Dancing in the Streets

There's something different about the little neighborhood street festivals of summer: A communal block-party feel that connects people without overwhelming them. The Old South Gaylord Memorial Day Weekend Festival, going strong now for more than thirty years, represents all that and more, though what makes it work is really no secret.

"It's the diversity of artisans and vendors at the festival that people like," says fest spokesman Tony Hodes. "And it just seems like a relaxed, chilled-out way to spend Memorial Day weekend. It's not high pressure, even though there's a good amount of people there." This holiday fest has a way of catering directly to everyone -- neighbors, sightseers, dogs, kids on scooters with fairy wings -- while dealing out good entertainment and fun shopping and dining opportunities, both outside on the street and inside the shops and restaurants.

The weekend starts off tonight at 6 p.m. with carnival games and a family-friendly outdoor screening of the original Footloose beginning at dusk (bring a blanket or rent a chair for $2); the festival proper kicks in tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and wraps up on Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring a new fine-art pavilion, seventy vendor booths, kids' activities and live music throughout (acts include Coles Whalen and John Common, among others). The festival spreads out on the 1000 block of Old South Gaylord Street at Mississippi Avenue; get details at www.southgaylordstreet.com.
May 26-28, 2012

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd