Logan Burtch-Buus

Beginning over forty years ago, the Fourth Avenue Street Fair found its roots when shop owners in the area would open up their doors and set tables outside of their establishments to attract holiday shoppers and bring in a little extra business. Humble beginnings have brought the street fair far, every year over three hundred thousand people make their way to downtown Tucson to enjoy the sights, smells, and entertainment.

Twice a year in our fair city, once during the Spring and again in the Winter, Fourth Avenue transforms into one of the nation's most impressive and largest street fairs. Every shop on Fourth Avenue will opens their doors wide to the tens of thousands that make their way downtown to shop, eat, and enjoy the entertainment. In addition to the shops already present at the location of the street fair, vendors from across the country set up tents and pavilions to sell their interesting goods. Present this Spring street fair will be over four-hundred artists, featuring works of art in many different mediums: glass, clay, wood, metal, and other hand-made marvels. Thirty food vendors of almost every conceivable origin will be in attendance, as well as two main stages that will host local musicians and street performers. Any Tucsonan who has not been able to witness the splendor and grandeur of the Fourth Ave. Street Fair has missed Tucson's largest art venue that has been a tradition in Tucson since for over forty years.

The downtown Tucson area has become notorious for "Mom and Pop" businesses. Known for unique and artistic product and offerings, this area of town offers one of a kind experience for anyone shopping there, and the street fair brings all of these unique offerings to one central location. After the recession in 2007 and 2008, the central and downtown areas of Tucson, where so many of these hip and interesting shops can be found, were faced with neglect and mistreatment and began to fall into varying degrees of disrepair. Because of some recent large investments, however, the downtown and central Tucson areas have undergone drastic repair and revitalization in the past few years in an attempt to repair the amazing atmosphere in the heart of our city. While patrons at the Spring Street Fair will not be able to experience all of the renovations of the past few years, if you decide to return in the Winter you will witness the reopening of the downtown tram.

The question now becomes, how exactly do I get to the street fair? Where will I Park? How much does it cost? The Fourth Ave. Street Fair is located in central Tucson from University Blvd. down Fourth Ave. until Ninth St. Encompassing several city blocks, the street fair will be packed to burst with the infamous white stands. This area of Tucson has an notorious reputation for difficult parking, as many of the road-side parking fills up quickly and can be difficult to locate if you do not know the area well. If you are interested in parking nearby and being shuttled to the street fair, the city of Tucson will be providing a completely free shuttle transit drop-off and pickup point from Pennington Street Parking Garage (Located 110 E. Pennington) and at the corner of Seventh St. and Third Ave. In addition, all parking in the area from Speedway Blvd. to the Fourth Ave. Underpass and from Stone Ave. to Euclid Ave. will not be subject to parking enforcement for residential permits, allowing for street fair goers to find adequate parking. If street-side parking does not appeal to you, there are other options. The University of Arizona has several parking garages in the area that are all just short, few minute's walk away from the street fair festivities and will be operating during the fair. The city is pulling out all of the stops to make sure that everyone who wants to enjoy the street fair, will have to ability to park nearby.

Twice a year, every year, downtown Tucson becomes a spotlight for unique and interesting wares and goods. Hundreds and merchants and vendors come from around the nation to show off their creations and goods to the tens of thousands in attendance. Unlike other shopping hotspots in our state like Tempe's infamous Mill Ave., the Fourth Ave. Street Fair suffers not from the monotony of the giant chain stores selling the same things you can buy at the mall. Come down to the Fourth Ave. Street Fair and enjoy an experience that is completely unique to Tucson.

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