By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Southern Brooklyn will play host to two blockbuster events – a street fair and a celebration of history – this weekend with thousands of people expected to turn out to have a good time.
On Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, the Friends of Historic New Utrecht are hosting Liberty Weekend on the grounds of the New Utrecht Reformed Church on 18th Avenue and 84th Street in Bensonhurst. On Sunday, June 2, the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) will present the Fifth Avenue Spring Festival.
The 2013 Fifth Avenue Spring Festival, a giant street fair complete with carnival games, rides for kids, outdoor concerts by Brooklyn bands, sidewalk cafes, raffles and sidewalk sales, will take place from 69th Street to 85th Street, from noon to 6 p.m.
Two Bay Ridge businesses, Rocco's Pizzeria and Super-Roofer, will present a pizza eating contest in front of Rocco Pizzeria, at 8717 Fifth Avenue.
For more information about the event, call the BID’s office 718-238-8181.
Also this weekend, the Brooklyn residents can go back in time, thank to Friends of Historic New Utrecht, a group which works to promote the history of the New Utrecht Reformed Church. The church was established in 1677.
Liberty Weekend is a two-day event in which history comes alive, the Bensonhurst Bean reported.
The weekend’s festivities get under way on Friday, May 31, when the InterSchool Orchestras Symphonic Band, conducted by Brian. Worsdale, performs in the Parish House, a building located next to the church.
On Saturday, a lecture “General and President Ulysses S. Grant,” will be presented by National Park Service Ranger Michael Callahan, at 12:30 p.m. A film, “General Howe: Conqueror of New York,” will be shown at 1:45 p.m. The film is about the British commander whose forces captured New York in 1776.
On the grounds of the church, visitors will be able to enjoy Civil War re-enactors from the 14th Brooklyn Regiment, as well as Revolutionary War re-enactors. The ceremonies will include the firing of an authentic 1863 Civil War cannon.
Dave Elligers, president of Friends of Historic New Utrecht, will lead tours of the New Utrecht Cemetery at 16th Ave. between 84th and 85th Streets. The cemetery contains gravestones of Revolutionary War era citizens.
At 3:30 p.m., a ceremony will take place at the foot of the Liberty Pole on the church lawn. Liberty poles were erected at the end of the Revolutionary War to celebrate the retreat of the British.
On Sunday, the congregation of the New Utrecht Reformed Church will welcome visitors to take part in the church’s regular Sunday service at 11 a.m. The service will be led by the Rev. Terry Troia, the church’s pastor.
For more information, call 718-256-7173, or visit www.historicnewutrecht.org.