Stepping Out

Ushering in fall at Bellmore’s Family Street Festival

Annual event delights young and old


Bellmore is ready to welcome thousands of area residents to its grand yearly celebration that is a staple of the fall festival season. The Bellmore Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the festival, has put together a community event that has gained acclaim as the largest event of its kind in Nassau County.

This year’s extravaganza offers plenty of activities for all ages and interests, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21-22, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., at the Bellmore LIRR Station and Sunrise Highway in downtown Bellmore Village. And, of course, it includes the colorful carnival, which begins Thursday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m., and runs continuously all weekend until the festival’s closing.

Over 250 exhibits and attractions are featured in a 25-square block area, drawing over 120,000 visitors each year. From traditional street fair activities and shopping to civic, business, and health and wellness services, the fair combines amusements with access to vital community resources.

“Our festival is the biggest on Long Island,” said Debby Izzo, Chamber of Commerce president, who is the owner of the Dirty Dawg in Bellmore. “We proudly show off to all who come what Bellmore has to offer. There are a number of terrific mom and pop shops within Bellmore Village and we continually promote and support the shop local campaign in Nassau County.”

“We also try to have a wide variety of entertainment for all ages, with exhibitions by local dance centers, a magic show this year, and bands of various genres. We have something for the whole family to enjoy. We are also very proud of our craft area, which showcases all handmade goods. And, of course, we have restaurants, food vendors, and a food court with tables and chairs that provide a great relaxation spot. We want everyone to enjoy themselves, but we do ask that people please abide by our no alcohol rule, and also leave pets at home for their safety.”

The festivities begin, as always, on Thursday evening with an array of carnival rides and game booths on the midway. On Friday, the rides will continue, along with a classic rock concert at the Showmobile in the Long Island Rail Road parking lot off Pettit Avenue along the midway. The entire festival comes to life on Saturday and Sunday with varied activities and exhibitors.

First and foremost it’s a family affair, so that means that there’s much going to keep kids busy all weekend-long. The Kids Expo portion features the astonishing antics of “Robin Lynch the Aerialist” all day Saturday and Sunday. Also be sure to catch the always-popular Erik’s Reptile Edventures on Saturday, at 3:30 p.m.

The petting zoo is, of course, a big draw with all sorts of farm animals to feed. The kids will have fun on the pony rides, and be delighted with lots of free on-going hands-on activities. Also, younger visitors will enjoy the smaller-sized carnival rides, pasta picture frame making, jewelry making, and face painting.

Other activities include the Maple Family Center Portable Bowling Lane, an interactive exhibit presented by the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Radio Disney, and the Riverhead Aquarium Shark Truck.

Everyone will find much to amuse themselves with at the carnival, which includes all sorts of rides and games of chance to thrill all ages. Don’t miss out on the Himalaya and the Riptide, and the fascinating Belmont Magic Show on Pettit Avenue.

There’s plenty of live entertainment as well. Local musical acts will fill the air with tunes all weekend-long at the Showmobiles on Pettit Avenue and Broadway (Food Court), along with the Toddler Jam at the north end. Also stop by the karate and dance demonstrations and see some of the impressive talents in the area strut their stuff.

And what would a festival be without crafts and assorted treasures for sale? For the shoppers in attendance, over 100 vendors are on hand selling all sorts of handmade wares. Additional attractions include military, business, health and wellness, animal and home improvement expos.

Show your support for the nation’s military by visiting their area of the festival. All branches of the military are represented, with an extensive display of all military hardware and memorabilia. Check out the British Armed Ferret, Pontoon Boat and Humvees along with flight simulators and a Coast Guard vessel. Meet and greet military personal, both retired and active.

 Many of the 300 Chamber businesses in the area, which make up the backbone of the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce, are represented at the Business Expo portion of the fair. Also stop by the Health and Wellness Expo, which is chock full of helpful information and medical screenings. Flu shots will also be available.

And for those planning to spruce up their homes, the Home Improvement Expo is the place to go. Costello’s Ace Hardware, and Four Seasons Windows-Sunrooms-Kitchens, along with many local home improvement contractors, are available for consultation and to share their expertise.

Sports fans in attendance will want to stop by the Sports Expo, in its new location on Broadway. Meet Mickey Rivers, who played centerfield for the New York Yankees, along with representatives of the Brooklyn Nets, New York Cosmos and New York Islanders. The Sports Expo also features the U.S. Tennis Association, dragster stock cars, fencing, the U.S. Army rock climbing wall, and a newcomer to this year’s festival, American Bull Riding.

Festival sponsors include Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, the Nassau County Police Department, Supervisor Kate Murray and the Town of Hempstead, Herald Community Newspapers, News 12 Long Island, K 98.3, 94.3 The Shark, B-103, Ford Experience Tour, and Stop & Shop.

Check out for updated information or call the Festival Hotline at (516) 809-5892.

Parking Information

Join in the fun at this year’s Family Street Festival, but be aware of the festival’s parking regulations. Chamber of Commerce officials encourage everyone to take the LIRR to the festival or park at the Merrick LIRR Station, eastern lot, and use the free shuttle bus service.

Certain parking fields will be closed to the public during the duration of the festival.

n LIRR Parking Field B2 between Bellmore and Bedford Avenues – no parking Sept. 20, after 8 p.m. through Sept. 23, 12 a.m.

n LIRR Parking Field B3 between Bedford and Centre Avenues – no parking Sept. 18, after 8 p.m. through Sept. 23, 6 a.m.

n Parking Field B7 behind Citibank on Grand Avenue – no parking after midnight on Sept. 20 through Sept. 22, 8 p.m.

n Parking Field B6, The Dellamore parking field, between Bedford and Bellmore Avenues (north of Grand Avenue) – no parking Sept. 20, after 8 p.m. through Sept. 22, 8 p.m.

Handicapped parking will be available during the festival at the B7 Municipal Parking Field on Grand Avenue (behind Citibank) and the entire Municipal Parking Field of Dellamore Way (across from CVS on Bellmore Avenue). Permits are required.

All parking fields will reopen for public use on Sept. 23 in the morning. The Chamber urges everyone to respect the community’s residents and not block driveways or park in private parking lots (such as CVS and King Kullen).