Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 16 September 2011 00:00
Cotton candy, bouncy rides and face painting. Or how about music, dancing, pumpkin painting and good old-fashioned fun? The list could go on forever, but the Mineola Street Fair sports many activities, and it’s almost here.
Willis Hobbies owner and past president of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce (COC) Steve Ford said his phone has been ringing off the hook to attain space to participate in the fair. Currently, the fair is set to kickoff on Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a rain date of Oct. 2.
The fair will hold two stages, something that hasn’t been done before. The main stage would be designated for the opening ceremonies and singing and performance groups.
The second stage would be located on Main Street and Second Street and used for winners of the open “Talent Show” auditions that took place on Sept. 8 and 9. It’s possible, although not confirmed, that additional auditions would be held this weekend.
“We’re looking for local talent and we know Mineola has a lot of it,” entertainment coordinator Sheila Rettaliata said.
The fair will sport eight to 10 rides. It was common in previous fairs that it sported three or four. Furthermore, there will be more “oomph” in the Mineola Fair’s step with other fun activities.
“We’re also going to have hula-hoop contests,” Ford said. “We know a woman who makes hula-hoops and she does a fantastic job.”
Angela Iannacci will conduct demonstrations and contests with handmade hula-hoops. She presented hula-hoops to the Mineola Fair Committee recently.
Chamber President Ray Sikorski interjected that these are no ordinary hula-hoops. “These things aren’t light for a toy. They’re real deal hula-hoops,” he said.
Ford stated that approximately 75 percent of the businesses on the footprint of the fair have agreed to participate.
“Any business that wants to do a type of a demo would be in that section as well,” Ford said. ‘We took the fair out of the park and are bringing the fair to the businesses front door.”
The fair will not be held in Memorial Park this year, but instead moved to the downtown area of the village closer to shops and other local businesses. The village board unanimously voted to move the fair at a recent board meeting.
Two fairs have been held in the downtown area in previous years at Main and Second Street. The concept is not totally brand new, but it will be the first time it has expanded to Mineola Boulevard, the essential entranceway into the village.
“We wanted to spice up the fair,” Ford said. “We’ve been hearing from people that it’s been the same stuff year after year and we wanted to spruce it up a bit.”
For the past 20 years, the fair has been run out of Memorial Park. The three chamber representatives brought a proposal before the board to move the fair and turn it into a street fair.
“We feel the move will be a win-win for everyone involved,” Sikorski said. “It’s going to be right on the street in front of active businesses. My theory is if we can make it, people will come. If people come this year, they’ll walk around, get a taste of the street fair, and next year it could be even bigger.”
The move was proposed by the COC at the April 6 meeting of the village board and was first announced by Sikorski and Ford at a prior chamber meeting. The fair will be located in two main areas in the downtown area: Main Street from First Street to Front Street, Second Street from Mineola Boulevard to the new parking lot midway between Main Street and Willis Avenue and a two block area of Mineola Boulevard from Harrison Avenue to the north side of Second Street across from the bridge over the railroad tracks.
Traffic coming north over the railroad bridge would be able to make a left turn and go left onto Second Street towards Winthrop University Hospital. Southbound traffic on Mineola Boulevard would have to make a turn on Harrison Avenue to avoid the area.
Ford and Sikorski plan on giving the fair area one last “go-around” before Sept. 25 to make sure of the commitment of businesses.