A bazaar for the bizarre

We can only hope that the sun is on its way soon—never mind the hail and bitter cold that hit Portland over the past week.

We can only hope that the sun is on its way soon—never mind the hail and bitter cold that hit Portland over the past week. If the sun can peek its head through the clouds this weekend, then it will be more than worthwhile to venture outside for the St. Johns Bizarre and Parade on Saturday.

With the parade now in its 48th year, this event has come to also include a street fair, which features local arts and crafts vendors, live local music, food and a beer garden. Throw in some unusual activities like dodge ball and a corn hole toss, and it makes for a fun and creative event.

The stars of the St. Johns Bizarre this year are the local arts and crafts vendors. There will be over 70 of these vendors at the market showing a wide variety of goods. Many businesses are fairly new, like Sunup Jewelry, which opened a booth at the Saturday Market just last year.

The bazaar hosts a wide selection of items, from art cards and paintings to practical items like beer cozies and bike trouser clips. Simply Sine creates intricate paper shadow-boxes that run for a reasonable price, while Kiva Studio assembles jewelry and art from salvaged materials. A number of unique ideas make up the bazaar.

Unlike the arts and crafts at most festivals, these aren’t all so high in cost. This year the Bizarre Bargain was created for the event, encouraging businesses to offer bargains only available during the bazaar. That suggests plenty of good deals, so even the low-budget art snob might find something they love.

The street fair isn’t just about arts and crafts, though. There’s also plenty of live local music to see for free and a beer garden to wade through. Portland indie rock band Explode Into Colors, known for its high-energy shows, headlines the stage at 4 p.m. The bands preceding Explode Into Colors supply a mostly mellow mixture of rock, country and bluegrass. Music will start at 10 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m.

Local horticulturalists have helped to design the beer garden, which will serve beers from Full Sail, Lompoc, Ninkasi and Silver Moon.

The theme for this year’s parade is “Through a Child’s Eyes.” Those involved in the parade can interpret that however they’d like. It’s a hokey, old-fashioned affair that’ll get everyone in touch with their sense of good ol’ Americana.

The St. Johns Parade Committee organizes the parade. The St. Johns Bizarre Supreme Council has been hosting the adjoining bazaar for four years now. The bazaar will run all day, with the parade kicking into gear at noon.

In addition to arts and crafts, some businesses will be at the bazaar for community outreach. Port of Portland and Supportland are a few that will offer support both for businesses and individuals seeking career advice. The Oregon Humane Society will also host a booth, undoubtedly accompanied by painfully adorable kittens and puppies.