by Kirby Lindsay, posted 13 June 2012
The Fremont Street Fair fills our streets with celebration, and a smackerel of chaos, starting Friday, June 15th. Over its three-days, this homegrown festival embraces all the qualities of our diverse (even dichotic) community – the fun, friendly, freaky, frenetic, and free. And the philanthropic.
Free-Market Philanthropy At The Fremont Fair
At the May 2012 Fremont Chamber of Commerce Board Meeting, Phil Megenhardt, of Bold Hat Productions, observed the importance of the Fair vendors. These booths line the streets, and their owners pay fees to be there to show/sell their wares. Megenhardt, who organizes the Fair on behalf of the Chamber, remarked that these fees underwrite the Fair – and contribute to the money raised by the Fair for charities like Solid Ground.
Shopping the Fair booths isn’t just entertaining (and eye-opening in the wide-variety of products and food made and sold there.) It is also philanthropic.
One booth – Sanctuary Screenprinting (booth #44) – compounds the good done. The company supports the non-profit Sanctuary Arts Center, a drop-in arts workshop for at-risk and/or homeless youth (ages 13 – 25.) The Center, located in the University District (in space rented from the University Lutheran Church,) gives these young people a place to go and be creative. “It’s kind of a free-for-all when they get in here,” admitted Caroline Falt, Program Director and Volunteer Coordinator.
The Center provides space, and materials, where youth can create stained glass, pottery, jewelry, music, and painting in oils, charcoal, watercolors, pastels, etc. While the program (begun in 1999) is supported largely through grants, the Sanctuary Screenprinting business (launched 5 years ago,) is being developed as an alternative funding source.
Sanctuary Screenprinting employs some of the older youth, if they apply and get hired, as well as using designs they submit on some of the art shirts. Primarily, the business depends upon orders for shirts for specific programs or promotions. They’ve created shirts for the YMCA, Pacific Science Center, Burke Museum, the Windermere Foundation and some smaller businesses. “A lot hear about us through word-of-mouth,” Falt explained, and the booth at festivals, like the Fremont Fair, help spread the word.
In the booth, located near the sidewalk entrance to the Fremont PCC Natural Market, Sanctuary Screenprinting sells its art t-shirts. “We come up with our own designs,” Falt said, most of which can be seen on the Sanctuary Screenprinting website. The shirts sell for $20 each, (with 2 for $35, and 3 for $50) and, as Falt pitched, “all proceeds go back to serving homeless youth.”
“All the staff will be at the booth,” Falt admitted, including her. “I love doing it,” she enthused, “It’s great to sell apparel, but it’s more important to share the message,” about supporting art opportunities for at-risk youth. While checking out the shirts, feel free to ask about the work going on at the Sanctuary Arts Center – and its youth!
Other Opportunities for Philanthropy
Some Fremont Fair philanthropy isn’t about giving, but about getting. Every year at the Fair, near the Red Door Ale House, look for the “Orange Booth” operated by the Fremont Baptist Church and distributing lemonade, hot coffee and cold water (including bowls of water for the 4-legged fairgoers.)
Everything is given for free, although volunteers will ask for a cash donation that will go, 100%, to the food bank. The Church does it to help out the community, and to meet neighbors far and wide. Just like, on Sunday, June 17th, when they hold the bi-annual ‘Sundaes On The Porch’ from 11:45a – 12:30p. Every week the Church holds a social hour, inside, but in the spirit of Fremont Fair fellowship and philanthropy, they will serve sundaes outside – for free – as a way to meet the neighbors. Of course, again, they will accept donations…
Meanwhile, on the Saturday of the Fremont Fair, the Fremont Arts Council will hold its startlingly spectacular Solstice Parade – with two particularly noteworthy causes scheduled to appear: the Jellies For Joy and the Green Hat ensemble.
A squadron of Jellyfish can be seen dancing, jiggling, spinning and hopping down the streets of Fremont during the Parade. All this entertainment is done in support of the important work of Treehouse – an amazing organization that gives foster kids positive childhood memories, and a brighter future. The Jellyfish, in their surprisingly simple but visually stunning costumes, will likely wow the crowds – and hopefully inspire and encourage the families that depend upon Treehouse.
Meanwhile, the volunteers with the Green Hat will solicit donations from parade watchers to literally pay for the Solstice Parade. This year a record amount must be raised to cover the increasing expense of this madcap celebration art piece. Many of the ensembles repurpose and reuse materials for the floats and puppets (look for the Zero Waste Seattle water-bottle dragon) which lowers the bill for materials, the Arts Council must also pay for City-mandated safety items (parking signs, street use permits, etc.) Look for the inter-galactic disco Green Hat ensemble, and toss a donation into the hat to make a 2013 (and 25th!) Solstice Parade possible.
Other Opportunities For Fun
The 2012 Fremont Street Fair includes more opportunities than ever for fun: Yoga for the Solstice, the Puppy Parade, Seattle Art Car Blowout, the Fremont Abbey Arts For All booth, etc. Not to mention the food, music, and, of course, beer gardens.
While walking the streets, and enjoying the most excellent entertainment, take a moment to share a little extra – and/or hear about a worthwhile cause – to help those unable to help themselves. Come celebrate fun, funky, fabulous, friendly, fantastical and philanthropic Fremont!
- Artsy Antics Abound At 2012 Fremont Fair
- by Kirby Lindsay, for FremoFodder, on May 18, 2011
- Of Dogs, Dads & Yoga – At The Fremont Fair
- by Kirby Lindsay, June 15, 2011
- Solid Ground Bids Fremont Fair Well
- by Kirby Lindsay, February 8, 2010
- ‘What Are You Doing For The Solstice Parade?’
- by Kirby Lindsay, June 8, 2012
©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.