PHOTOS: Third Avenue Festival draws record crowds

The 44th Annual Third Avenue Festival was a scorcher in every sense of the word.

The storied event — which encompassed the thoroughfare this year on Sunday, October 15 — did so on a day which was noticeably warm for mid-October, the beautiful weather encouraging even more locals to flock to the strip for an afternoon of live music, food and other festivities.

The all-day event — which runs all the way from Bay Ridge Avenue to 94th Street, making it one of the longest in the borough — typically draws crowds in the tens of thousands as merchants, live bands and local entertainment groups hit the streets for a day of fun. This year’s attendance was record-breaking, according to festival organizer Chip Cafiero.

“It was the biggest festival we’ve had in years,” the festival guru told this paper. “We got it back to the number of vendors we used to have. The weather was great. The crowd had a great time — everything was perfect.”

Of particular importance, Cafiero said, is how even the crowds were from festival start to festival end.

“What I liked was that there was a lot going on at 69th Street, and just as much going on at 94th Street,” he said. “It was fantastic all the way up.”

Those that sauntered the strip this year were met by local merchants, non-profit organizations, city agencies, flea markets, popular vendors and even an on-site pet adoption event, sponsored annually by Assemblymember and now-mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis and Pet Lovers United as One. Though, among the highlights each and every year, locals agree, is the live entertainment — be it local singers, live bands or dance troupes — that is spread out over every couple of blocks.

New to the event this year was a live-stream of the festival, courtesy of Bay Ridge-based production company Bridgeside Live. The group set up shop outside of JJ Bubbles, filming, in real time, performances by local acts such as Back From Zero, José Oyola-Velez, Johnny & The Bootlegs, August On Sunday and Denizen as well as tastes of some of the company’s most popular segments, such as Bridgeside Sports.

Though, of course, the fun was not just for foodies or music fans.

Kids also enjoyed complimentary face painting, rides and meet-and-greets with some of their favorite costumed characters, all organized by local merchants and organizations, as well as a brand new “Bay Ridge Rocks” painting station, put together by the neighborhood Facebook group — members of which are on a mission to paint the town with positivity in the form of hand-painted rocks hidden throughout the neighborhood. The table was sponsored by Dorsa Realty Group and put kids’ creativity on display all afternoon.

As always, the festival took place the day after the neighborhood staple Ragamuffin Parade, which hit the strip on Saturday, October 14, also to a record number of attendees.

The Third Avenue Festival ran from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“It was a tremendous success,” Cafiero concluded, noting that he’s already started planning for next year.

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