For the first time since fall 2019, the biannual ASUO Street Faire is coming back in all its crafty, deep-fried glory.
The pandemic put the kibosh on the long-running and much-loved campus event in spring and fall of 2020, as well as spring last year. The fair was back last fall, but not at full capacity.
This year’s event, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 4-6, will feature the usual and varied assortment of more than 40 food and craft vendors lining East 13th Avenue in the heart of campus.
Brad Morin, the student body secretary of events and planning, is helping to organize spring Street Faire. A third-year student studying business, he remembers being wowed by the event as a freshman on campus.
“I really appreciated how unique it was and how unexpected the event was,” he said. “It brings life to campus.”
He said he was hard-pressed to pick a favorite food vendor, but if forced to choose, he’d opt for Funnel of Love, purveyor of elephant ears, funnel cakes and just about anything that can be put on a stick, battered and deep fried, from Oreos to pickles.
Funnel of Love is owned by Debbie Gammon, a British woman from Olympia, who said she was delighted to bring her red food cart back to Eugene for Street Faire.
“I really love that I get to meet so many students from all over the world,” she said. “It has such a good energy. I really love the vibe.”
Like many food cart operators, Gammon said the pandemic has been a challenging time. She said she barely worked in 2020 after things shut down, while things picked up in 2021 as people were ready to get out and about.
“It was extremely tough,” she said. “I had a loan on my trailer and no money coming in.”
She was able to get a small-business loan to keep afloat, and is “very excited that things are getting back to normal.”
Similarly, Scott Chen, owner of Samo’s Bonsai & Gifts in Elk Grove, California, said he loves to coming to Street Faire, where his booth has been a presence for more than 20 years.
“It’s a good fair for me,” he said.
Students seem to love getting his bonsai for their dorm rooms, he said.
“They see the nice green and are really excited,” he said. “I’m very happy to talk to them and show them how to take care of a tiny tree. It’s great.”
—By Tim Christie, University Communications