Open Streets livens up Fort Worth's Near Southside

By Jake Foote

The Open Streets festival took to Magnolia Avenue on Sunday and offered Fort Worth residents and visitors food, music and other community activities.
Open Streets is a free festival focused on revitalizing the Near Southside of Fort Worth. Since 2011, Fort Worth South Inc. has put on the festival to highlight the culture and community activities available in the area.
Stretching along Magnolia Avenue between Eighth and Hemphill Streets, the festival was chock-full of art, food, music and local businesses providing demonstrations.
Within a few blocks, it was possible to see a martial arts demonstration and a breakdancing exhibition. Skateboarders also took advantage of the shutdown streets to showcase their skills on an obstacle course set up by Alliance Skate Parks.
One Fort Worth enterprise at the festival this year was the Fort Worth Vaqueros. A member of the National Premier Soccer League, the team used Open Streets as an opportunity to appeal to fans young and old.
“The Vaqueros are just about the only minor league sports team left in Fort Worth now that the Fort Worth Cats have left,” said team representative Paul Donaghy. “Open Streets is a really great event to help us build our fan base.”
The Vaqueros weren’t the only business hoping to expand their clientele. More than 100 different activity providers contributed to Open Streets.
Community-building was the main goal of Open Streets. Local artists such as Jeremy Joel, whose art has been showcased at Avoca Coffee, had an opportunity to further involve themselves in the complex cultural fabric that makes up Fort Worth.
“They let me paint on the walls at Avoca,” Joel said. “It was a really good opportunity to get my artwork out there.”
This year was Joel’s first time at the Open Streets festival. Like many of the other young artists there, he had the opportunity to showcase his work to a larger audience.
According to the festival guide, there are over 90 different Open Streets initiatives nationwide, which focus on closing streets to promote community-building and socializing.