Back in full swing!
Third Avenue Festival returns to Bay Ridge
BY JESSICA PARKS
Bay Ridge’s iconic Third
Avenue Festival made a triumphant
return to the neighborhood
on Oct. 3, despite the
cancellation of the Ragamuffi
n Parade that traditionally
“It went fantastic,” said
Doug Kelleher, a manager at
Third Avenue mainstay Cebu.
“I think this year was one of
the best Third Avenue Festivals
as a whole and at Cebu.”
The decades-long tradition
took a raincheck last year due to
the coronavirus pandemic — as
did nearly all in-person events
across the city — and was met
with some concern this year as
the spread of the highly contagious
Delta variant prompted
a citywide mandate requiring
COVID-19 vaccination for indoor
The continued spread of the
coronavirus also led the Ragamuffi
n Parade Committee to
make the diffi cult decision in
late August to cancel the annual
children’s parade, originally
scheduled for Oct. 2.
But the festival was still a
huge success, with the afternoon’s
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allowing patrons to dine outdoors,
making it more manageable
for business owners to
check the vaccine status of the
few diners who decided to eat
inside, Kelleher said.
As per usual, music, vendors
and shopping galore encompassed
from 69th to 94th street, but the
introduction of outdoor dining
setups during the pandemic
brought an entirely new element
to the festival, according
to Kelleher, who told Brooklyn
Paper that — for the fi rst time
ever — diners were able to remain
outside after the fair’s 6
pm closing time, instead of being
ushered back inside.
“People didn’t have to
move,” said Kelleher. “We
don’t have any illegal or extra
seating. Just the outdoor setups
already out there.”
Still, some business owners
hope next year’s festival
can go even later.
“It started too early,” said a
Third Avenue proprietor who
preferred to remain anonymous.
She argued the festival,
especially one in a late-night
metropolis like New York City,
could easily go on until at least
9 or 10 pm — much like the avenue’s
annual Summer Strolls.
“We live in New York City…
if we lived in upstate New
York, maybe 6 o’clock would
have been good,” she said.
“But we live in New York City,
we never go home early.”
This year’s festival was expected
to be the last organized
by local legend Chip Cafi ero,
the man who has made both
the storied street fair and its
preceding parade possible for
the last 43 years, though he
says we can never be too sure
until next year.
“I say that, but,” Cafi ero
laughed when asked if he will
return for the festival’s 47th iteration
in 2022, “we’ll see what
PARTY ON: Revelers return for the 46th Annual Third Avenue Festival,
despite the Ragamuffi n Parade’s cancellation. Photos by Arthur de Gaeta
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