Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 11 September 2013 00:00
While this year’s New Hyde Park Street Fair will take place on the first official day of fall, the event keeps the spirit of summer alive a little longer for the 20,000-25,000 attendees.
Organizers are looking to up the ante for the 18th annual event on Saturday, Sept. 21, with the usual clowns and crafts supplemented by a petting zoo and, possibly, an outdoor, one-lane bowling alley on Jericho Turnpike.
“The bowling alley has the potential to be phenomenal,” says Tony Ciuffo, president of Queens-based Craft-A-Fair, which organizes the vendors. “It’ll be right in the street.”
The street bowling concept is still in preliminary discussions, but it would be one of 200-240 vendors featured this year. In the fair’s inaugural outing in 1995, 90 craft vendors showed up.
“We started with a few vendors the first year,” said Ciuffo. “We topped 250 vendors in 2006 and 2007.”
Medians that were built during the $21.1 million Jericho Turnpike repaving project have caused Craft-A-Fair to retool the vendor configuration. Another project that sparked fair plan changes was Operation Mainstreet, a construction project that will revamp the main corridor of the village, and is set to commence near the fair’s date. Village trustee and fair liaison Donald Barbieri said work would not interfere with the event.
“Work will begin soon, but we’re trying to make sure that both can happen without hiccups,” he stated. “It looks like we’ll be able to.”
Ciuffo doesn’t anticipate problems come next Saturday.
“We had to change our layouts quite a bit to accommodate the [medians],” said Ciuffo. “Everything should work fine at the fair though.”
Each year, vendors rent space on the turnpike from New Hyde Park Road, continuing west to Covert Avenue. This year, a few extra blocks will be added near Lakeville Road to “open it up a bit,” according to Barbieri.
Former trustee Florence Lisanti was one of the first organizers of the street fair, who Barbieri commended for leading the charge.
“[The fair] is a great day for the community,” he stated. “We’re proud to have all our local organizations along the turnpike. The merchants get to showcase what they do. We are very proud of the street fair.”
Local merchants and Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce members can set up tables on the sidewalk free of charge, according to Fair Coordinator Janet Bevers. Invitations went out to New Hyde Park shops in early July.
“This is a great day for the village and for all of our residents,” Bevers said. “The fair offers something for everyone: great menu items from village restaurants, great shopping, unique crafts and children’s activities including a carnival and a petting zoo. There will be a dedicated seating area by village hall for residents and visitors to relax and enjoy some of the great food and snack items available throughout the fair grounds.”
Local charities will be on hand, including the New Hyde Park Museum, New Hyde Park Memorial High School Dads Club, Model UN, Manor Oaks School, Hillside Grade School, New Hyde Park Road School, Knights of Columbus, New Hyde
Park Gladiators Club, G&E Linder VFW, New Hyde Park Fire Department’s ladies auxiliary, village beautification committee, among others.
Jerry Baldassaro of Town Planner of Greater Long Island in East Meadow, handles town calendars for 35 Long Island communities and attends the fair regularly. He said over the years, the fair has come to function like clockwork: very efficiently.
The fair is well-attended and most businesses want to join,” he said. “The fair gets stronger each year and is well coordinated. They have it down to a science.”