A successful inaugural event
EAST ISLIP—The first annual East Islip Community Festival took place last Sunday in the older, downtown area on the western end of Main Street. The chamber of commerce-sponsored event was organized by Clearview Festivals and was by all accounts a huge success.
The chairman of the event, Steve Foray, a past chamber president, said the event is meant to highlight the hamlet.
“We want to bring the community together and also bring in foot traffic [to local businesses],” he said.
The event isn’t the first for the hamlet though, which had a street fair more than 15 years ago. However, Foray explained that it’s the first to be presented by both the community and businesses and in line with the restructuring of the chamber into the East Islip Community Chamber. The school districts, local sports clubs, historical society and the Lions Club are all involved. “We are trying to get everyone in the community working together as a team. The key word here is community,” he added.
Foray noted, however, that because of the physical layout of the hamlet, Main Street has had somewhat of an identity problem.
“It’s a drive-by community. We’re like the forgotten community,” he noted, adding that less shops and more professional businesses, banks and real estate offices have contributed to that issue. He did say that the west side of Carleton Avenue has more of a walkable presence, similar to neighboring Islip. “That’s why we decided to do the street fair there,” he said.
Main Street, from Harrison to Carleton avenues, was filled with fair-goers taking advantage of the sunny, warm weather and the 80 or so vendors that lined the street, selling everything from silver jewelry to fried pickles. A large crowd gathered around one of the performers, Nexus, a rock band comprised of local students.
“I’m surprised they haven’t done this before,” said Nick Byne of East Islip. “It’s really nice.”
“Islip and Bay Shore always has [a street fair],” said Nancy Holmes of East Islip. “This is great for families to come and support the community, and the kids are having so much fun.”
Foray said that the East Islip Community Chamber currently has approximately 60 members, and 85 percent of them are business owners. “We are trying to grow,” he added.
For more information about the organization and how to become a member, log onto the website, www.eichamber.org.
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