Great Neck street fair and music fest energize community

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Great Neck residents enjoyed a ferris wheel and other rides at the Great Neck Street Fair and Music Festival over Father's Day weekend. (Photo by Demi Guo)
Great Neck residents enjoyed a ferris wheel and other rides at the Great Neck Street Fair and Music Festival over Father's Day weekend. (Photo by Demi Guo)

By Demi Guo

The Great Neck Street Fair and Music Festival returned to the Village Green this weekend just in time for Father’s Day, with added fun through carnival rides and a live karaoke.

“We wanted to make it much more of an event for our town,” Deputy Mayor Bart Sobel said, adding that it would be a good way for everyone, even outside of town, to spend time in the Great Neck shopping area.

The street fair has been around for decades, he said, but due to declining attendance, efforts have been made to reignite interest

A young boy rides one of the carnival rides at the street fair. (Photo by Demi Guo)

“Casual” is the key word to describe the families who took photos of their children on the carnival rides and friends who waited on line to play test-your-strength.

“We saw them assembling the rides and came over,” said Talia, a young woman queuing up with her friend.

Saturday featured performances in the Village Green Park on a stage provided by the Great Neck Park District. From an appearance by an interact comedy illusionist at 5 p.m. to various rock ’n’ roll performers who followed, the program lured groups of every age onto the grass. The last two hours of the night were even dedicated to an on-stage karaoke for the audience.

Young Rochelles, a band from Long Beach, was among many performers at the music festival. (Photo by Demi Guo)

The musical performances kept things local. Young Rochelles, a band from Long Beach, performed power pop rock ’n’ roll, with titles such as, “I Never Saw the Ramones,” while the Great Neck Chinese Association led traditional dancers and musicians across the stage.

Sobel expressed appreciation for the food trucks as well, which recently added kosher options to better reflect what the local community would want. They were parked around carnival rides and game booths — including a ferris wheel and a test-your-strength stand — where lines stretched back by dozens of people.

On Sunday, despite impending rain, the street fair took off as usual, with further performances including New York City singer Simone Lipkin. Casual goers milled around the food trucks and a beer garden at Baker Hill Tavern, along with a petting zoo.

There were plenty of food trucks and games at the Great Neck Street Fair and Music Festival. (Photo by Demi Guo)
There were plenty of food trucks and games at the Great Neck Street Fair and Music Festival. (Photo by Demi Guo)

At the end, however, in what Sobel found to be “kind of a miracle,” the heavy rain only just managed to miss the fair itself. “Somehow we threaded that needle,” he said.

Sobel also expressed a desire to continue to improve the fair’s popularity by increasing social media presence. He emphasized as well the cooperation of Mayor Pedram Bral, the Great Neck Board of Trustees and the Great Neck Park District in this endeavor.

“I wish we could do this more often,” Sobel said, “for the community.”

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