For the first time since 2019, Bayside held its Bell Boulevard Food and Music Fest on Sunday, June 5, when community members joined food and music connoisseurs on Bell Boulevard for the festivities.
In addition to being a great source of entertainment for the community, this event was an opportunity for restaurants in the area to attract customers via the restaurant stroll, where booths were set up outside the restaurants with food and drink samples.
Around 40 restaurants participated in the stroll this year. Even restaurants in the area not participating in the stroll saw increased business due to the high volume of people in the area.
According to Arcadio Gonzalez of Brian Dempsey’s American Ale House, this event presented a great opportunity for the restaurant to get reacquainted with the community after the COVID-19 pandemic. The business went under new ownership last September.
Gonzalez is close with the new owner and was helping to promote the business on the street during the event.
“It’s refreshing to see so many people turn up for this,” Gonzalez said. “With all the time that’s passed between the 2019 Food and Music Fest and this one, a lot of people hadn’t been able to see some of the newer restaurants on Bell Boulevard. Everybody is getting a big influx of customers.”
Herbert Cheng, owner of New Golden Wine and Liquor, had previously mentioned the importance of this event returning. According to Chen, in addition to providing local businesses with the opportunity to attract more potential customers, the event also allows them to get better acquainted with their frequent customers.
“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.”
The entertainment at the event wasn’t just limited to food and music. Patrons also had the chance to play volleyball, ping-pong and mini-golf; get their faces painted; and take in aerial performances and an animal show.
The Empire Saber Guild was on hand at the event to provide lightsaber training for any willing Padawans between the ages of 6 and 12. There were also inflatable bounce houses, batting “cages” and obstacle courses on hand for the younger kids. Additionally, the FDNY was on hand to provide free CPR training to those who were interested.
Heart of Dinner partnered with a translation company to provide elderly Asian Americans from the community with dinner and handwritten notes that were then translated.
There were many different types of musical performances that occurred across Bell Boulevard during the event. While each performance certainly attracted large crowds, one of the biggest gatherings occurred when the School of Rock covered popular rock songs.
The Bell Boulevard Food and Music Fest marked the neighborhood’s first major street event since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.