The Bay Terrace Shopping Center hosted its first-ever Winter Festival on Sunday, Feb. 26.
Cord Meyer Development Company planned the event with assistance from the Bayside Historical Society, Dancing Dreams, Commonpoint Queens, Bayside Little League and local Girl Scout Troops.
According to Cord Meyer Development Company Vice President Controller Joe Forgione, the idea for a Winter Festival stemmed from the success of its recent Fall Festival. With not as much for the community to do in the winter when compared to the summer, Forgione felt an event like this would end up being very fun for families in the area.
“The [Bay Terrace] Shopping Center is more than just a shopping center,” Forgione said. “It’s a place where people come to spend the day naturally. Anytime we can have an event or add something to the experience, we take that opportunity. This event started because a few of the nonprofits who we offer space to throughout the shopping center wanted to have an event where they can help give back and run crafts and games for kids. What separates this group from the other community groups and nonprofits we support is that we’ve been able to find creative ways to support each by offering space at the shopping center.”
Some of the many features of the Winter Festival were a skating rink, arts and crafts stations and games like golf and cornhole. Kids also had the opportunity to get their picture taken with Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen.” A food truck from “Chip City” was also stationed to provide snacks for attendees and SoBol Bay Terrace set up a hot chocolate station.
“Commonpoint Queens is about the community and it’s very important for us to be with the community in supporting positive engagement wherever it happens,” Commonpoint Queens’ Island Quest Day Camp Director Melissa Algranati said. “We’re here if you need a senior center, we’re here if you have a kid who has special needs socialization. Parents need people they could talk to and ask for advice. We have staff that’s nimble and flexible.”
Several families in attendance gathered around to watch fire performers perform several tricks as they dazzled the audience. Whether it was balancing, jump-roping or juggling items on fire or breathing fire, the performers kept the crowd entertained.
The festival also acted as a celebration of the conclusion of the Bayside Historical Society’s Winter Art Show, set to end on Feb. 28. According to Bayside Historical Society Trustee Laura James, the festival helped bring attention to their organization. While the show itself was not open to the public, the pieces on display at the window attracted onlookers to examine them.
“This is really a thank you to our artists for taking the time to do their work, enter the show and bring it here to be exhibited,” James said. “We just want to make sure that we celebrate them.”
Forgione, as well as the representatives from the many organizations involved in the Winter Festival, stated a desire to have it become an annual event.