Last Sunday, I rounded up my brother and my boyfriend to check out the Abell Street Fair. The annual event took place just a short walk from my apartment on Guilford Avenue and within a couple blocks of Peabody Heights Brewery and The Book Thing of Baltimore. I was particularly excited for this year’s festivities, as the last time I attended the fair was back in 2019.
The Abell Street Fair was the place to be on that bright, sunny Sunday; it was pleasantly warm outside and the air felt fresh as I walked up Barclay Street. The event featured lots of local food and craft vendors alongside organizations tabling for civic causes. It was sponsored by Peabody Heights Brewery, Busboys and Poets, Streets Market and Medstar Union Memorial Hospital.
If you haven’t spent much time in the Abell community yet, you’re missing out. Abell consists of the few blocks between Guilford Avenue and Waverly Farmers Market, and the rows of homes are a rainbow of painted porches. Walking my dog along this strip has made me determined to one day live somewhere with a beautiful, colorful front porch I can lounge on.
The vibe was inviting and cheerful; the first vendor I was drawn to was a man selling Persian-style rugs. As my dog had an unfixable accident on my hallway rug last week, I decided to invest in a vibrant red piece with a colorful floral pattern. Just a few steps away was the stall of the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition, a grassroots organization lobbying for the construction of the proposed Red Line light rail project. The Red Line, which was rescinded by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in 2015, would stretch 14 miles to connect East and West Baltimore.
My next stop was a jewelry stand called Straight from Africa, where I bought three pairs of fun and colorful earrings handmade in Kenya; if you know me, you know I love interesting and unique earrings, so I could not resist. After that, we continued up the street, following the scent of delicious food and the Brewery’s live music.
At the top of the street we received an exciting surprise: My brother met someone taller than him for only the fourth time in his adult life! My brother is 6 feet 8 inches tall and our new friend is 7 feet 2 inches tall; they exchanged tall person jokes which I’m sure was fun for them (though at 5 feet 7 inches tall I can’t relate). For a second, it felt like I was back home surrounded by the characteristically tall folks of Minnesota.
Our next destination was dessert: We opted for an apple and a caramel apple pie from Grandma Louise Pies, which were both delicious. While we munched, an art print caught the eye of my boyfriend and we headed over to check it out. He decided to buy the Baltimore-themed poster made by a talented local artist, which we plan to hang up in our living room.
My favorite part of the fair is how local and community-oriented it is. In addition to small businesses, local nonprofits and political groups, there were free activities for children to participate in and some residents even held garage sales on the sidewalk. Abell is a very tight-knit and communal neighborhood, and this was evident in the vibe of the fair.
Overall, the Abell Street Fair was a lovely escape from studying. I highly recommend keeping an eye out for when it will be held next fall as a great way to get to know your neighbors!