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PHOTOS: Thousands crowd annual Third Avenue Festival

The 43rd Annual Third Avenue Festival went off without a hitch — and without a single raindrop, despite cloudy skies — on Sunday, October 2.

The all-afternoon event drew crowds in the thousands as merchants, live bands and local entertainment groups hit the streets for a day of fun.

Those that sauntered the strip this year were met by merchants, non-profit organizations, flea markets and even an on-site pet adoption, sponsored annually by Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and Pet Lovers United as One. Kids enjoyed complimentary face painting, rides and a meet-and-greets with costumed characters.

“The threatening clouds never stopped our community from getting together for some browsing, shopping, eating, dancing and good old-fashioned family time,” said Rosemarie Rizzo, founder of Rosie’s Confidence Corner, a local organization that had a table at the event. “It was wonderful to watch families truly enjoy each other without their eyes glued to their phones or iPads. There was hand-holding, bubble-blowing and people actually talking with each other — and most were smiling, singing or dancing. No frowns.”

Stages were set up outside a number of Third Avenue eateries and watering holes, like JJ Bubbles, a bar that — for the first time ever — had its own stage, complete with a special “No cover for no covers” set list of strictly original bands.

“Since I was a toddler, my grandmother on Ovington always used to take me to the Third Avenue Festival, and as a kid I always loved seeing all the bands playing on Third,” explained Ross Procaccio, bartender at JJ Bubbles and drummer of local band Of Clocks and Clouds. “Two years ago my band had the opportunity to play the Greenhouse stage. It was an awesome time but our band was the only original band on a stage of cover bands. In Bay Ridge, the cover band is king. This year, I wanted to make a point to the community that there’s plenty of solid, original music around us that people just don’t pay enough attention to.

“Everyone was extremely supportive of all the acts that took the stage and really enjoyed the music. It was also a trip to play for many people in the neighborhood I see on a regular basis but never had a chance to make it out to a show,” Proccaccio went on. thanking neighbors like Windy City Ale House as well as DG Rocks guitar and music school. “The event was a complete success.”

“It was a ‘feel-good’ Sunday at the Third Avenue Festival,” said Rizzo.

Merchants of Third Avenue President Bob Howe agreed.

“We think it was another fantastic, positive event for the avenue following on the heels of our Summer Stroll,” said Howe. “I mean, can you imagine doing something for 43 years successfully? I bumped into a lot of people that said this is a great thing for the neighborhood. It attracts people from other communities and it shows that Bay Ridge is solid, cohesive and vibrant — and that’s really what we aim to do.”

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