Street fair beer helps the neighborhood

The glorious Fourth Avenue Street Fair kicks off Friday, Dec. 11, an event that always promises a fine array of cool art, crappy art, creepy geegaws, fried food – and beer.

Street fair corn file photo/Ryn Gargulinski

Street fair corn file photo/Ryn Gargulinski

Hitting the beer booths is for a good cause. Not necessarily for your liver, but for the non-profits that run the things.

Three of the booths are run as fundraisers by neighborhood groups – Iron Horse, West University and, our favorite, the distinctive Pie Allen.

Pie Allen is our favorite because loyal reader Korey K., who lives there, says so. Korey is a current board member and former president of the Pie Allen Neighborhood Association and has the inside scoop on some fun neighborhood facts.

Like the jest about how the neighborhood was named for a pedophile.

“We sometimes joke that we are the only neighborhood named after a pedophile as Mr. Allen’s wife was only 12 when they were married,” Korey said, adding marrying young was fairly common back in the 1800s.

Today that would make a good headline – nice and sensationalistic.

The Mr. Allen in question is John Brackett “Pie” Allen. Korey tells us. The guy was an early Tucson mayor as well as an entrepreneur who got rich selling dried apple pies. That’s also how he got his nickname.

We’re not sure why folks focused on the “Pie” part of the description, as “Dried Apple” Allen is kind of catchy.

“Allen was also sort of an old west version of Don Diamond,” Korey says, “and was responsible for the original subdivision of several blocks within our boundaries.”

Street fair creepy geegaws/Ryn Gargulinski

Street fair creepy geegaws/Ryn Gargulinski

Pie Allen’s boundaries run from Park Avenue on the east, Herbert Avenue on the west, Sixth Street to the north and Broadway to the south, save for the area between Euclid Avenue and Fourth Avenue south of Eighth Street. The center of the U-shaped Pie Allen is Iron Horse.

Pie Allen and its environs are also cool, boasts Korey, because a bunch of famous folks have lived around there. Notables include author Barbara Kingsolver, artist Ted DeGrazia and Tucson’s own Linda Ronstadt.

With all that fun stuff going on, it’s no wonder Korey is so involved in the neighborhood.

“The best part (of being involved) is effecting positive change and seeing the tangible results,” Korey says. “The worst is the feeling that not enough people care.

“Every neighborhood has negative pressures of some sort, and they don’t fix themselves. If you’re a Republican, you can take personal responsibility. If you’re a Democrat you can better your local society. If things are all hunky dory, you can throw a party and get to know your neighbors.”

Eek. That means we’d have to stop hiding in our houses.

Folks who want to get involved in their own neighborhood can check out the more than 130 registered neighborhood associations or start their own. Learn more by visiting the Housing and Community Development and Associations and Neighborhoods Maps websites.

And how do area folks find the street fair? They generally love it.

“It seems that the biggest critics of the street fair live miles and miles away and also hate El Tour, Downtown Meet Yourself, or anything downtown for that matter, and believe all the central city neighborhoods should be bulldozed into oblivion.”

How would we buy creepy geegaws then?



Street fair foods/Ryn Gargulinski

Street fair foods/Ryn Gargulinski

What do you think?

Are you involved in your neighborhood? How so?

Do you find neighborhood associations to be helpful or a pain in the butt?

Are you a fan of the Fourth Avenue Street Fair? Why or why not?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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21 Responses to Street fair beer helps the neighborhood

  1. Carolyn Classen says:

    I’m an officer of my neighborhood association board and have been on the board for about 6 years.  It’s a great way to help shape policies for the neighborhood, meet other committed residents, and be part of the “community” of Tucson.

  2. Jennatoolz says:

    Hey Ryn!!! I love the 4th Ave Street Fair!! However, I don’t buy the beer. I buy random things from the vendors, as long as I think it’s cool enough. Since I’m looking for some art/paintings/deco to give my new place some flare, it’s a perfect place to go! (By the way, I’ll be putting in an order to you in the near future!)
    As for the poll, I chose “other” because I’m more of a private person. I don’t necessarily hide from my neighbors, but I don’t really go out of my way to say “Hi” to them either. My neighbor has a couple young daughters, and just the other day while I was having a blast playing with Dante inside, I happened to notice one of the girls creepily standing at my front door (I had the door open, but the screen door was shut.) I went over to her and asked her if she was okay, because she looked really sad. She asked if she could play with my kids…and I told her I didn’t have any for her to play with, so she slowly walked back over to her own house without another word. The whole time she never looked up at me, she was always looking down at the ground. It was a little strange, I have to admit. 😛

    • Rynski says:

      hiya jenna!
      i’m in between saying HI to neighbors (as I actually like some of them) and hiding from them (haha). i do, however, look out for their houses and such if i see suspicious stuff going on. i’m not sure if that’s out of the goodness of my heart or because i’m just nosy….
      what a creepy little girl! was her name sweet alice?
      i, too, love the street fair. always have so much fun and usually find lots of cool things, like my favorite creepy geegaws!

  3. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! Twelve year olds? Geez, Mary and Joseph…What was the life expectancy back then, nineteen? 🙂
    I love the charm of the old neighborhoods. Much nicer that the cramulated stucco pillboxes they build these days. Maybe I can talk my sweetie into a day at the streetfair, but no chance on the brewski booths. She doesn’t partake.

    • Rynski says:

      mornin’ radmax –
      a day at the street fair would be a wonderful date! i, too, would say heck with the beer – and heck with the fried foods.
      i love the old neighborhoods as well. too bad i couldn’t afford to live in one, as any house worth living in (i.e. those with roofs that don’t leak, etc.) was way out of my price range.
      i think some of the cramulated stucco structures also kind of resemble oubliettes! or at least that’s what my beau tells me…he’s up on dead things…

      • radmax says:

        The place where people go and are never seen again…I think I may have to change my opinion of your beau. Nah 🙂

  4. koreyk says:

    Hey Ryn
    Thanks for the plug.  It’s so…so…unexpected.
    Two minor clarifications.  Linda Ronstadt’s partying was well before my time.  I’m old, but not that old!  John Denver went to Mansfeld Jr. High, which is next door in Rincon Heights.  I’m not sure where he lived.

    • Rynski says:

      hey korey –
      you’re welcome – i just had this urge to write about it…hahah
      thanks for clarifications. i shall amend post but if i take out john denver i’ll have to take out my joke about him not singing about “A” Mountain. oh well.
      hope you raise lots of funds for dried apple pie allen!

  5. azmouse says:

    I like the street fair…can’t beat it for people watching.

    I’m the neighbor everybody is probably hiding from! LOL
    I like to talk to everybody, and I give gifts of home made goodies and bottles of wine for every occasion I can think of. I also keep my eyes peeled for unusual activity. I have keys to some of my neighbors houses, and vice-versa. I live in a great old neighborhood and some of the folks on my street have been here since these houses were built in the seventies. I help folks paint their houses, walk their dogs, etc. It’s fun.

    • Rynski says:

      people watching is AWESOME at the street fair – esp. when you get candid snaps of them eating corn.
      you sound like a very fine neighbor, not one that makes people hide! that’s great you sound like it really is a community, rather than just a strip of houses.

    • Jennatoolz says:

      I’d rather have a neighbor like you azmouse!!! Rather than the one I have now that lets their kids ride their scooter’s in my driveway and play in my yard…and also lets their creepy daughter come peeking through my screen door while I have a bunch of family over for a BBQ (my first encounter with the creepy screen door girl wanting to play with my non-existant kids). It was after dark too!! I was boggled!

      • azmouse says:

        Thanks Jennatoolz!

        I’d keep an eye on creepy-screen-door-kid’s Mom. Maybe there’s neglect there, because I’m suspicious!

        When I was four years old or so, I lived on a culda-sac (not sure how to spell that) and everybody had kids except for one big, huge guy who had a beard (it was the sixties, after all). All us kids were afraid of him and we figured out he was probably cooking and eating children in his house, so everyone stayed away from him.
        Of course, I liked scary stuff, so I had to meet the guy. I snuck over to his house and knocked on his door. He answered and just looked at me. I told him my name and where I lived and asked him what his name was.
        This is what he said……
        “My name is Puddin’ Tane, ask me again, I’ll tell you the same”.
        I was amazed….he was scary, he had a cool name, and he used his own name in a rhyme!!!!  I was so excited because next time he came home from work, I’d impress all my friends by running over to him with no fear and saying, “Hello Mr. Puddin’ Tane”! I’d be the coolest kid ever!!!!
        It worked. I was cool and had no fear, and I talked to the guy all the time after that.

        The moral of this story is…maybe the kid is staring at you because she thinks you’re scary and you don’t have kids because you cooked them and ate them, so tell her your name is Puddin’ Tane and she’ll be mighty impressed, indeed.

      • Jennatoolz says:

        LOL!! You’re right, it might just work out, as I also live in a cul-de-sac — the correct spelling, for your future knowledge. 😉 I can be scary, too!

        I have a feeling that she only comes over because the previous tenants had 129,378,398,413 kids (I know this because I came to look at the place while the family was still in the process of moving out.) It was my understanding that their kids and the neighbors kids would often play together.

        Maybe the creepy screen door girl assumed I had kids too, and felt it was okay to come watch through the screen door as my Aunt Kim and stepdad Chuck raced to see who could do the “robot” first while we were playing an intense game of Scene-It. Although it must have been quite entertaining for her, it’s NOT okay with me. Maybe I should have a word with her mother if it happens again…then I’ll really be scary! Rawrrrr!!!

      • azmouse says:

        Dang! Okay, now that I see the correct spelling…well, I knew that! LOL

        The poor kid just misses her buddies. That’s sad. Well, you’re pretty young, so throw a couple little pigtails in your hair tied with ribbons, and go out and play with the poor kid!
        I can see ya now. Imagine Aaron’s face when he pulls up and sees his beautiful woman out ther playing with the neighbor kids in the dirt, her knees all skinned up.

      • Rynski says:

        i LOVE the puddin’ tane story – too funny!
        i’m not as fond of creepy girl but do like the idea of perhaps talking to the mom.
        i’m surprised the former tenant had 129,378,398,413 kids and the wood floors still look so spanking new!

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Hey…I’ll take the skinned knee’s over the pre-planned head injuries any day! hahah! 😛

  6. Karyn Zoldan says:

    For 5 years I was on the board of the Poets Square Neighborhood Association. I was the secretary and also the co-president. I also wrote a grant that we got from Pro Neighborhoods. Currently, I am the neighborhood watch person for our block. 

    As for the 4th Avenue Fair, I must give a plug for Silver Sea Jewelry & Gifts at 330 N. 4th Avenue. The booth will be selling the Beading Divas to the Rescue’s famous beaded bracelets for $20 and all proceeds from these bracelets benefit Equine Voices for the entire month of December.

    • Rynski says:

      hiya karyn,
      poets square is a VERY cool name for a nabe. how cool you, too, are involved. it’s so keen when people care.
      i’ll double your plug for silver sea jewelry – and the great cause the famous bracelets are supporting.
      thanks for chiming in.

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