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Chamber of Commerce Holds Annual Fall Fair

A fun-filled day at Kennedy Park despite cold temperatures

October’s surprise snow and unseasonably cold air did not dampen the spirits of visitors and vendors at Hicksville’s second annual Fall Fair hosted by the Chamber of Commerce last Sunday at Kennedy Park.

The day began with temperatures in the 40s and patches of snow on the grass and a brisk wind blew throughout the event, but enthusiasm was warm among those who came to sample everything from The Farmer’s Market to amusements for the kids to local music and everything in between.

“This is the last week for tomatoes,” said Rob Carucci of Carucci Greenhouses and Farms on Route 48 in Mattituck as he helped patrons select cauliflower; both white and purple; eggplant, leeks and other items. Noticeably absent, however, were pumpkins.

“It was a bad year for them,” he said, pointing to the weather, especially Irene. His dog, Bubba, a 4 and a half-month-old black and white mixed-breed rescue from Georgia, watched from the warmth of Carucci’s blue van parked next to his display.

“He’s here every week,” Carucci said, adding, “Everyone loves him.” 

Carucci frequents other Long Island farmer’s markets and he said “every town is different.” As for Hicksville, he said, “Cauliflower and corn are the most popular this year.”

Making its debut at the Farmer’s Market this year was Gentle Blue Roasters Coffee. Joe Baquet, who operates the business with his son, Brian, said they opened a store about a year ago on Stewart Avenue in Hicksville and plan on opening a café in Long Beach in the near future.

Young’s Farm in Old Brookville and Stanpat Farms in Manorville and East Moriches were among the other farms offering large cauliflower, gourds and broccoli.

Folk singer Tom Ryan serenaded the stream of people sampling the best of Long Island’s homegrown produce. Nassau Auxiliary Police Sergeant Pat White said he’s watched the market grow. A Hicksville resident, White said he’s been at the farmer’s market “from the beginning” and meets the same people “week after week”. He said he and his fellow officers from Auxiliary Unit 312 are happy to lend their volunteer hand.

The Farmer’s Market will close for the season on Nov. 20. Manager Joe Naham said he looks forward to next year with plans to expand.

The Yankees may have missed baseball’s “Fall Classic,” but they were well represented by Pictures Plus. Vendor Iris Scher, whose picture frame business is located in Rockville Centre, offered many framed photos of Yankee greats, including Derek Jeter on that unforgettable day in July when he went five-for-five and notched his 3000th hit.

The aroma of sausage warmed the air, as did the fragrance of fresh pretzels of all shapes and sizes. Cold weather gear, including scarves, gloves and boots, was offered for sale next to a booth whose row after row of earrings sparkled in the sunshine.

Walk past another scarf vendor, a handbag vendor and an eyeglass vendor and one stumbles upon a van from Health Plus. Devin Salgado said his company is designed to “help low income families with no health insurance.” He said events such as this help bring his service to the community.

Sharing this thought was Dr. Michael Berlin, of The Family Wellness Center in Plainview, who said fairs introduce their work to communities and permit them to educate people about ways to address stress-related problems. He defined his practice’s stress reduction techniques as “a gentle form of healing” and said he treats people of all ages and walks of life.

888LetsDance provided a festive atmosphere for the festival. Kids of all ages gathered at the amusement site complete with carnival music. A 30-foot inflatable slide labeled “Mt. Rushmore,” a bouncing castle and a mechanical bull ride that vendor Shane Piegari said “everybody loves,” were popular attractions. Children who attended the fair wearing their Halloween costume received treats and prizes.

Rounding out the day’s activities was an eagerly anticipated event – the bakeoff – sponsored by Brenda Dickerman, The Feathered Cook. Three categories, cupcake/cake, cookie and pie were judged by Chamber members, including President Lionel Chitty, Richard Muller and Charles Montana. First, second and third prizewinners received $100, $50 and $25, respectively.

The first place winners were Nicole Dane in the cupcake/cake category for her Reese’s Peanut Butter chocolate cupcakes, Kristi Muller in the cookie category for her thin mints and Deb Mazza in the pie category for her pumpkin pie.

The day closed with raves for the band, MOTP (aka Members of the Press) composed of four young Hicksville residents, one aged 12, the other three 14, who also delighted the crowd at the summer street fair. Clean-up work had begun but it stopped in its tracks to enjoy the talents of these young gentlemen.

Chamber President Lionel Chitty said events such as these are designed to bring “business and the community together.” Plans are already underway for next year’s summer and fall fairs. To learn more please visit the Chamber’s website at hicksvillechamber.com.