanks for the clarification but that is a difference without a distinction. So the CIC of the Clev. Hts police made the decision after consultations with the merchants. How does it change the fact that effectively the criminal classes are ruling us? Perhaps the mayor would like to invite the criminals into the city govt so we can negotiate with them as to which days we can have normalcy and when they want to go “native” and revert to their criminal mindset?
ILUVCH July 13, 2011 at 03:19 AM
If Steve Presser is correct, that it was a decision the police supported, then i respect that. As much as I want to believe the fair should not have been canceled, the CHPD know more about what they can handle than I do.
Micah Kirman July 14, 2011 at 03:34 PM
As a nearby resident, I'd be interested in getting more merchant perspectives on this, i.e. was the event successful before the melee, did it support their business, or was it a distraction? Was the purpose of the fair even to support area businesses or just bring people together for a good time on Coventry? I do believe merchants and the city should continue promoting Coventry with frequent special events starting sooner than later.

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