This coming weekend, the streets of Merrick will be packed with food, rides, and fun for the entire family — it’s the return of the Merrick Street Festival.
Hosted by the Merrick Chamber of Commerce, this year’s festival promises to be its busiest and most exciting one yet, according to Chamber president Randy Shotland.
“There’s a lot going on this year," Shotland said. "This is going to be one of the most community-minded Festivals we’ve ever had. With the economy the way it is, some people worry if it’s going to be expensive, but while there are things that you have to pay for at the Festival, there are many things that are completely free as well.”
One free attraction is music. Shotland said that there will be several areas where local residents can enjoy live tunes, including country-western music provided by RS Joes; the Town of Hempstead Showmobile, which will have performances by various acts throughout the day, and local radio stations, including K-JOY, will also have live performances.
Another free attraction that should pack in the kids is an actual shark tank, courtesy of the Riverhead Aquarium.
“It’s a huge tank, the size of a flatbed truck, with a white shark, and you can take pictures with it,” Shotland said. “Right next to it we have a slide ride, which is also free. There are also free magic shows and animal acts this weekend.”
Other family-friendly attractions at this year’s Festival are carnival rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, arts and crafts, refreshments, a fire-safety demonstration by the North Bellmore Fire Department, and members of both military and veterans groups.
The Chamber is paying tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts organization, with a special ceremony being held at 11 a.m. on Saturday on the Showmobile located at Smith Street and Merrick Avenue.
There will also be an extensive craft fair. Alan Finchley is the owner of Nassau County Craft Shows, an organization comprised of craft and gift vendors that produces around 40 shows in the Long Island area annually.
“We’ve been participating in the Merrick Street Festival for the past four years,” he said. “We were invited in 2009 to join both the Merrick fall and spring festivals to enhance the participation of craft and gift vendors.”
“Nassau County Craft and Gift vendors specialize in items that are either hand-made or hand-picked,” Finchley added. “They’re either unique because they’re made by hand, or unusual, because they’re not to be found at malls or downtown shopping areas.”
Finchley said that that the Merrick Street Festival has become an important event on his origination’s calendar in a relatively short amount of time.
“This has been a very successful pairing," he said. "The Merrick Chamber of Commerce is spectacular. This has become a major event. We’ll get upwards of 40,000 people coming this weekend.”
All in all, the Merrick Street Festival should be a weekend packed with fun and frivolity for one and all, and one that helps the Chamber of Commerce raise the funds needed to provide other services to the community throughout the year, Shotland added.
"The Festival helps to make money to provide the holiday lights in Merrick, keeping the streets clean, and other projects we do for the community,” he said. “The Chamber members are all volunteers, and we try very, very hard as a community to provide for the community."
The Merrick Street Festival is to be held on Merrick Avenue (between Sunrise Highway and Liones Avenue) on the following dates and start times:
- Friday, Sept. 7: 6 p.m. to closing
- Saturday, Sept. 8: 11 a.m. to closing
- Sunday, Sept. 9: 11 a.m. to closing
Will you be attending the Merrick Street Fair? Let us know in the comments section below.