The Village of New Hyde Park will once again host its annual street fair after the coronavirus pandemic forced the village to cancel the event last year.
Mayor Christopher Devane, in a phone interview, said that the village is planning to hold the street fair on Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. to approximately 4:30 p.m.
He said the decision to hold the event this year came after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement lifting restrictions statewide in mid-May. Cuomo’s announcement and the continuous decrease of new coronavirus cases, Devane said, were contributing factors as village officials decided to hold the event later this year.
“Everything’s pointing in a very positive direction and the street fair is an integral part of the village in terms of what we have traditionally done every year,” Devane said. “So we want our residents to know that we want to come back full force.”
Cuomo announced that limits on outdoor social gatherings increased from 200 to 500 people and the limits on indoor social gatherings increased from 100 to 250 people in May. Devane said that the decision to hold the event, which will be held on Jericho Turnpike between New Hyde Park Road and Covert Avenue, was made with the health and safety of the New Hyde Park community as a top priority.
Devane said the decision was not to act in defiance of any higher government, but rather to return to “some sense of normalcy” at a time when vaccinations are being put in the arms of residents throughout the county. He said the village will continue to monitor the number of cases on a local and statewide level to ensure it will be appropriate to hold an event.
“If things change in society or things start getting shut down again, then obviously we’ll act accordingly and we would have to cancel it,” he said. “But right now things are looking very positive.”
Devane said the first organizational meeting with village officials and representatives of various organizations in New Hyde Park was held last week. Though the event will have to be planned on a shorter timetable than usual, he said, the sense of “euphoria” throughout the village once residents heard the street fair would resume this year is already shaping it to be a memorable event.
“I hope people come and enjoy the day and hope this is the first of many events that we can re-engage and come together as a community to enjoy each other’s company,” he said. “That’s what this day is all about. Having fun and seeing people again, and we just want people to know that we’re open again.”
Devane said he would be open to residents’ ideas on how to improve or modify the event. He also alluded to other events the village hopes to host later this year, including a Halloween parade, a Diwali celebration and a holiday tree lighting. The planning of the events, he said, will take the pandemic and any new developments into consideration. Village residents will also be kept up to date with any developments or changes to the tentative plans, he said.
If all goes according to plan, it will be the first time the village has hosted a street fair since 2018. In 2019, the fair was canceled and replaced with a “New Hyde Park Community Day” at Memorial Park due to the Long Island Rail Road’s third track construction. The 2018 fair saw about 200 businesses and vendors attend, with entertainment ranging from live music to inflatable children’s rides.