Amid the all the hubbub of the 22nd Merrick Fall Fest on Saturday, Tim Feldis, the fourth-generation owner of Feldis Florist in Merrick, took the event as a teaching opportunity, explaining to his daughter, Julia, the importance of connecting with customers in person.
“It’s so hard today with computers and technology to actually meet people,” said Feldis, of Rockville Centre. “This is a great way to get out and see people face to face.”
Feldis and Julia, 12, handed out single roses to fairgoers from their tent, which was decorated with various floral arrangements and wreaths.
Organized by the Merrick Chamber of Commerce, the Fall Fest attracts between 15,000 and 20,000 participants over two days, organizers said.
More than 100 vendors participated. They ranged from individual artists selling homemade crafts to larger corporations like the Disney Vacation Club and CVS.
“Events like this are what keep America alive,” said Kevin Hoffman, general manager of the Gateway Inn in Merrick and a Chamber of Commerce board member. “Towns have to do this to stay productive.”
Along with the vendors, the Fall Fest featured numerous activities for participants of all ages, including a petting zoo and live music. The Merrick and North Merrick fire departments held demonstrations, and recruiters from the U.S. Army challenged volunteers to push-up and endurance tests. Rides and games were available in the nearby Merrick Train Station parking lot.
“We came last year for the first time,” said Bellmore resident Megan Scheuerman, 32. “It’s a great way to kick off the fall and enjoy what the community has to offer.”
Gail and Steven Chandler, of Jericho, served fall-themed delicacies from their gourmet food truck, A Cake Lady on the Scene Cuisine.
A former executive chef with more than 30 years of experience, Gail Chandler left the corporate kitchen to open the food truck in 2009. This is the second year she has participated in the fest.
“The Merrick Fall Fest attracts people from far and wide, and we’re happy to be a part of it,” Gail Chandler said.
Photo: Gail and Steven Chandler, owners of A Cake Lady on the Scene Cuisine, of Jericho.