BAY RIDGE — Third Avenue rolled out the welcome mat for hundreds of thousands of visitors on Sunday, as the 46th Annual Third Avenue Festival took place under sunny skies and warm temperatures that put a smile on everyone’s face.
The festival, one of the longest street fairs in New York City, is a 35-block-long extravaganza sponsored by the Merchants of Third Avenue, an organization representing hundreds of stores on the shopping thoroughfare. The festival route stretched from Bay Ridge Avenue to 94th Street.
Bob Howe, president of the Merchants of Third Avenue, did a post-festival analysis and called the event a big success.
“We had beautiful weather, huge crowds and happy families,” Howe told the Home Reporter in a text message Monday morning. “You could not wish for anything more on a festival day celebrating Bay Ridge.”
The fun-filled, family oriented festival had something for everyone: carnival rides and games for kids, live music and al fresco dining for adults, and blocks and blocks of sidewalk sales for bargain hunters.
“What could be better? We had a beautiful day and virtually all of Bay Ridge filled Third Avenue to take it all in,” Bay Ridge Councilmember Justin Brannan told the Home Reporter.
Several performance stages were set up along the festival route for fans to enjoy their favorite bands and singers. The music that filled the air included everything from rock and roll, to country, to Broadway show tunes.
Local lawmakers were out on the festival route, greeting constituents and enjoying the day.
The festival also gave the pols the chance to let down their guard. Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis got up on stage at one point and sang the Rolling Stones classic “Under My Thumb” with a local band.
State Sen. Andrew Gounardes tweeted from the event that he was enjoying the giant street fair. “Having a blast at the Third Avenue Festival!” he tweeted.
Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus set up a table on 85th Street outside her Bay Ridge district office to greet constituents.
There were plenty of things for kids to do at the festival. Kids got their faces painted, went on rides and met some of their favorite costumed characters.
Behind all of the fun, the festival has an important purpose, according to business leaders, who said the idea is to boost Bay Ridge’s economy.
Third Avenue’s store owners see the festival as a great way to attract new customers to their shops and boost their businesses, according to Festival Chairperson Charles Otey, who said merchants set up tables outside their shops so they can sell items and meet potential customers.
“People who come to the festival get a chance to see all of the different kinds of stores we have on Third Avenue. And they come back to shop here,” Otey recently told the Home Reporter.
Coupled with the 53rd Annual Ragamuffin Parade, which took place on Saturday, the Third Avenue Festival is a highlight of the fall season in Bay Ridge.
Brannan, who was born and raised in Bay Ridge, is looking forward to the 47th Annual Third Avenue Festival in 2020. “I had such a great time visiting with friends and neighbors, I can’t wait to do it again next year!” he said.