Celebrating 40 years of Williston Day Street Fair

Games like the one seen here at last year's Williston Day Street Fair will return to the 40th annual fair on Sunday. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

In September 1978 the Yankees and Boston Red Sox faced off in a series of games leading  to the Yankees’ victory in a one-game tie-breaker to determine the American League East champion.

That same month, Muhammed Ali beat Leon Spinks in a surprise victory and became the heavyweight champion before an estimated television audience of 90 million.

In Williston Park and East Williston, September 1978 holds another piece of historical significance – it marks the start of a 40-year and counting tradition of the annual Williston Day Street Fair.

Sunday’s affair will be the 40th consecutive year the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce has run the community event independently.

Keeping the fair under the chamber’s control has allowed it to remain more community-oriented than other Long Island street fairs, chamber Executive Director Lucille Walters said in a previous interview.

“To me that’s what sets us apart from the other fairs,” Walters said. “We have control over it, we have control over what we want to put in the fair.” 

This year’s fair will run along Hillside Avenue between Willis Avenue and the Long Island Rail Road station between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

It will feature antique cars, a petting zoo, children’s rides, rock and roll bands, pony rides and more.

More than 200 local merchants and outside vendors will participate.

However, when the street fair first began it was called “Old Fashioned Day,” Walters said.

The smaller event was held on Willis Avenue, she said.

Walters, an East Williston resident, said she wasn’t sure exactly when the street fair moved, but said even during her 15-year tenure the street fair has grown.

Walters expects about 10,00 people to come out on Sunday, she said.

The rain date for the event is Sept. 23.

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Rebecca Klar

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