Sunset Park Gears Up for Annual Fifth Avenue BID Street Festival

As the sun sets on summer, the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) is ready to host its annual celebration, the Fifth Avenue BID Street Festival.

With the favorite neighborhood tradition that started in 1999 taking place this year on Sunday, September 16, attendees of all ages can expect the usual end of summer fun the festival offers, such as music, food, games and more. Per usual, it will span from 44th through 59th Streets along Fifth Avenue.

Executive Director of the BID David Estrada – who just took on the role this past July – is excited to be a part of the festivities.

“The scope of this year’s event is the same as in years past with a major performance stage at 44th Street and there will be big acts on that stage for free,” he said. “We are organizing two separate locations with bounce houses and other entertainment for the kids and we have a really robust subscription of vendors that are coming in. So part of the work that Cathy (Williams) and the team here are doing is making sure there are attractions and amusements and something fun on every block.”

A small community center stage will be running on other blocks, hosted by BID member Eduardo Artica.

“That smaller stage will host local artists and dance troops and performing companies,” added Estrada. “It’s a counter balance to the very large music venue at the 44th Street side.”

Also in attendance will be the Brooklyn Public Library, the FDNY (which will bring a smokehouse that illustrates how smoke moves through a building when there’s a fire), and the MTA (which will bring a vintage city bus the kids can board to see what it was like in the old days).

Food is one of the many highlights of the day.

“The food vendors have been especially strong this year. This isn’t a commercial street festival like you see in Manhattan where every second block is basically the same food over and over again,” Estrada said. “We have a lot of small entrepreneurs who signed up to be food vendors and a lot of ethnic food of different varieties.”

At 44th Street, a slew of major musical acts will be performing, and adults can get their dancing on. Estrada wanted to separate some of the big acts from the youngsters’ activities.

“It gets very crowded when you get these big name acts in the late afternoon on the big stage at 44th,” he said. “That’s why we put kids’ amusements at the other end. As a parent with small children, sometimes I need to find a slightly quieter corner for a two or three-year-old. We’re working really hard to make sure the festival feels local and very Sunset Park and accommodating to families.”

The day means a lot for locals.

“Sunset Park has some signature events that people seek out,” Estrada said. “It’s fun to go to Manhattan of course, but this sets the identity for the neighborhood.”

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