Written by Eric Holden Friday, 07 October 2011 00:00
The decision to move the Mineola Fair from its traditional Memorial Park location to a new destination in the downtown area of the community proved to be a wise one, as local shops were overflowing with customers for close to seven hours on Sunday, Oct. 2.
The fair was moved this year to Mineola Boulevard in an attempt to drive business to storefronts along the entranceway into the village. “We wanted to spice up the fair,” said Willis Hobbies owner Steve Ford, who helped organize the event. “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.”
The event, which was originally slated to take place on Sept. 25, was switched to Oct. 2 due to a projected weather forecast that called for heavy winds and torrential rain to hit Mineola last Sunday. “We had no choice but to change the date of the event,” Chamber of Commerce President Ray Sikorski said. “Last Saturday night, we were told there was a 60 percent chance of rain, with the possibility for thunder storms. Of course when I woke up on Sunday morning, it was a sunny day. Nevertheless, we postponed it until today and the sky is fantastic.”
Despite the date change, thousands of Mineola residents, students, town officials and out-of-town visitors were in attendance for Sunday’s fair. “It turned out to be a spectacular day,” added Sikorski. “The weather was even nicer than it was last Sunday. We are very pleased.”
Town officials welcomed the crowd at the opening ceremonies following a performance by the Mineola High School Mustangs Marching Band. “This is a great event in a great village,” said Mayor Scott Strauss. “The Mineola Chamber of Commerce has done a tremendous amount of work to get us where we are today. What you see here [at the fair] is just a small sampling of the great businesses we have in Mineola.”
Merchants who set up tables along Mineola Boulevard didn’t seem to mind that the event date was changed. “It’s not as humid as it was last Sunday,” said Lisa Conte, a vendor who was representing the Long Island Women’s Health Care Group in front of their Mineola Blvd. office. “The weather is nice and I think we’ll get an even better turnout than what we would have had last week. October is a great month for fairs and events like this.”
On the other hand, some store employees were upset about the change of planws. “If you plan something, you should try to follow through with it,” said Bob Harren, a store employee at Franwin Pharmacy. “If it’s a bad day, then you cancel. It was sort of a disappointment that the fair wasn’t held last Sunday. You sort of get into it, and then get down about it being cancelled. Now I’m trying to get back into it again.”
The fair featured several family-friendly activities such as pumpkin-painting, hula-hoop contests, carnival-style games and amusement rides. Another new addition was a side stage for musical performances from local musicians who performed throughout the day. The Town of North Hempstead showmobile was designated for the opening ceremonies and speeches from public officials.
“This year we had the greatest number of sponsors in the history of the Mineola Fair,” Sikorski said. “We had over 20 different sponsors. In sponsorship money, we brought in just shy of $10,000.”