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Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair reaches its 50th year

Posted at 1:26 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 20:53:04-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — It's back and celebrating its 50th year. The bi-annual Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair started up today for its 99th time.

It began 50 years ago when shops put tables in front of their stores to draw in customers before the holidays. It has since turned into one of Tucson's biggest yearly events.

"50 years ago when our merchants were putting stuff out on the sidewalks and bringing in some friends as entertainers, that's kind of how it started to where we're at now," said Monique Vallery, Historic Fourth Avenue District's events director.

Vallery said the Street Fair draws crowds of more than 300,000 people each day it runs; and that foot traffic makes an impact.

"We just love that its so much a part of Tucson. That part of the money goes back into Tucson and keeps it going. And its just one of those things in town that everyone loves to do, so its fun to be part of it," said Mary Spencer, owner of The Metal Gardener.

Spencer has been manning her booths at the fair since 2009. But even before that, she and her family and friends were frequent guests.

"We used to come here with our friends for many years before we actually became vendors ourselves. Its just so reminiscent of Tucson and Arizona, and since we've lived here for the last 20 years, we want to be part of this," said Spencer.

Being a part of the shopping, food, and music has become a Tucson tradition for many visitors and vendors. For Mike and Cathy Lamb, owners of nuts about nuts, their tent has been pitched in the Street Fair for at least 16 years.

"Twice a year it is our number one show. And we do shows in Utah, Colorado, all over Arizona; and this is our busiest show of the year," said Cathy Lamb.

The Street Fair is located here between 8th Street and University Boulevard. The fair will be from 10am to dusk until Sunday. The Spring Street Fair is set for March 2020.