The fall Downtown Street Faire is set for Sept. 6 along Sixth Street in downtown Los Banos, and will feature everything from snow cones and trains to artists and crafts.
The Los Banos Chamber of Commerce puts on two of these street fairs each year – one in the spring and one in the fall. Executive Director Bertha Faria said that while the spring fair tends to be the bigger event, her list of booths for the fall fair has already surpassed last year’s – 45 to last year’s 42 as of Aug. 22 – and more spots are available.
“Our food vendors, we’re not accepting any more because we have to run to Merced and get our health permits for them,” Faria said. “But typically up until a couple of days before the street fair if somebody wants to sign up, we still accept vendors.”
One thing helping out the street fair this year is that it’s an election year, with several local races that look to be close. A few candidates have ordered permits for booths.
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“I think it kind of gives people a chance to come out and meet them,” Faria said. “With our local races, if they don’t watch the city council meetings, a lot of newcomers don’t know who the council and mayors are, and it gives them a chance to catch up and talk with them about the local issues.”
As is custom, the Los Banos Rotary Club will host its pancake breakfast (this year with ham, which has not been part of the pancake breakfast the last two years) from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Westside Union Elementary School. The cost is $8.
For entertainment, Knight’s Express out of Newman will offer train rides around the event, and chamber member John Cates will host the entertainment at the intersection of Sixth and I streets, which typically features dance groups, fitness groups, martial arts groups and karaoke.
“I always hope for a big crowd,” Faria said. “It just kind of gives us that small-town feeling where you draw everybody into an event. It’s kind of relaxed, as long as the weather is good.”
The booths feature regulars such as the Friends of the Library’s book sale and various crafts, along with a few newcomers. Chamber member Jerry Knoester has brought in a novelty booth – Mary Anderson’s husband collected John Deere memorabilia before he passed away, and his collection will be for sale, along with some of his horseshoe art and other items.
Many of the downtown businesses will be open as well, giving many folks who don’t know what the area has to offer a chance to explore.
“Some of them will close, either to just enjoy the street fair themselves, or they will close because sometimes they feel maybe it’s not all that great for their business,” Faria said. “I know personally, prior to my tenure here, I would always go through, because they would always offer specials in their stores, so I always made a point to walk through the various stores.”
The food vendors will feature churros, barbecue and Asian cuisine, along with newcomer NorCal Snowy, which offers a snow cone bar where customers can choose their own syrup flavors.