We have made the decision that there are not enough people involved this year to run The Alma Street Fair along the same lines as in previous years. We also thought it might be good to try something different – at least for one year – with the option of reverting to the previous model another year.
So we plan to use Sunday July 17 to try something new – a kind of Alma Street Fair Lite! We will not close streets or move cars, but residents will be invited to have a stall in their front area (or a neighbour’s if they don’t have one). We hope that our local pubs and cafes will host live music, and more stalls. We hope that there will be children’s activities too. There may be space for a communal barbecue. Nearer the time we will be emailing everyone on IARA’s mailing list asking them to let us know whether they plan to run a stall or host some other event. We can then produce some leaflets letting everyone know where everything is.
This approach will be less formal, involving less work and less bureaucracy, more dynamic and with a more local focus. It will not require a licence or street closures, will operate at minimal cost and will rely on those who want to participate doing their own thing.
History of The Alma Street Fair and why 2016 will be different
First – some background. Inkerman Area Residents Association covers about ten streets in Kentish Town. It is a small, friendly area, and IARA contributes to that – organising social events for our residents and bringing people together over important issues like planning. Everyone who lives in the area is automatically a member, and is invited to sign up to an email list to get news and updates about issues that concern the area.
Ten years ago, a small group of residents decided it would be great to have a Street Party, and we consulted our members. Most people were enthusiastic so we went ahead, with great support from local businesses. It went well, on quite a small scale, and that was the beginning of something that has grown and become very popular. Some years we have been lucky enough to bring in musicians who have a big following, and that has attracted more people from outside Inkerman Area who have come and enjoyed the day.
However, its purpose has remained the same – to be a day for the Inkerman Area community to come together in Alma Street, to get to know each other and our local businesses and community organisations better, and to have some fun. It is not, and was never intended to be, a festival for Kentish Town as a whole. Some of our residents have not been enthusiastic about its growth, and we have always had to bear that in mind in our planning.
For most of our members, it remains crucial that Alma Street is not a venue for a wider festival – it is the venue for our own local event, run by the residents for the residents.
We are delighted that so many people enjoy the Fair, and understand that there is some disappointment in the wider community that it will not be happening in the same form in 2016. The organising committee took that decision because not enough of our own members have come forward this year to take on the very considerable workload that makes the Fair happen. We appreciate the offers of help that are coming in from people outside the Inkerman Area, but for the reasons given above, we have made a final decision to put on something different this year.
Meanwhile, don’t forget that the Kentish Town Community Centre is hosting the Kentish Town Festival on Saturday 21st May 2016 http://www.ktcc.org.uk/events/ktfestival16
and Castlehaven Community Centre will be celebrating their 30th birthday with a grand community festival on Saturday 16 July www.castlehaven.org.uk