Bay Ridge says hello to spring at the Fifth Avenue Festival

The streets of Bay Ridge were filled once again this year with laughter, more than enough food to go around for everyone, and jaw dropping contests at the 19th Annual Fifth Avenue Spring Festival.

The smell of hot dogs, buffalo wings, and Italian sausages on Sunday afternoon attracted thousands of people from all over Brooklyn. For many, it was their first but not last time attending, while others look forward to the fair year after year.

Jamar White, for example, owns a new organic-chicken and buffalo wing joint called Buffalo Boss in Downtown Brooklyn. He had a stand at the fair and worked consistently with his wife and five children to draw people in. “They’re the face of the business,” White said referring to his family.

White has recently gotten media attention since he broke out the news about his first cousin, Jay-Z, investing in his business. The family-owned business plans on opening a second store in Bay Ridge soon. “Bay Ridge sure loves buffalo wings,” he said.

The can’t miss event was the 8th annual pizza eating contest at Rocco’s Pizzeria where Pat Philbin, also known as “Pat from Moonachie,” won first place by shoving down a total of 23 slices.

For the first time in eight years, there was a tie between two of the six contestants. Philbin and Dave Brunell, second place winner, both ate 19 slices in 12 minutes, having to do a two-minute eat off.

Dave “U.S. Male” Goldstein, a participant of the contest and also a professional eater, explained that in order to participate, he stretches out his stomach and chews a lot of gum before the contest. He ate 17 ½ slices.

Philbin, from New Jersey, has previously participated five times in the Nathan’s hotdog competition. The $300 he won at the contest was donated towards Frankie’s Mission, a non-profit organization dedicated to children who are fighting cancer and severe illness.

There were also performances by five bands included the “Rebelfish,” “High Tides,” “Piranha Brothers,” “Out Of The Blue,” and “Frankie Marra & His Band” which kept the crowd entertained, as well as belly dancers and all sorts of rides for the children.

Rosita Suarez, a resident of Dyker Heights, said she likes the festival because it gives her a chance to do something on a Sunday. She loves the music and food and the fact that it brings many families together.

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