Western Brooklyn

The Business Owner’s Guide To Bensonhurst’s Street Festivals

Photo courtesy of Councilman Mark Treyger's Office.
Photo courtesy of Councilman Mark Treyger’s Office.

Everyone loves a good summer street festival.

From our neighborhood’s annual 10-day Festa di Santa Rosalia to Weekend Walks — which kicked off on 18th Avenue for the first time this year — street fairs and festivals are a great way to experience all Bensonhurst has to offer. With local roads closed to traffic, neighbors can snag bargains, go on rides, sample some of our neighborhood’s world-class grub, and hang out with family and friends until the sun goes down.

For local business owners, these outdoor events are wonderful opportunity to showcase their goods, expand their brands, and engage with the community. But if the number of phone calls we receive on the topic is any indicator, reserving a spot at a Bensonhurst street fair can be a confusing process. It may be difficult to track down who is running the show and to book a table before they are all filled up.

Well, we are here to demystify you. Below is our official breakdown of Bensonhurst street festivals, who to contact for each one, and how to reserve a table.

1. 86th Street Festival

bensonhurst festival
Snag great bargains at the popularl Photo by Bensonhurst Bean

It’s like a giant flea market but with live music and rides. Neighbors flood Bensonhurst’s busiest commercial street once a year to get great deals on handbags, sunglasses, watches, toys, and more. Food trucks, rides, and live music keep things interesting.

When is it happening? The second Sunday after Memorial Day
Who are the organizers? Southwest Brooklyn Parks Task Force 
Who should I speak to? Chip Cafiero, (917) 882-5066, or email chpster52@aol.com
How much does it cost to rent a spot? $125 – $350 (food tables are more expensive)
When to reserve: March or April

2. Weekend Walks on 18th Avenue [Update: Cancelled]

weekend walks flop
Bensonhurst’s first-ever Weekend Walks on 18th Avenue (Photo by Bensonhurst Bean)

Weekend Walks, which are organized community organizations in partnership with the Department of Transportation [DOT], are all about the merchants.  Several blocks are closed to traffic so that shopkeepers can utilize the sidewalk in front of their stores for entertainment, including outdoor cafes, scavenger hunts, musical performances, and more. It’s also completely free for participating merchants. This year, Bensonhurst had its first-ever DOT sponsored Weekend Walks event on 18th Avenue. It is still up in the air whether the DOT will approve the 18th Avenue walks a second time, but we will keep you posted! (To learn more about Weekend Walks, visit the DOT’s website.)

When is it happening? TBD
Who are the organizers? The Federation of Italian American Organizations [FIAO]
Who should I speak to? Sara Steinweiss, (718) 259-2828
How much does it cost to rent a spot? Free for 18th Avenue businesses!
When to reserve: Before January

3. Festa di Santa Rosalia, AKA The “18th Avenue Feast”

18th Avenue Feast (Photo by Bensonhurst Bean)
Rice balls at last year’s 18th Avenue Feast (Photo by Bensonhurst Bean)

The 10-day festival, now in its 38th year, packs 18th Avenue from 67th Street to Bay Ridge Parkway with food, music, vendors, and amusement. The event — which honors the patron saint of Palermo, Sicily, where their own Festa has been celebrated continuously since 1624 — is believed to be the largest Italian-American festival in Brooklyn.

When is it happening? Kicks off the third Thursday in August and lasts for 10 days. This year The Feast runs August 20 – August 30.
Who are the organizers? The Figli di Santa Rosalia Society
Who should I speak to? Angelo Timoneri, (718) 234-0160, mptaxserviceinc@aol.com
How much does it cost? $700 – $1000
When to reserve: June

Note: Table rentals range widely in price depending on the festival, and merchandise tables are typically cheaper than food tables.

Hopefully this information will help more local businesses participate in these lively community events so that we can keep them going for many years to come. See you at The Feast!

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