King’s Fair and the Seward neighborhood history project
People who live in Minneapolis’s Seward neighborhood are self-aware and proud of their ‘hood’s thriving urban vibe. Seward’s energy derives from street life along Franklin Avenue and its location bordering the Mississippi River. It’s close to Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota. Seward is also fueled by the diversity of its residents—immigrants from East Africa, long-time residents whose father or grandfather worked at the Minneapolis Moline plant that once stood on East Lake and Minnehaha Avenue, or the graduate students who come and go.
Seward has had a long-standing neighborhood history group. Thanks to the catalyzing influence of a Legacy grant, Seward writers (and a non-resident ringer or two, including me) have created a book-length manuscript with chapters tracing Seward’s story from the days it was an outlying “suburb” to today’s restaurants, coops, parks, and politics.
Writers from the history group will be part of the scene at King’s Fair in Seward’s Matthews Park this Saturday, September 21. As the TC Daily Planet reports,
The fair is named for Colonel William S. King, president of the first “Minneapolis Exposition” which operated from 1877 to 1882 on what was once a large fairground in Seward. “King’s” fair was such a huge success that it even began to compete with the Minnesota State Fair, although it was eventually outdone by its competitor and closed after 1882. When some Seward historians discovered this fascinating piece of history, in 1979 they resurrected King’s Fair as a biannual neighborhood festival.
Dick Westby is the history group’s driving force and, as the video in the Daily Planet describes him, the “mayor of Seward.” He’ll be in costume on Saturday. Check it out this Saturday!