One hot fair
Shoppers perused the aisles of vendors


One hot fair


WEST ISLIP—Mother Nature turned up the heat this year just in time for the much- anticipated West Islip Country Fair. The event, with over 300 vendors, is considered one of the largest on Long Island and draws record crowds every year. 

Maria Pecorale has been with the fair since its inception. The idea, which evolved through the West Islip Bicentennial Committee, has long experienced success. However, Pecorale felt the heat kept some fairgoers away, believing the turnout was slightly lower than last year. After the event, she said, “It was blistering hot. That might have affected the turnout.”

Weather has only been a problem a couple of times in the fair’s 42-year history. In 1985, Hurricane Gloria postponed the event one day (from Saturday to Sunday) and a rain date was used a couple of years ago.

At the event, as temperatures inched close to 90 degrees, the food court was kept busy selling traditional fare and lots of water, soda and smoothies to keep everyone well-hydrated. 

Marie Rizzi of West Islip and her daughter, Michelle Lepsis, and grandson, Ethan Lepsis, 7, found a shady spot under a large oak tree to have lunch. “This is really hot,” said Rizzi as she took a drink of water.

The Gliamas family of West Islip has been coming to the fair every year for the past five years. “This might be the hottest year,” noted Stephanie Gliamas, who said she attends for the food, children’s activities and “to just browse the aisles.” 

Vendor Kathy Hinck of Farmingville had a perfect spot under an arboreal canopy to showcase her autumn-themed pillows and dried flower wreaths.

“I got the shadiest spot,” Hinck said. “It’s so comfortable here under this beautiful tree.” And apparently, many of the fairgoers liked it as well, because she said sales were good that day. “It’s very nice here, it’s a very nice crowd.”

Pecorale said that despite seemingly lower numbers, most of the vendors were happy with the sales that day.

“One vendor left by 11:30 a.m. because he sold out of everything. He wants two booths next year,” she added.

And yes, the fair committee will soon begin planning for the 43rd annual event in 2018, hoping for more seasonable, cooler weather.

“We were all exhausted from the heat at the end of the day,” Pecorale said.

“I think I drank more water that day than I did all week.”