An anniversary fair
Nancy Donohue, one of the event’s founders, sells balloons for the West Islip Symphony Orchestra.


An anniversary fair


WEST ISLIP—It started off as a fun activity to recognize the bicentennial of the United States. But after 40 years, the West Islip Country Fair continues to prevail to the delight of festivalgoers from near and far that turned out for this year’s event last Sunday. The event’s longevity has many of the organizers amazed. “We never thought it would go 40 years,” said Maria Pecorale, one of the founders of the fair.

The fairground behind the West Islip Public Library was teeming with excitement this year. Every year, fine musical entertainment has been a part of the event. But in honor of the 40-year milestone, the fair committee arranged for a special vaudeville show by Sal St. George Productions. The troop took the stage and acted out the history of West Islip, telling the story of how the event came to pass. There were also performances from the local karate school and the kid-oriented musical group Soul Shine Club. A number of not-for-profit organizations set up informational booths as well.

 However, the more popular activity at the fair was shopping. There were 300 vendors at the event selling everything form handmade jewelry, original artwork, seasonal crafts, candles, spices, knit scarves and hats, clothing for children, adults and pets, quilts and floral arrangements; and, as always, there was a nice variety of fair fare—from hot dogs to soft-serve ice cream.

Ann Lang of West Islip said she attends every year “to shop for decorations, jewelry and for the food. I also like that it’s so close by,” she added.

Nancy Donohue, who was also a member of the founding committee, said that the fair has helped to unite the community.

That’s something that lifelong West Islip resident Barbara Morrissey Marquez agrees with, since she’s sure to see some of her friends and neighbors as well as people she doesn’t get to see as often, likening the event to somewhat of a reunion.

“I come back here every year because it brings back nice memories and I would like my kids to have [the same experience],” she said.

Pecorale said that the fair is a major undertaking for the committee of about 14 people, and most of them have been involved since the very beginning. “It’s a life sentence,” she facetiously remarked. She added, “We’re always looking for new volunteers.”

Anyone interested in joining the committee should go to