If you were part of the massive crowd that attended the Valley Stream Community Fest on Sept. 29, you probably noticed a few things: a host of business and community groups up and down Rockaway Avenue, a store or two that you didn’t know too much about, a lot of neighbors and friends, and the lovely weather.
Many people also took notice of the community leaders wearing fluorescent green T-shirts who dedicated so much of their time and energy to organizing the event, which by all accounts was a rousing success. It all started with an idea last year from James Giordano, vice president of Envision Valley Stream, and last weekend it became a reality.
“The fact that eight people can come together and make this happen with no money and no budget shows you what a small number could do just to do something good,” said Giordano, a member of the festival’s planning committee.
Rockaway Avenue saw a steady stream of people from Valley Stream and neighboring communities, and more than 120 vendors set up shop along the street.
T.J. Anand, owner of Diya Fusion Indian Cuisine on Rockaway Avenue, served food from a sidewalk table and attracted many new customers that day. “I think it’s a great idea,” Anand said of the festival. “It brings the community out, and it gives the new businesses in this community some exposure.”
Ryu’s Martial Arts of Lynbrook set up a booth, at which employees gave away prizes and gave kids the opportunity to break a block of wood. Joshua Terranova, an instructor at Ryu’s, said the response from the community was positive all day.
Doreen Sharp, of Valley Stream, and her son, James, 9, had fun at the Home Depot workshop, where James made a model car. Kay and Walt Dillon, who have lived in Valley Stream for 50 years, said they enjoyed seeing all the vendors. “I think they did a great job with this,” Kay Dillon said.
Members of Cub Scout Pack 367, who sold popcorn at their booth, said that business picked up after a slow start. Fabrizio Fratarcangeli, 8, Nicholas Cavaliere, 8, and Matthew Piniero, 9, all said they were having a good time raising money for their pack. “We’re selling pretty good,” Matthew said. “Some people are actually nice enough to buy a lot.”