The Merrick Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for what promises to be its largest Fall Festival to date. The fair is set to take place Sept. 27 to 29, and so far more than 150 chamber members, from restaurateurs to doctors, have requested booths, along with 150 crafts vendors, according to Douglas Mills, the chamber’s treasurer and the festival’s founder.
Each year the Fall Festival attracts thousands of fair-goers to the 10 blocks of Merrick Avenue from the Long Island Rail Road station to R.S. Jones restaurant, at Loines Avenue. “Hopefully we’ll get good weather, and it will be a packed event this year,” said Mills, a past chamber president who owns the Printing Emporium on Merrick Avenue, in the heart of Merrick’s downtown business district.
The fair, now in its 23rd year, has always been “a community spirit day. We want people to come out and meet the merchants and professionals in Merrick,” Mills said.
As always, the fair will feature a carnival in the LIRR parking lot, with rides for children of all ages. Friday night, from 6 to 11 p.m., there will be rides only. On Saturday and Sunday, merchants and vendors will set up shop in tents up and down Merrick Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the carnival rides continuing to 11 p.m. on Saturday and until closing on Sunday. Closing time will depend on weather and attendance.
The Town of Hempstead will also set up its showmobile, just south of Smith Street, which will feature local bands and magicians throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. R.S. Jones has also traditionally featured live acts on the street outside the popular southwestern eatery.
The Merrick Fire Department will set up an education trailer, a.k.a. the “smoke house,” to teach children about fire safety, with a focus on what to do in the event of a house fire.
And the Chamber of Commerce will have its own booth, where chamber volunteers will hand out bags full of coupons and giveaways from local businesses.
“We want everyone to have a good time,” said Randy Shotland, the chamber president and a financial adviser for New York Life.