The Hessler Neighborhood Association (HNA) was started in the 60's to raise funds for housing renovation and to promote activities enhancing the social and architectural value of Hessler Road.
The Hessler Street Fair started as an annual block party and evolved in 1969 into a street festival. University Circle Inc. (UCI), an umbrella organization supporting the cultural and educational institutions in the area, wanted to bulldoze the Hessler Road houses to build student dormitories and parking lots. It was through the efforts of the Neighborhood Association, funded by the early Street Fairs, that Hessler Road was dedicated as a Landmark District in November of 1975 by the City of Cleveland. In 1976 Hessler residents participated in rent strikes to force UCI to make needed repairs on the homes it owned on the street.
Subsequently, the Hessler Housing Cooperative was formed when UCI sold some of these properties. These events have helped to ensure the survival of Hessler Road as a residential neighborhood. By the mid-Eighties many of the original founders of the Neighborhood Association had moved on with their lives. Eventually there were too few people who wanted to organize such a large public event, and the Hessler Street Fairs ceased. The last of the original Fairs was held in 1984.
For the next decade, the Hessler Street Fair would be fondly recalled by the people who had attended. They remembered the Fair for its good art, good music, good food, and "good vibes".
Thus in 1995, partly out of nostalgia and partly to once again raise funds for the Neighborhood Association, a small group of past and present Hessler residents got together to resurrect the Fair. With a new crew of volunteers to help organize it, the rejuvenated Hessler Street Fair attracts thousands of people each year to sample its offering of music arts, crafts and food. The Street Fair strives to promote a spirit of togetherness, community awareness, and fun.
The Hessler Street Fair has once again become an annual spring tradition in Cleveland. The Fair raises funds to preserve and maintain the neighborhood and welcomes other local non-profits to participate and raise funds for their causes. The Hessler Street Fair remains a free event and festival of arts, crafts, food and music, welcoming thousands of visitors every year from all over Ohio and beyond to our corner of the world each spring.
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