Residents of Hampton Bays slipped on their rain boots and spent the day walking on Good Ground Road for the second annual San Gennaro Feast on Sunday.
“We love it here, there should be more festivals like this out east,” said Sandra Huggins, of Coram as she handed her 6-year-old son, William, a slice of pizza.
The Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event as a way to draw attention to local businesses during the off-season, said Rick Martel, owner of Skidmore’s Sports and an organizer of the feast.
“In the summer time we have the beaches and this time of year we really don’t have much else to pull people into to town so it gives a whole new group of people an idea of what Hampton Bays is like,” said Martel. “They get a taste of all the businesses in one place.”
The event included 110 vendors, most of which were local restaurants and clothing stores.
“It gives a nice little boost to the economy of Hampton Bays,” said Stan Glinka, president of the Hampton Bays Chamber of Commerce. “A lot of people come to this and then will go to our local restaurants at the end of the day. It’s like a domino effect, which is nice.”
The Italian feast had no shortage of spaghetti, pizza and meatballs as dozens gathered under a large tent to eat and avoid the rain.
“People have been very receptive and are coming from all over the place to come to this,” said Glinka.
In addition to Italian, Greek and Mexican food, the street fair featured an Eagles tribute band, a Motown group and Carmelo Raccuglia, the “singing pizza man” YouTube sensation perform throughout the day.
“Once people get here they stay for the whole day because they get to see everyone in town,” said Martel.
About 10,000 people passed through the festival on Saturday and Sunday for carnival rides, shopping and food.
“We tried to put together a little street fair and the idea just grew,” said Martel. “It’s trickled down from the business owners to the community organizations right down to the Cub Scouts. Everybody’s gotten on board.”
The festival included fireworks and a Fiat raffle. More than 250 people paid $100 per ticket for the car and the winner will get the chance to pick the color.
Although umbrellas were lining the streets and shoes got wet, the feast allowed many people to enjoy Italian dining, said Maureen Stutt of Hampton Bays.
“It’s good food and good friends, who cares about a little rain?”