Got plans next weekend? If you’re from Bay Ridge (or anywhere in Brooklyn, really) you probably do. You’re probably among the tens of thousands who plan to attend the 49th Annual Third Avenue Festival on Sunday, Oct. 2!
This beloved Bay Ridge tradition provides a full day of food and drink, rides, games, shopping and live entertainment for families and visitors “on the avenue” each year. Presented by the Merchants of Third Avenue Civic Improvement Association, Inc. in partnership with Councilmember Justin Brannan, the event is once again being organized by longtime Festival Chairman Chip Cafiero.
“This is really the perfect opportunity for merchants along the avenue to come out for the day and showcase their businesses,” Cafiero said. “It’s the farthest-spanning street festival in New York City at 25 blocks and it draws people from everywhere.”
So, how does a merchant “on the avenue” participate? Cafiero said he is in contact with business owners regularly throughout the year to ensure that their dues and fees are paid up in advance to avoid any issues on the big day.
“You’ve got to join the association and you’ve got to pay your dues,” he said. “Once you’re a member in good standing, then we can talk about fees to come out for the festival. Everyone gets to reserve space outside their storefront for a fee if interested.”
But merchants won’t be the only ones coming out in force for the festival. In fact, adding to its hometown feel is the fact that many local nonprofit organizations also take part each year, setting up information tables and greeting passersby.
“They also see the value in being part of such a huge event. They’re able to spread their message to thousands of people simply by setting up a table and greeting them as they walk by,” Cafiero said.
While family-friendly activities will be prevalent throughout the festival route, Cafiero recommends a visit to the event’s main stage on 81st Street.
“That’s going to be part of a community block with activities for kids like rock painting, face painting and arts and crafts,” he said.
Cafiero said he is almost done completing the “map” — a block-by-block breakdown of activities and participating entities for the day — but advised us that food and merchandise vendors can still contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if there are any last-minute spots available.
The festival is preceded by another Bay Ridge exclusive, the annual Children’s Ragamuffin Parade, now in its 56th year. Thousands of costumed children and families are expected to march along Third Avenue from 76th Street to 92nd Street on Saturday, Oct. 1, beginning at 1 p.m.
Ragamuffin is led this year by newly installed President David Annarummo, who served as the coordinator for this past summer’s highly successful Summer Stroll on 3rd program.
Merchants of Third Avenue President Dan Texeira of Lincoln Brokerage, 8114 Third Ave., said he is excited to welcome so many guests and residents to the avenue for next weekend’s festivities.
“This is truly the biggest weekend of the year for Bay Ridge and Third Avenue in particular — between the thousands of families marching in the parade on Saturday and the tens of thousands of people flooding the avenue on Sunday to enjoy all that our merchants and civic organizations have to offer. It’s going to be an incredible time for families and friends.”
Before Third Avenue takes center stage, however, crowds will once again flock to Fifth Avenue for the latest #FunonFifth event on Friday, Sept. 30. This event, dubbed “Friday Night Live,” is presented by the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue BID in partnership with Brannan. It will once again feature live music, outdoor dining, shopping and art showcases for families to enjoy “on the avenue” between 72nd and 85th streets.
This trio of crowd-attracting events is sure to make this not only Bay Ridge’s biggest weekend of the calendar year, but its biggest weekend ever!
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What’s cooking with the Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge? Well, during a recent meeting “on the avenue” at Cebu Bar & Bistro, 8801 Third Ave., President Thomas Aellis officially swore in the Club’s newest member, Vincenzo “Enzo” Conigliaro, COO of Tarrytown Bakery and co-owner of Zito’s Pizza. He was presented with a special Kiwanis apron by board members Frank Naccarato and Scott Palma during the meeting.
The Club, which has worked to benefit children and families in need since 1952, meets Tuesdays at Cebu to continue its great work. Kudos to members for continuing to make a difference in the lives of so many.