New Hyde Park Street Fair goes on in planner’s memory

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The team planning the 21st New Hyde Park Street Fair was without a key member this year, but that won’t stop one of the North Shore’s largest street fairs from being at its best.

Tony Ciuffo of Craft A Fair, the Franklin Square-based company that helps organize the annual event, died July 3 at age 78. A New Hyde Park resident, Ciuffo was “a very gentle and thoughtful businessman” who was remarkably dedicated to making the village’s fair a success, said Janet Bevers, a deputy village clerk who helps plan the fair.

“His spirit is with us. It’s going to stay with us,” Bevers said. “There’s no way to have a street fair without thinking of him and his contribution.”

Bevers and other fair planners are working to make the fair as strong as always in Ciuffo’s absence, Bevers said.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 people are expected to walk the booths along Jericho Turnpike between New Hyde Park Road and Covert Avenue from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 17.

“It’s a great day,” said Lawrence Montreuil, the village’s  deputy mayor. “It brings everybody out from the community, and it’s kind of like our village block party.”

About 135 local businesses, community service organizations and members of the Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce will have booths set up along Jericho Turnpike, along with the many outside vendors brought by Craft A Fair, Bevers said.

Northwell Health is returning this year as a sponsor and will again set up its “health pavilion” on Lakeville Road north of Jericho Turnpike. The healthcare conglomerate came on as the fair’s flagship sponsor last year, partnering with the village to help defray some of its costs.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to know them better and to let our residents know them better and the services that they have available to us right up the road,”  Montreuil said.

The Chamber of Commerce is again sponsoring a scavenger hunt that will lead participants through the fair, Bevers said. The chamber, the New Hyde Park American Legion and AARP of North Hempstead are also sponsoring a canned food drive to benefit Long Island veterans’ groups.

A petting zoo and children’s carnival featuring inflatable rides will return to the parking lot between Central Boulevard and New Hyde Park Road. A New Hyde Park-based entertainment company, Send in the Clowns, provides the rides, and animals such as goats and rabbits come from a farm in Suffolk County, Bevers said.

Aside from shrinking the fair’s footprint more than a decade ago, it hasn’t changed much in recent years, Bevers said. But the planners always work to continue its success by trying to make it fun for everyone, she said.

“It’s people’s experience that they have here that spreads the word,” she said. “We can do all the advertising we want but if people don’t come and have a great day, they’re not going to tell others about it.”

By Noah Manskar

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