Every year, around this time, the phone calls start pouring in at Bensonhurst Bean.
“When is the 86th Street Festival?” you want to know. “How much do vendor tables cost?”
Well, we’ve got answers. The massive 86th Street flea falls out the same date as every other year: the second Sunday after Memorial Day.
For first timers, the 86th Street Festival is essentially giant flea market, but with live music, delicious food, and carnival rides. Thousands of neighbors flood Bensonhurst’s busiest commercial street once a year to get great deals on handbags, sunglasses, watches, toys, and more. (Here are some photos from last year’s event.)
When is it happening? Sunday, June 12, 10am – 6pm
Who are the organizers? Southwest Brooklyn Parks Task Force
Who should I speak to? Chip Cafiero, (917) 882-5066, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How much does it cost to rent a spot? $125 – $350 (food tables are more expensive)
When to reserve: March or April
This year, organizer Chip Cafiero — who also runs the popular 3rd Avenue and 5th Avenue Festivals in Bay Ridge — says he is expecting more food vendors than usual, and several large 86th Street businesses like the gyms (Planet Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness) will be participating with specials and demonstrations.
“It’s a great event — all the stores are open and there’s a lot of sales going on that day. It’s a double shot of shopping. This year, you’ve got the stores in addition to the vendors on the street, so bring twice as much money,” said Cafiero.
Proceeds from the event typically go towards bettering the neighborhood. In past years, the funds have benefitted a local merchant’s association. These days funds go to the Southwest Brooklyn Parks Taskforce, which brings concerts and other programming to local parks. Half of the proceeds also go to the 62nd Precinct Community Council to fund graffiti removal and other quality-of-life improvements throughout the district.
Make sure to get to the festival early next Sunday to find parking on side streets! To get there by mass transit, take the D to Bay Parkway or 20th Avenue, or the B1, B6 or B82 buses to Bay Parkway/86th Street.