In Soundview Rising, March 21, 2014
The 325th Anniversary Street Fair held last September in New Rochelle was generally hailed as the most successful event ever held in their city's downtown. The city's website reported this fair had live music, nearly l00 vendors including a car show, children's face painting, rides and crafts. It was held on Main Street between Centre and North Avenues.
Thousands of people were attracted to the fair which had no admission charge. A website is already posted for 2014 applications for vendors (only) at the Office of Street Affairs (info@streetFairs.org)
As reported in New Rochelle Talk of the Sound last year's fair attracted the two candidates for Westchester County Executive, Noam Bramson, Mayor of New Rochelle and Rob Astorino, Westchester County Executive. One can only speculate that candidates running for office this year will put this successful event on their calendar.
When this event for Sunday September 7. 2014 was brought up at the New Rochelle City Council meeting on March 11, 2014, Councilman Al Tarantino mentioned there were some aspects of last year that should be rethought. One block last year, for example, would only have food and another the car show. He felt that all the same type of vendors should be in one block. Each block should have an assortment of different types of vendors. He also felt some tables or booths were not appropriate for a street fair.
Recreation Commissioner William Zimmerman in response said he could get a print-out of the proposed plan for the fair this year and the booth arrangement could be checked. Emphasizing the sensitiveness of this issue, he felt the City Council should be the leading group for this fair, not the Business Improvement District or any other group.
Questions arose as to whether this fair would be assembled without placing it on the City Council agenda for discussion. Councilman Ivar Hyden expressed concern that the "brick and mortar" stores on Main Street were not included. He felt they should be allowed to display their merchandise or service in front of their store. The lack of passage ways between stands in the fair area last year made it necessary for people attending to walk to the corner if they wanted to visit a store on Main Street.
Another complaint, because of the very high volume of participants, was that congregations of churches that front on Main Street couldn't enter their church because of the heavy pedestrian traffic of the fair. This was felt to be an issue that needed to be dealt with.
Councilman Jared Rice felt the first fair was "wonderful" and he had never seen that many people downtown. Councilman Barry Fertel questioned whether the purpose of the fair was to help brick and mortar stores because he not feel "proud" of some stores. He felt the city should make people want to come back to Main Street.
This fair will be addressed again at a City Council meeting. The cost per vendor will probably be higher than last year.