Ridgewood’s Italian street festival may return for four days after years of being scaled back

Fresh Pond Road Street Festival Queens
File photo/QNS

Ridgewood’s Fresh Pond Road Street Fair will be restored to its four-day glory this September after Community Board 5 voted in favor at its Feb. 13 meeting.

Long-time organizer of Ridgewood’s Fresh Pond Road Street Festival, Tony DiPiazza, asked that the full scope of the street fair be restored on the grounds that it has a history of being well-managed and could be an economic boon to local business.

DiPiazza, who helped found the Italian American festival, said the four-day bash in the streets has been scaled back to two days in recent years due to road work projects on Fresh Pond Road, but now that it’s completed  he called on Community Board 5 at the Feb13 meeting to approve the full five blocks to be provided for this year’s celebration.

The mayor’s office will make the final decision on whether or not to honor the community board’s vote.

“The first two years were very contentious, needless to say, but we proved after the first couple of years that we would be able to stage the festival in a peaceful, joyous manner of sharing our pride and heritage with the community,” DiPiazza said. “In the last five-six years, things started to change… But a two-day festival is just not financially viable… I respectfully ask that you reinstate the five days, four blocks for the festival.”

The street fair, managed by Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens, was first proposed in 1995 and requested approval from CB5 to take place on Fresh Pond Road between Woodbine and Grove Streets, but the board members held concerns that the four-day event would impede traffic.

CB5 voted against reinstating the four days of festivities in February 2017, as they had the previous three years, citing traffic jams and it has remained a two day deal.

Empty storefronts and businesses that may be struggling could also be in for a boost, Joseph Reina who owns JRX Pharmacy on Fresh Pond said, if it is allowed to go the full length.

“I’ve seen a lot of empty stores in recent months,” Reina said. “I think the festival has always been great exposure for Fresh Pond Road. It brings new people to the avenue who can see what Fresh Pond Road has to offer. It may bring a new entrepreneur to the avenue that sees an empty store and sees it as a great place to open the business.”

The Fresh Pond Road Street Fair will make its comeback on Sept. 5, 6, 7 and 8.