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?