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Williston Day Street Fair draws 10K despite clouds

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Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2016 10:22 am

Cloudy skies and the threat of a rainstorm didn’t stop close to 10,000 people from attending Sunday’s 38th annual Williston Day Street Fair.

Nearly 100 outside vendors, nearly 50 local chamber members and many community organizations, including local churches, fire departments and scouting groups, were set up along Hillside Avenue between Willis Avenue and the Long Island Rail Road tracks for a day filled with food, entertainment and fun for the family.

“I thought everybody had a really good time, everything ran smoothly and it was a good day for us,” said Lucille Walters, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of the Willistons, which sponsors the fair. “It’s a great way for everybody in the neighborhood to get together since it’s the first big event after the summer time when everyone’s been away.”

The fair is a major fundraising day for many local community groups, such as the Williston Park Historical Society, the Williston Park Rotary Club and the Williston Park American Legion Post 144.

Jack Afonso, an American Legion member and past commander of the post, said the post enjoys being part of the fair each year and interacting with the community.

“We got a nice crowd, a lot of vendors, good music, a lot of people,” Afonso said. “It’s good.”

Returning to the fair this year was Skye’s Lemonade Stand, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

Bill Blau set up the lemonade stand with his daughter, Skye, three years ago after his wife, Mary Ann, was diagnosed with cancer. 

The family, joined by neighbors and friends, sells lemonade, iced tea and cookies for $1 apiece and donates all the money to cancer research.

John Tavolacci, one of Blau’s neighbors, said the stand also allows local children to be a part of the effort.

“Not only are they doing this amazing thing towards the American Cancer Society, but they’re also learning such an important lesson and value about giving back to the community,” Tavolacci said.

He said the stand is a “real community effort,” with local businesses donating ice, cups and other items. 

“It’s great. We’re getting more support than I ever thought,” Blau said. “And we’re having a great time.”

 Skye’s Lemonade Stand raised $3,000 for the American Cancer Society at the fair. 

The East Williston Fire Department returned this year, once again barbecuing for fairgoers. 

Engine Captain Peter Batterson said the department enjoys coming out and barbecuing and engaging with the community.

“It’s a great way to meet your friends and neighbors and come on out and get to know everyone and be part of the community because that’s basically what we’re all about,” Batterson said. 

The street fair provided a lot of fun activities for children, including face painting, pony rides, a petting zoo and the popular hula hoop contest, Walters said. 

Sunnyside Farmers’ Market made its street fair debut. The market has sold Long Island-grown produce and locally made baked goods and jams since late June at American Legion Post 144 and Copper Hill Restaurant on Hillside Avenue.

Walters said it was a nice addition that offers the community “something different” from past years. 

Pia Schnaufer, a Williston Park resident, said she has been coming to the street fair for as long as she could remember. 

“This is a community-wide event that brings everyone together on such a beautiful day,” Schnaufer said.

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