Thousands packed part of Hillside Avenue in Williston Park on Sunday to celebrate the end of summer at the 39th annual Williston Day Street Fair.
Despite the heat, residents socialized, shopped and snacked their way up and down the thoroughfare between Willis Avenue and the Long Island Rail Road tracks, stopping at booths for local restaurants, businesses and organizations.
The Chamber of Commerce of the Willistons sponsors the locally organized event, and Executive Director Lucille Walters said the fair was a success thanks to the warm weather and dozens of chamber member vendors.
“The street fairs are usually successful if weather is good. It’s a great time for people to see their neighbors you haven’t seen for maybe the summer or even a few years ago,” Walters said. “People move away but come back to the fair all the time.”
The fair is also a major fundraising day for many local community groups, such as the Williston Park Historical Society, the Williston Park Rotary Club and the Williston Park American Legion Post 144.
The East Williston Fire Department had both a booth serving food and a “strong man” sledgehammer swing fundraiser nestled into the carnival rides area in the Bank of America parking lot.
“It’s a great way to showcase your business or organization, even if you’ve been around,” Walters said. “We always have residents moving in and out, so it’s a good place for new residents to get familiar with the area.”
East Williston resident Charles Mitchum said his family hits the fair every year because it has something for every age and family member.
“My wife loves the booths, my little girl loves the rides and my son gets to see his friends,” Mitchum said. “It’s a rare occasion when everyone in our house is happy, but this fair does it.”
Skye’s Lemonade Stand has been a a staple at the fair since 2014, selling lemonade, tea and baked goods to benefit the American Cancer Society.
East Williston resident Skye Blau, 11, came up with the idea when her mother, Mary Ann Blau, was diagnosed with cancer.
“Four years ago, my mom got cancer and it was really upsetting, so I decided to make the lemonade stand because I thought it would really help,” Skye said. “And it has because it total last year we raised $3,000, and we’re going to beat that today.”
Skye also recruits her friends to help with the stand at the fair, and many of their parents help make lemonade and cookies.
“It takes a village,” Mary Ann Blau said.
After the festival, Skye’s father, Bill Blau, said the stand raised more than $1,100 from sales alone, but the group raised almost $5,000 thanks to donations.
Mary Ann said the stand will be back next year when the fair will observe its 40th anniversary. Though the planning committee has yet to meet to plan the 2018 street fair, Walters said she expects some additions and changes to celebrate the big anniversary.