West End Street Festival 2003


I’d never heard of this annual event before, but it’s been charkling along for at least 18 years. So big thanks to Ging for making me aware of it and asking me along with her crew to enjoy a day in the sun (even if we spent most of it in the pub!).

It was a weird ol’ day yesterday, with rain in the morning and muggy heat and sunshine by mid-afternoon. But the weather certainly wasn’t keeping people away. by the time I got there, the street was packed with folks, the sidewalk tables and chairs of the pubs were all full and the bands pumping out the music.

To me, it was like a small slice of Eugene, Oregon. There were plenty of folks who would have been at home there and all the food vendors and craft stalls reminded me of Saturday Market. There were also quite a few stalls with a political angle and there was even a place to get a massage by an alien.

By the time I arrived, I found Ging and her friend Janita sitting in the sun, polishing off the last of a fresh fruit drink. Shortly after, Ging fell in love/lust with this bloke. If anyone knows who he is so Ging can start stalking him, please let us know.

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To escape the heat, we all piled into the Pavilion pub, found a table and made it our home for the next 7 hours. Beer outside the pub was being sold in cans at a very reasonable price ($2.50), while drinks inside the pub were outrageous ($7.90 for a small plastic glass of wine). They did not seem to mind us bringing in the outside drinks so we continued to do so.

Later on, I went for a wander up and down the street to see what else was going on. I grabbed some very decent Thai food from a vendor, found Nemo, and checked out some of the centres of activity. There was quite a variety of places to choose from – although I never saw anything going on at Mini Circus World I think Ging saw some acrobats over there; there were three sound stages with varied music on all day; there was a cinema showing movies all day by local filmmakers; and the Underground Art Lounge in a covered carpark. There were also supposed to be roving street performers, but I never saw any evidence of this. It was a family atmosphere despite the alcohol, with plenty of kids and babies about the place.

By early evening we were joined by my friend Sharon and we said our cheers to the BootsnAll Portland Party that, in hindsight, was still going strong at that stage.

Overall, it was a great way to spend a Sunday arvo. No one was getting crazy since it was a school night, and although I didn’t partake in a lot of the events that were scheduled during the day/evening, it was a lot of fun to hang out and talk to a group of different folks. Even if my camera technique has not improved.