University District StreetFair

I’ve been involved in a love/hate relationship with the U District ever since I first moved to Seattle and spent the following three years living a block off the Ave. Every spring, when the Ave rats and frat boys began to outweigh the virtue of cheap eats, the University District StreetFair would return to tip the scales back toward love. The longest running street fair in the nation was started 40 years ago by the late Andy Shiga (of Shiga’s Imports) as a way to promote peace during the height of the Vietnam War protest era, when hippies, peaceniks, and cops clashed on the Ave. To celebrate its milestone anniversary, this year’s fair will include live music from the last four decades. You can also use your cell phone to access recorded oral histories from activists of the ’60s and ’70s in the “Open to Question” kiosk (at Brooklyn and 45th) For others, the draw will be the usual crafts, food booths, and live entertainment (today and Sunday from N.E. 50th to 41st Streets). And, if you’re brave enough to leave the house in a costume inspired by one of the last four decades, roving judges will be awarding prizes. How will they be able to tell the difference between a current hipster and an ’80s-costumed revivalist. The absence of irony, I guess. SUZIE RUGH

Sat., May 16, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., May 17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 2009