New Hyde Park resident and veteran Gunter Harter sat at a table, smiling and talking with his fellow veterans at the New Hyde Park street fair on Saturday.
“It’s something nice to do with the community,” Harter said.
Harter, a Purple Heart recipient, attended the fair with the New Hyde Park Ernie Pyle American Legion Post 1089, encouraging other former service members to join, like Representative Steve Israel once did for him, and talking with fairgoers about his life.
“It’s been something new to do, attending the fairs these last three years,” Harter said. “It’s what I get to do now.”
The fair stretched from Lakeville Road to New Hyde Park Road on Jericho Turnpike. Over 150 specialty crafters, small businesses and food vendors lined the half-mile stretch of blocked off road. At the far west end of the fair, there was live music by His Boy Elroy.
The Central Boulevard parking lot transformed into a field of inflatable rides and slides. Just in front of it was a food court of sorts, trucks and tents lined up end to end filling the air with scents of carnival foods like fried Oreos and lemonade, and tables and chairs in a makeshift seating area.
Northwell Health sponsored the fair for a fourth straight year, bringing along with it the “Health and Wellness Pavilion,” a block-long tent with health representatives at tables offering educational tips for health and wellness.
Catherine Dunckley, a certified health educational specialist, presented unconventional, but necessary life-saving practices to onlookers. Dunckley performed emergency wound treatment on a foam roller, a cylindrical foam pad like an arm or leg, with a puncture in its side, stuffing the puncture with medicinal gauze.
“It isn’t necessarily common knowledge to stuff the wound to stop the bleeding,” Dunckley said. “So it’s important to come out and not only tell but show exactly how to handle an emergency situation.”
Also among the vendors and merchants, Salim Syed of East Meadow handed out pamphlets on Islam and copies of the Quran, lightheartedly shaking hands and introducing himself to every passerby.
“A lot of what people know about [Islam] is from the internet or not from a reliable source,” Syed said. He is with “I Am Your Muslim Neighbor,” an invitational, or dawah, program meant to propagate Islamic teachings to Muslims and non-Muslims.
“By coming out and talking about the misconceptions, we eliminate the ignorance and move closer towards what religions are truly about,” Syed said.