By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The 20th Annual Fifth Avenue Spring Festival in Bay Ridge was a hot event, literally and figuratively! With temperatures hovering near the 90 degree mark and the hot sun blazing down on them, hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents came to the festival on June 2 to enjoy the carnival games, eat cotton candy, listen to their favorite local rock bands perform on concert stages, take in a pizza eating contest, and pick up items for sale at booths set up by vendors.
“Fifth Avenue is alive!” exclaimed Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) who had a booth set up to greet constituents on the festival route.
Sponsored by the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, the festival turned the busy shopping thoroughfare into a giant street fair. The festival began at 69th Street and ended at 85th Street, offering visitors something to do on each block.
Kids loved the rides. And adults loved the sidewalk sales.
There were concert stages set up along the route and the avenue’s popular restaurants set up sidewalk cafes, giving hot and weary festival-goers a chance to sit, enjoy a cold soda, and refresh themselves.
In addition to Gentile, other elected officials, including US Rep. Michael Grimm (R-C-Brooklyn Staten Island), state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn), and Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Bay Ridge-Coney Island) set up booths manned by staff members to assist constituents with quality of life issues. Another lawmaker, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) used the festival to bring attention to one of her pet causes – namely, pets. She teamed up with the group Pet Lovers United as One (PLUTO) to co-sponsor a pet adoption fair at the festival.
One of the highlights of the festival took place at 3 p.m. in front of Rocco’s Pizzeria at 7818 Fifth Ave., where a pizza eating contest took place.