The Food and Music Fest is scheduled to return to Bayside on June 5, when it will become the first major street event in the neighborhood since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Bayside Village BID Executive Director Christine Silletti, the return of the Food and Music Fest — and future street events — should have a big effect on small businesses and communities in the Bayside.
There will be tons to do at the Food and Music Fest on Bell Boulevard, including ping-pong, face painting and volleyball. Free beach balls will be given out courtesy of First Central Savings Bank for those who wish to play volleyball. Additionally, young “Star Wars” enthusiasts between the ages of 6 and 12 will have the chance to participate in Padawan training, courtesy of Empire Saber Guild.
Other sources of entertainment will include live music and aerial performances.
In partnership with a translation company, Heart of Dinner will be providing dinner to the elderly Asian Americans within the community with handwritten notes that will then be translated.
Additionally, members of the FDNY will be on hand offering CPR training.
One of the biggest sources of entertainment during the festival is the restaurant stroll, where people can try food and drinks from around 40 restaurants in the area. This helps those businesses build connections with members of the community and the people who participate expand their horizons when it comes to getting food in the area, according to Silletti.
Tickets for the restaurant stroll are $35 for adults and $15 for kids, but the prices decrease to $30 and $10 when tickets are purchased at least two weeks before the stroll.
“We’ve been isolated for so long and haven’t been able to build many connections over these last two years,” Silletti said. “[Food and Music Fest] will help create connections for small businesses, which help to bring a real sense of connection and community.”
According to Herbert Cheng, owner of New Golden Wine and Liquor, the Food and Music Fest presents businesses like his with a great opportunity to attract more potential customers and get better acquainted with regular customers. Cheng’s business has been operating at 41-08 Bell Blvd. since 1979 and has taken part in each Food and Music Fest so far.
“People get to come in and see what we have to offer,” Cheng said. “We offer weekly wine tastings and [the Food and Music Fest] is a great way to get new customers and have old ones see what they think of some of the new wines.”
Silletti views the return of the Food and Music Fest as the latest checkpoint in a return to normalcy following the pandemic. The event debuted in the summer of 2018 before occurring again the following summer. However, the pandemic caused it to be canceled each of the last two years.
In addition to the Food and Music Fest, the Bell Boulevard Sunday Stroll is on track to return in the fall, according to Silletti.