On the first Sunday of October, residents from near and far will stroll up and down Sea Cliff Avenue for the village’s annual Mini Mart event. The street fair, which hosts more than 200 local vendors and draws record crowds, has been a beloved tradition in Sea Cliff for over 45 years.
Now in its 49th year, Mini Mart continues to be a major fundraiser for community nonprofits, including the Lions, Rotary and North Shore Kiwanis. The organization took over event operations in the early 1980s. “All the money raised from vendors goes right back into the community,” said Lisa Larsen-Hill, a member of Kiwanis.
The event encompasses four blocks — between Carpenter and Prospect Avenues — full of art, music and community. Mayor Edward Lieberman said that in addition to being a highly anticipated gathering for residents, Mini Mart also serves a “legitimate purpose” for those who may be new to the way of life in Sea Cliff.
“It has developed into a very fun-filled day, and for those who are unfamiliar with our village, they get a real taste of what Sea Cliff is all about,” Lieberman said.
Restaurants that line Sea Cliff Avenue will open their doors, allowing visitors to sample local flavors in the form of pizza, knot pretzels and pumpkin beer complete with an apple-spiced sugar rim.
Aside from eating, Mini Mart is a great opportunity to get your craft on. In its formative years the event was referred to as “the square-mile of art,” according to Larsen-Hill, since the once weeklong art fair offered a variety of displays and demonstrations from artists across the North Shore.
The local art scene still comes out in full force, with multiple booths sporting handmade home goods, candles, prints, jewelry and more. And swirling steadfast through the October air is live music provided by some of the community’s musicians.
Because of a recent uptick in local business, new clothing stores, food and beverage purveyors and shops specializing in antique home décor will be featured in this year’s Mini Mart lineup. Larsen-Hill also promised great local music all night long.
Although it’s intended to be enjoyed, both Lieberman and Larsen-Hill stressed some ground rules for the event. The village is asking attendants to support Sea Cliff’s “bring your own bag” law, which was enacted this March, and regulates the use of plastic carryout bags. Residents and visitors are encouraged to tote reusable bags to Mini Mart. Merchants will charge a 5-cent fee on the customer for each plastic bag provided.
The village is also asking attendants to leave their dogs at home for the day as a safety precaution. Lieberman said since Mini Mart tends to get crowded, it might cause the animals to become apprehensive. There have also been some biting incidences in the past. “We found that it’s not good for the dogs or the residents,” he said, “especially the children.”
Mini Mart takes place on Sunday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking and shuttle buses will be available at Tappen Beach on Shore Road. Admission is free. For more information, call (516) 671-0080.