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Saturday, April 30, 2011

West End Party and Street Fair

I got to this fair around 11:30am and stayed for two hours. It was gusty and hot. My goal was to take photographs of a variety of people, young and old, man and woman, teen and baby, doing and wearing a variety of things. I wanted a composite of the person in town.

My first reaction was that there was much more of a religious theme to this year's street fair. There were many churches with their tents out, several organizations giving out free bibles. I didn't see as much of a western theme as last year with reenactors walking around talking to visitors. There didn't seem to be as much of a crowd, too.

Weather was warm and windy, and vendors had to often stand holding down the tent frame. There were a few food vendors, and the usual military organization with their grizzled veterans (who often make for the best photographs), and a few local musicians providing for free entertainment.

But I didn't see the amount of teenagers this time. Maybe it had something to do with the school's prom being today as well and they were getting ready. I talked with a few people like Suzette, a local ceramic artist who admits she is low income and has neither computer nor internet in her one-room trailer in town. Her art is good enough to sell to a larger audience if only she could get recognition for her work. I told her about the Cochise College computer lab, but she would need to have someone show her how to use basic functions.

I walked up and down the closed-off street to take photos of passers-by. I wanted variety, and sometimes I was scanning through my lens looking at people as I stood off to the side. Some of the vendors started recognizing me. Some school kids recognized me, too. The longer I work in town, the less chances I have of being incognita!

Some things were around from last year: the rock lady who lets kids and adults alike take free rocks off her table, the giant desert tortoise was on display, and so was the Lizard Lady. There were a few vendors for children but overall the excitement this year seemed a little toned down: not as much art, music, food. I didn't even see as many dogs there this year!

I was home by 2pm as the gusts began to strengthen. I drank beer and had a late dinner, chatted with Kevin who was a few beers past buzzed, and left again at 6:30pm to take evening shots of the street fair. But to my surprise the street was empty! The tents had all been broken down and the visitors had all left in the 4.5 hours I was gone. Was this year's fair only scheduled for the day? Or had bad winds cut the fair short? The online calendar listed 10pm as the closing time, with vendors shutting down by 6pm. I wonder why it was cut short this year? Lack of funds?

As I returned home the fires from Mexico were leaving a long brown streak across the sky. I could smell fire.

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