COURTESY OF VERONICA REARDON The Abell Street Fair is held every September to support the AIA.
By VERONICA REARDON Your Weekend Columnist
Most of campus is familiar with Hampdenfest: RAs encourage their residents to attend with them, flyers litter Hampden establishments for the weeks leading up to it, and the WJHU kids go on and on about how Future Islands, a relatively well-known Baltimore band, played last year.
Less popular for Hopkins students (despite its closer proximity to where most of us live) is the Abell Street Fair. I am sure it’s less popular in part because it falls on the same weekend as Hampdenfest and we all have a lot of work to do (so much work to do aaah) so it might seem unreasonable to attend both in one weekend.
Its lack of attendance on the part of the Hopkins community is also likely linked to its family-oriented nature. Instead of being crowded with mostly adults and students, families (and many cats and dogs) make up the majority of attendees.
The fair itself isn’t very large — a couple blocks — and is fairly specific to Abell, Guilford and the immediate surrounding area, which is precisely why more students should go!
Many of the row houses near Hopkins, on Guilford Avenue, Calvert Street, 33rd Street and so on are inhabited by Hopkins students. This makes us a part of the community whether or not we chose to acknowledge it.
Taking part in that community is something that could definitely improve the relationship between residents and Hopkins students. It would also allow us to get to know our neighbors and experience living in Baltimore more fully.
At the fair this year there seemed to be several Hopkins students helping run a couple of booths, wearing Hopkins shirts and selling baked goods. But all-in-all the fair was somewhat lacking student involvement and attendance.
The fair itself is run by the Abell Improvement Association (AIA) and is used as a fundraiser for their efforts in the Abell community. It is an event very much worth supporting! There were a lot of local craft booths, presumably belonging to people who live within the neighborhood. A fair amount of the food seemed to come from the neighborhood as well. There was of course beer and wine to be had, and there were two stages set up at each end of the street fair.
Arguably the best part of the event was how many kids were running around, many in crazy costumes, either trying to get you to buy things or just playing. The combination of the families, just the right amount of people — neither crowded nor empty — and the beautiful weather made for an idyllic Sunday.
Side note: on the Abell Improvement Association’s website they make a direct dig at Hampdenfest, which is pretty funny: “At a far more manageable scale than the oversized festivals in neighboring communities, Abell’s Street Fair retains the authenticity and intimacy that defines our community.” I couldn’t agree more. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any more events based in the Abell community. You should too if you’re Abell! (ha! puns!)