by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & n our busy, multi-tasking society, if you can have fun and do a good thing -- well, then you bloody well should. Mark your calendar for the seventh annual South Perry Street Fair this weekend and you can do both. If event coordinator Jason Williams has his way, you'll bring the kids to march in the parade Saturday morning, thrill to the aerial acrobatics of the Wenatchee Youth Circus, set them loose on the mini-ponies, and eat too much at the food booths. Somewhere in between, he hopes, you will thread your way through Grant Park and tour the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, which on Saturday will be open for tours from 10 am-2 pm -- the only day of the year that the public is admitted. All of the fair's proceeds will benefit the nursery, and if you bring an armload of nursery wish-list items to donate, Williams' philanthropic ambitions will be realized.
But the other goal of the fair has always been to make it homegrown, "a community thing," says Williams, who is co-owner of the Shop, a coffee shop and music venue that anchors the district's cultural scene. A new addition to that scene is the Thursday-only farmers market, located just behind Lorien, that has become very popular very quickly.
As for the fair, the "pre-kickoff" takes place at the Shop on Thursday night with live music by Draco and the Malfoys opening for Harry and the Potters -- followed, of course, by an al fresco showing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Note to Potter-heads: Wizard garb is OK, but leave the sorcerer's wands at home along with the Quaffles and Bludgers. Oh, and don't forget to bring your lawn chair. Then keep your lawn chairs at the ready for The Goonies on Friday night and Casablanca on Saturday, with romance as only Bogart and Bergman can deliver it.
And there's more. For musicians and music lovers alike, Breezy Brown's (of Unified Groove Merchants) music and gear swap will take place under the trees toward the west end of Grant Park. Be prepared to haggle. Just beyond, classic cars will be on display at 10th and Arthur -- drivers wanted. (OK, not literally.) The Grant Elementary Drum and Dance Troupe will be bustin' a move or two, and the Ashe African Drummers will work more percussive magic. Bring your happy feet.
But the featured act this year, even amid all the assembled star power, is the Wenatchee Youth Circus. At least, Williams thinks so, but then he's an alum. At age 8, he actually ran away and joined the circus -- though in his case, it was conveniently located right there in Wenatchee and run by a local English teacher, Paul Pugh, who was also known as Guppo the Clown. Like so many other Wenatchee kids, Williams began with clowning and juggling and tumbling, later learning to walk the low-wire and do tricks on the trampoline. (Only the rectangular sort will do; the round ones are for amateurs, he sniffs.) Eventually he mastered both fire-eating and treading the incline cable. He followed his brothers into the circus, practicing year-round and performing every weekend in the summer. Not only is it a great show, Williams says, but a good example of what can happen when the community takes a cause to heart. As a kid, he had no idea of the money raised to fund the circus, but now it's in its 54th year. There are four performances Saturday, so if you miss it, you have no excuse.
So let's recap: food, music, movies, ponies, classic cars, quilts and a circus. You have fun, the kids are in raptures, and Vanessa Behan gets the proceeds. It's big fun for busy multi-taskers. It's a good thing.
South Perry Street Fair on Friday, July 14, from 7 pm-midnight, on Saturday from 9 am-midnight, and on Sunday from 9 am-4 pm, on Perry Street between Ninth and 12th avenues. Visit www.southperry.com or call 534-1647. For more fun in South Perry, check out the Farmer's Market on 11th Avenue (behind Lorien's Herbs) on Thursdays from 3-8 pm.