By Mark Hallum
The fifth annual Long Island City spring street fair brought out the memorable goods and innovative art found in the neighborhood Saturday and set the stage for the following week’s event, the LIC Arts Open, according to one of the organizers.
Over 100 exhibitors and performers set up shop under portable canopies along Vernon Boulevard between 47th and 48th avenues, as music filled the air.
Rain threatened to come down, but the weather did not stop people from showing up to see what the commotion was about from noon to 5 p.m.
“This is a great celebration of all the great things in Long Island City,” Long Island City Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “What we try to do here is get people excited about all the things you can do here 365 days per year, not just one day.”
The street fair offered cotton candy and pony rides for children, while the main stage was graced by Bollywood dancers from St. John’s Prep School, salsa dancers from Martinez Dance Studio and the FogoAzul All Women Brazilian Drumline.
“LIC Springs is a truly unique and fun street festival on Vernon Boulevard that gives neighbors the opportunity to explore and support small businesses, enjoy local talent on the stage and connect with each other over fun activities like giant checkers or the spaghetti eating contest,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said.
The main stage of the festival featured salsa dancing and taekwondo performances, while Manducatis Rustica, located on Vernon Boulevard, hosted a pasta and gelato eating contest. Visitors enjoyed games of life-sized chess courtesy of Modern Spaces, a real estate firm based in the community.
There was also traditional step dancing, accompanied by an Irish folk duo in front of Woodbines, a popular pub which attracts the craft beer crowd.
ProHEALTH Dental, located in LIC, Howard Beach and Corona, offered free oral cancer screenings to attendees.
Martial artists from Tiger J Taekwondo showed off their abilities while children got to test their skills at breaking boards.
Long Island City Partnership advocates for better economic well-being for the area and makes the neighborhood a better location for new and older businesses to flourish.
“The LIC Arts Open is next Wednesday [May 16] through the weekend and we like to think of this as the lead-in to that,” Lusskin added. “You can’t pack everything from Long Island City into one day, so you got to come back for the arts open and Taste of LIC.”
LIC Arts Open shows off the work of some of the best galleries in the upstart community of painters, sculptors and architects.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall