Long preparation for NHP Street Fair

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The groundwork to put together this year’s New Hyde Park Street Fair on Sept. 15 started a year ago – nearly as soon as the prior street fair was over.

“We start thinking about it as soon as the last one’s done,” said Tony Ciuffo, president of the Craft Fair.

Cuiffo’s Queens-based company handles the planning for the 240 or so vendor booths that make up the street fair. 

The first steps toward assembling the September line-up started as soon as the New Hyde Park Village Board selected a date for this year’s annual event.

At that point, Craft Fair mailed 800 applications and made a mass e-mailing to 1,000 vendors

“We’re waiting on the village. We get the ball rolling and start getting everything together,” Ciuffo said.

Vendors start giving responses by March because they also do their schedules for upcoming street fairs early on.

“People start planning their itineraries at the beginning of the year,” Ciuffo said.

He said he tries to strike a balance among vendors in different categories and also looks to book vendors who are likely to draw attention.

“We know we get a lot of jewelry and handbag people. We like to get unusual things, hand-crafted goods and things of that nature,” he said.

At the same time, Ciuffo said he’s mindful of not lining up vendors that will present competition for the merchants in the village.

“We want to make sure that the people come for the village merchants. We don’t want to have a conflict with the village merchants. The whole idea is to bring everything together,” he said, to create a “centerpiece.”

Janet Bevers, the Village of New Hyde Park’s street fair coordinator, said she canvases village merchants to find out who wants to participate and which merchants want to have a sidewalk presence. 

Invitations go out in early July, and responses start coming in by early August.

“You’ll see a mixture of participating merchants who are open for business and those who bring their business out on the sidewalk,” Bevers said.

The New Hyde Park Street Fair is unusual in that the Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce doesn’t run the show, but rather plays a supporting role by communicating with local merchants on behalf of the village.

Sidewalk spaces not used by the local merchants go to non-profit entities or charities, according to Bevers, who refers the merchants who want a sidewalk presence to Ciuffo.

“I’m trying to get that ironed out, who’s doing what,” she said, adding that the process continues until the last minute.

Bevers also canvasses local charities and service groups that participate, including the New Hyde Park Gladiators Club, G & E Linder VFW Post , American Legion 1089. The New Hyde Fire Department runs a relatively autonomous operation, planning and setting up their own demonstrations in the central boulevard parking lot across from Village Hall.

“Most village merchants within the fair ground are open for business. Their level of participation varies based on their business,” she said.

The fair is set up along Jericho Turnpike, from Lakeville Road – the site of the annual car show – and New Hyde Park Road.

Ciuffo makes arrangements for the popular auto show, which will include between 75 and 100 cars in its third year at the New Hyde Park fair, with Autofest. 

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