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New: Is Fizzled Berkeley Fair on Teley Fizzled Out?

By Ted Friedman
Monday July 29, 2013 - 09:52:00 PM

Telegraph Businessmen and Mayor Bates kept expectations low when they closed a few blocks of Teley street traffic to hold a summer-Sundays fair, launched June 9. 

According to all concerned, the fair would grow. 

Week eight, the fair's latest gasp was plagued by dismal fog-drips. The retrenching from four blocks to much less than two continued. Event planners will expand the event in the future, they say. 

But by week seven the fair had contracted—relegated to a block and a half stretch of the four-block fair route. 

Teley boosters like Craig Becker (Caffe Med), Al Geyer (Annapurna), and Eddy Monroe (Street Vendor) made it seem the fair would soon pull a rabbit out of a hat. 

But the rabbit may have been waylaid by Porky Pig. 

What is wrong? 

More students have come to town since the deserted days of June when Teley was a bare bone. But these students have a primary and exclusive destination—Cream, an ice-cream store hole in the wall at Teley/Channing, a former Mrs. Field's Cookies, where they score ice-cream jammed between just-out-of-the-oven thick dough-globs for $2.50 (up from $1.50). 

The mishmash melts before you can make it across the street to "Melt," raising the possibility of switched at birth. 

"We just scarf it down fast before it melts," a student told me. Scarfed too fast to taste? 

Fair planners have tried, jugglers, chess events, clowns, bands, but nothing can turn Summer (always slow business) into Fall. 

An ad hoc group of fixers met at the Med, recently to fix the fair. This South Side Reporter sat in and contributed to the fix with the idea of a Big Lebowski day. The fixers focussed on participatory activities. 

The chess stand at Teley/Channing, which draws chessnuts, exemplifies the participatory fix, but Big Lebowski seems not to have made the cut. 

Reasons given for the present fizzle include: absence of students, weather, competing events, and seasonal doldrums. 

Unmentioned is lack of publicity. The fair has not made various events calendars. 

That problem has been partially addressed. 

Rasputin, that rapscallion, may come to the rescue with a heavily-promoted street concert featuring crowd-drawing groups. This event-changer could come to the rescue soon. Other participatory activities are scheduled. 

By September, as students begin their comebacks, the fair should thrive, its fetal swoon forgotten. 


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