Record crowd expected at NHP fair

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Record crowd expected at NHP fair

This Saturday’s 18th annual New Hyde Park Street Fair has faced some literal bumps in the road but smooth sailing is expected on fair day with attendance at least as large as last year’s fair.

“It’s a very popular fair. It’s probably one of the premiere fairs on Long Island,” said Tony Ciuffo, president of Queens-based Craft-A-Fair, which organizes the vendors.

Ciuffo said the installation of medians along Jericho Turnpike, part of a state Department of Transportation’s road improvement project, required him to realign vendor spaces at the fair.

But the new alignment, he said, will be no roadblock to seeing attendance at the fair continue to grow.

Ciuffo estimated that the fair drew between 20,000 and 25,000 people last year and said he expects 25,000 to 30,000 people to be there this year between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

He said more than 200 vendors will participate in this year’s fair, approximately the same number that were at last year’s.

Among the new attractions this year, he said, will be a petting zoo provided by Green Meadow Farms in Little Neck on the west end of the fair on Lakeville Road, Ciuffo said. 

He said he’s also in discussions to put a bowling alley in the parking lot across Jericho Turnpike from New Hyde Park Village Hall at the intersection of New Hyde Park Road. The bowling alley would be part  of a carnival area where an inflatable playground for kids will be located. 

“If we have it, it’s going to be great,” Ciuffo said.

Janet Bevers, the Village of New Hyde Park’s street fair coordinator, said she believes the petting zoo will be a “huge” attraction.

Bevers said the fair, which is organized by the Village of New Hyde and Carft-A-Fair, is intended to bring residents together – and attracts visitors from outside the community.

“Overall, it’s a community event. And its purpose is to bring a lot of people into the village and introduce them to what the village to offer,” Bevers said. “It’s a great deal to open up the village and invite thousands of folks in.”

Community organizations will be represented, Bevers said, including the New Hyde Park Gladiators Club, the New Hyde Park Memorial High School Dads Club, the G&E Linder VFW Post, the New Hyde Park Museum, the Knights of Columbus, and the Sons of Italy Cellini Lodge. The New Hyde Park Memorial High School Model UN Club will also have a both, along with the Hillside Grade School, the Garden City Park School and the New Hyde Park Road School, which will be raising funds for military veterans. 

“It’s a great opportunity for our schools and our local service groups to reach out to the people. It provides a nice forum for our charitable groups to do that,” Bevers said. “It’s always a pleasant, peaceful fun day.”

Restaurants along Jericho Turnpike will set up outdoor booths to sell food, including Gino’s Pizzeria & Restaurant, Jessie’s Fireshack & Pizzeria, the Walk Street Tavern, the new SweeTart bakery and Umberto’s Pizzeria & Restaurant, which will set up tables and chairs in its parking lot, she said. 

“All the village restaurants will be participating, along with shops,” Ciuffo said.   

John Chung Tae Kwon Do will perform martial arts demonstrations. Dancers from the Center Stage dance studio will also perform as they did last year. Bobb Howards will be selling vintage candies. And the new English Skills Center and the Ritzy Glitzy Girlz Club will also have booths at the fair.

“We’re very happy that we have a large number of our members participating,” said Mark Laytin, president of the Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce. “It should be a great day as usual. People seem to enjoy it.”

Bevers and Laytin said they’re just hoping for good weather to draw crowds. The rain date for the fair is Sept. 28.

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