Great Neck Plaza Street Fair celebrates the village’s diversity

Great Neck Plaza Street Fair celebrates the village’s diversity
Kids racing down the slides at the Great Neck Plaza Street Fair and Auto Fest in 2018. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

Sunday was a chilly day in Great Neck Plaza, but the show must go on.

The 34th annual Great Neck Plaza Street Fair and Auto Fest showcased an assortment of performances, and people of all ages came out to witness the talents of their neighbors and classmates.

Rides, games and cars were still a staple, but organizers tried a different format this year to engage the village’s diverse community.

Two “community stages” with their own unique lineups were set up on Bond Street that featured performances from local organizations.

Performances ranged from martial arts and varied styles of dance to musical acts.

Ron Edelson, executive director of the village’s Business Improvement District, said “the new aspects of this year’s festival attracted a more diverse range of Great Neck residents.”

This was the first year the festival had the involvement of the Great Neck Chinese Association and the Sephardic Hebrew Academy, he said.

Students at Katya’s School of Dance were given an opportunity to show their friends and family the dances they did at their spring recital.

Katya Surrence said her students were so excited to perform, they were a little cold but they forgot all about the temperatures once they got onto the stage.

The performances attracted parents, who “come when they get to see their children perform,” Edelson said.

Younger children were able to enjoy the petting zoo, slides and carnival games while older children were able to show off their interests.

Great Neck South High School’s robotics team, Rebel Robotics, presented its award-winning robot at the fair.

The robot, which the team built over six weeks, can pick up and transport cube-shaped materials.

Sidra Hussain, a Great Neck South High School student who is a member of the robotics team, said that for her “robotics is not just about the competition, but all the outreach we are involved in to get others interested in STEM,” referring to science, technology, engineering and math.

She could not contain her excitement when talking about her passion for robotics.

Edelson said that the business group hopes to continue in this direction for next year’s fair and to host more events in partnership with the many organizations that got involved this year.  

The Business Improvement District is working with the Great Neck Chinese Association to potentially organize an event for the Lunar New Year, which is in February.

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