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After long hiatus, vendors grateful for Fourth Avenue Street Fair’s return

Vendor David Crawford completes a sale at the 2021 Fourth Avenue Street Fair.
Posted at 10:19 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-11 00:23:17-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Tucson’s Fourth Avenue Street Fair returned Friday after COVID-19 cancelled the 2020 edition.

Hundreds of artists, creators and other vendors made their first appearance at a street fair in two years.

Local business owners like Michelle Caillet—who makes handmade leashes, dog collars, tote bags and other items—say online sales during the pandemic weren’t as effective as selling at in-person events.

“You definitely felt like you didn’t have a job,” she said. “A lot of people say, ‘Well at least now you can recover.’ And we’re never gonna recover two years. So it’s really just starting over and just moving in a different direction.”

The first step in that direction is returning to Fourth Avenue’s big winter event.

Cheryl Kabala weaves scarfs and other clothing with an old-fashioned loom inside her tent, drawing conversations and occasional sales from people passing by.

She says she’s grateful for the interaction, but that she also found her quiet 2020 to be refreshing.

“It didn’t bother me because I sat and had time, had private time that I could sit and weave and not worry about a show coming up,” she said.

The show is back on the road for vendors who travelled to Tucson from other parts of the state or out of state, like David Crawford. He makes hanging chairs and purses and says he’s had great luck this year.

“Just the people and the crowds, it’s such a great town,” he said of the street fair. “And people buy like crazy. I have a whole following here! Of people who buy my purses and chairs.”

“It’s good, everyone’s super friendly and excited to be out and just have the fair again,” Caillet said. “I mean, a lot of us didn’t think it was ever gonna happen again.”

The Fourth Avenue Street Fair runs through Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to dusk.