By David Pollard
Thousands turned out Sunday for the 28th annual Great Neck Street Fair, and there was one location that got extra attention, especially from the children in attendance.
Angel Arita, 37, has lived in the village for about 14 years and for the past several years, he said, he has enjoyed bringing his two daughters to the village’s annual event.
The street fair, located on Middle Neck Road near Fairview Avenue, had more than 60 vendors showcasing art, jewelry and other goods along with several food vendors and live music.
But for Arita’s daughters, Gizelle, 7, and Gehanna, 5, what keeps them coming back is love for the bouncy house. He watched from outside as the two jumped around happily inside it.
“They don’t want to leave,” he said. “Every year when I come they want to come here [to the bouncy house].”
Village of Great Neck Trustee Bart Sobel said that over the years the word has gotten out, helping the crowd grow.
“This is our one annual public event and introduces vital parts of our village area businesses,” he said. “I see a lot of new faces of people coming and it’s exposing our village to people who would probably not be here.”
At Sicanni Parizaca’s stand, he played the zampona, a kind of pan flute. He was selling various kinds of flutes, CDs of his music and other items.
Parizaca, 45, who is originally from Peru, said he has been playing the zampona for over 20 years. He was told by a friend about the art fair and attended for the first time this year.
“It looks like a good turnout,” he said. “It’s a beautiful day and people are looking.”
Sekou Berete, 65, was one of the many vendors on hand at the event. He was selling semi-precious stones and various jewelry items made from them.
He said he comes back because he’s gained a following.
“I like it here because I make money and the people love my stuff,” he said.
Janet Arias, 28, enjoyed the events of the day wheeling her baby in a stroller around the petting zoo and enjoying the music from the “In the Groove Band,” which entertained the crowd by covering musical hits, old and new.
“I’ve enjoyed everything,” she said. “All of the programs, they’ve been for the kids, especially in the park. I’ve lived in Great Neck eight years and I’ve come out ever since then.”