What’s Happening May 20-26
After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the U District Street Fair returns with hundreds of artists, makers, food trucks, performers and more for its 51st year.
In honor of the fair’s history and in partnership with the Museum of History & Industry, this year’s fair will shed light on the story of its creation, and the legacy of peace activist, Seattle leader and store owner Andy Shiga.
Since 1959, the Shiga family has owned and operated Shiga’s Imports, one of the few Asian import stores in Seattle outside the Chinatown International District. From the store’s spot on University Avenue in the University District, the political turbulence of the 1960s and ’70s was visible through various marches and protests, prompting Shiga and community members in the U District to brainstorm opportunities for people to interact with folks with different backgrounds and viewpoints.
When Shiga created the street fair, he envisioned a place where people could meet with others to broaden perspectives and relieve tensions in a time when calls for social justice and the end of wars around the world were particularly high, says Alfred Shiga, Andy Shiga’s son.
“We are having this fair to create one small situation in which people will be encouraged to cross over various social and psychological barriers to stimulate the growth of openness, humor, love and compassion amongst people,” Andy Shiga once explained in a Seattle Times article, “which is the real basis for a reactionary, free and healthy world.”
“It’s interesting that there’s another war that’s going on now between Russia and Ukraine because it brings additional parallels of how the world is continuing to fight these battles that my father would be adamantly against,” Alfred Shiga said.
The first fair, called the U District Sidewalk Fair, drew a crowd of 50,000 and featured 300 vendors, expanding to 600 vendors in 1971 and more than 100,000 visitors as the fair grew throughout the 1970s.
This year’s fair will feature a 10-block pedestrian marketplace with hundreds of vendors, live music from performers like the Garfield Jazz Band and Chaotic Noise, and beer gardens and outdoor dining areas highlighting local businesses like Shultzy’s, Big Time Brewing and Oasis Tea Zone.
As for the future of the fair, “I hope that it continues to go on as long as the community in the city wants it to,” Alfred Shiga said, “because the premise that it was built upon is important. It’s a good thing to be talking about, especially now.”
The fair will take place May 21-22 along University Way Northeast between Northeast 41st and Northeast 50th streets. It is a free, open-air event. Find more information at: udistrictseattle.com/streetfair
What else is happening
Here are some other events happening May 20-26 in the Puget Sound area. If you would like to submit an event for consideration, please email your event details to email@example.com.
Fisherman’s Village Music Fest — May 19-21
Everett Music Initiative presents a music festival featuring authentic Northwest rock ‘n’ roll with artists like Deep Sea Diver, SYML, Haley Heynderickx, Joshy Soul and more, plus food trucks and a night market. Purchase tickets online; prices vary. Downtown Everett, multiple locations; thefishermansvillage.com
Pulling for Seward Park: Community Reforestation Event — May 20
Seward Park Audubon invites visitors to help remove invasive plant species from Seward Park 9-11 a.m. Tools, gloves and mulch will be provided as participants work the land to protect the homes of birds and other wildlife. Register online; free. 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S., Seattle; 206-652-2444; sewardpark.audubon.org
Love, SeaTown — May 20
To kick off summer in downtown Seattle, enjoy a happy hour block party featuring music, local sports celebrities, beer gardens, food trucks and more 4-6 p.m. Free. 305 Harrison St., Seattle; 206-623-0340; loveseatown.com
University of Washington Aquatic Sciences Open House — May 21
Explore hands-on activities with the UW community, tour the Burke Museum fish collections, learn why coral bleaches and more at the Students Explore Aquatic Sciences’ open house 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 1122 N.E. Boat St., Seattle; 917-239-9588; fish.uw.edu
A Glimpse of China: Seattle Chinese Culture & Arts Festival — May 21
Seattle Center Festál continues with a Glimpse of China: Seattle Chinese Culture & Arts Festival, a virtual program noon-1:30 p.m. A Glimpse of China explores traditional and contemporary influences of China, covering 5,000 years of history through folk dances, artwork and dance. Streaming on the Washington Chinese Arts & Culture Committee Facebook page, facebook.com/SeattleCenter and youtube.com/SeattleCenter; free. st.news/festal
47th Annual Monroe Swap Meet — May 21-22
Visit one of the largest swap meets in the Pacific Northwest featuring old cars and parts, tools, engines, wheels, sheet metal, auto literature, farm equipment, antiques and more 8 a.m.-5 p.m. May 21 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. May 22. $10/parking. 14405 179th Ave. S.E., Monroe; monroeswapmeet.com
Tacoma Guitar & Drum Festival — May 21-22
Join the largest gathering of the musician community in the Pacific Northwest at the Tacoma Guitar & Drum Festival 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. May 21 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 22. Visitors also can buy, sell and trade new, used and vintage instruments. Purchase tickets online; $22/weekend pass, free/ages 12 and under. Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma; 253-272-3663; tacomadome.org
SPOTLIGHT NORTH Open Studio Tour — May 21-22
Meet North King County artists, check out their creative workspaces, see works-in-progress and purchase artwork at the inaugural SPOTLIGHT NORTH studio tour 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Location varies; spotlightnorth.org
“Koala Lou” Community Performance at the White Center Library — May 22
King County Library System hosts an interactive performance of “Koala Lou” by Mem Fox at 11:30 a.m. Explore big feelings with a Book-It Repertory Theatre teaching artist. Register online; free. 1409 S.W. 107th St. Seattle; 206-243-0233; kcls.org
PFLAG Parent Day — May 22
Join PFLAG Parent Day to celebrate and honor the families, allies and LGBTQ+ people who have stood by the mission of the organization since its founding at 11 a.m.; all are welcome, from parents to stepparents, guardians to grands, teachers to nurses, families by birth, choice, foster and adoption. RSVP online; free. pflag.org
Here are some future events with ticket sales recently announced.
Kendrick Lamar recently announced the 65-date Big Steppers Tour, comprising three legs hitting North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The tour includes an Aug. 27 stop at Climate Pledge Arena. Ticket sales begin May 20. oklama.com/tour