The Mississippi Street Fair is the everyday culture clash of North Mississippi on acid. Any other day of the year, you can pick your way through blocks of fastidious gentrification bearing down on the few original local fixtures that remain, in the company of everyone from greasy hipsters to housewives who converge in a stilted hodge-podge of scene, age, race and class. But on Saturday, the countless diverse facets of Mississippi exploded out of storefronts and side streets into the technicolor hullabaloo that is the Street Fair.
Hippie-dippy sustainable t-shirt stands with tangles of pastel garments swinging in the breeze stood mere feet from catfish fry booths and southern-style rib tents, swathed in a beefy haze billowing from smokers.
Restaurant seating spilled out across sidewalks and into the road, some, including the perpetually hectic ¿Por Que No?, taking up both traffic lanes, and oh-so-Portland bike parking lots book-ended the stretch.
The church on the corner of Lombard sold snow cones behind hand-made signs from its buzzing back lawn, while activists plugged their causes in pristine stands in just up the block. The cacophony of live banjoes and cheerful voices drowned out the usual tension that seems to hang over the main drag of Mississippi as every kind of Portlander imaginable roamed from stand to stand. The smooth fusion of the many faces of Mississippi may have been short-lived, but the Street Fair definitely brings out the good side of a collision.