City crews contribute to the success of local art fairs

If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes a community to support a successful arts and crafts fair.

Saturday’s annual event takes care of a lot of the planning and organization, but some tasks are beyond the resources of the Arts & Crafts Committee.

That’s where city government steps in, said City Administrator Larry Paine, who has been in charge of the city’s side of the partnership long enough to recite the list of tasks by memory:

• City crews move trash barrels and carts from the fairgrounds to the downtown area. Once the receptacles are in place, the city will station its two trash trucks at strategic locations and monitor them with personnel.

In recent years, high school groups have volunteered to haul the full trash barrels from their site to the trucks, and back again, for a donation from Arts & Crafts as a fundraiser.

• city crews move the large information booth from its storage site in the city-owned AMPI building and place it in front of the chamber of commerce office.

• electrical crews drape a covering over the state champions sign posted at the golf course to create a temporary billboard for visitors…
Local emergency responders play an important role in the event as well.

“The police department does a whole bunch in terms of setting up control, keeping traffic moving, monitoring the parking and the illegal parking,” Paine said.

He added that some law enforcement officers working the fair come from other agencies.

“The fire department sets up their fire trucks on both sides of Grand (Avenue) so they have the ability to leave the area (in an emergency) without having to go through a bazllion people,” Paine said.

“Then, the electric guys are also setting up hook-ups where food vendors can plug in for electricity and that sort of thing.”

After basic set up, new tasks arise as Saturday arrives.

“There’s a lot of work in terms of getting everything going,” Paine said. “On Friday night, the police department will be out encouraging people to move their cars off the street so the committee and volunteers can mark off the vendor spaces so there’s a place for everybody to set up.”

Paine said the downtown area where booths are established are patrolled all night, but not by city police officers. He said the committee hires a local resident for that task.

Paine said he doesn’t track the number of hours his crews invest in the event.

“There is some reimbursements (by the committee), but it doesn’t cover everything,” he said.

Paine said the fair benefits the community in a variety of ways, and that’s the goal of city workers and staff.

“The primary purpose is to get people to Hillsboro and have them have a good experience here,” he said. “When they have a good experience, they will come back for future Arts & Crafts events, and they’ll have a chance to wander around and see what kind of businesses we have.

“If there’s something that sparks their attention, they’ll come back again.”

(Read more: Hillsboro Free Press)