Since its inception about 20 years ago the annual Mineola spring fair has been held in . However, it “really served no purpose as far as the chamber was concerned because there are no Mineola businesses there or hardly any – mostly craft vendors,” owner Tony Lubrano said during last Wednesday’s meeting of the .
Together with owner Steve Ford and President Ray Sikorski, also the owner of Origin Press, Lubrano came to formally present a proposal to to the downtown area.
“It’s part of the village’s vision of a revitalized downtown,” Lubrano said about the proposed move.
“Over the years, I guess to declining business activity, and just the fact that the event was getting a bit tired, we have ,” Sikorski said, placing an outline of the proposed area where the fair would be held on an easel.
The chamber has proposed cordoning off two main areas: Main street from First Street to Front Street, Second Street from Mineola Boulevard to the new parking lot midway between Main Street and Willis Avenue and a two block area of Mineola Boulevard from Harrison Avenue to the North side of Second Street across from the bridge over the railroad tracks.
“The business community needs a boost,” Ford said. “Rather than bring (people) to Memorial Park, if we could bring these people to (businesses) front doors, I think it would make an impact.”
Traffic coming north over the railroad bridge would be able to make a left turn and go left onto Second Street towards . South bound traffic on Mineola Boulevard would have to make a turn on Harrison Avenue to avoid the area.
With regard to the bus stops in the downtown area, Ford said that he had contacted the Long Island Bus, who would be able to bypass and reroute its fleet around the fair once it receives notification.
“They told me that they work with communities, with fairs all the time and once we have a secure date and time frame, I need to call this representative back and they’ll send me the appropriate paperwork to reschedule the buses around those bus stops,” Ford said.
Sikorski said that he felt “very strongly” about the move because of the success of the downtown fair in 2009 on Main Street and Second Street. Both Lubrao and Ford stated that they were “pleasantly surprised” at the response from local businesses in the area.
“A couple of years ago we tried to do this event on Main Street – the response was pretty much cold,” Lubrano said.
The chamber is currently proposing to hold the fair on Sunday, Sept. 25, and is looking to include bouncy rides for children as well as entertainment as well as a car show, possibly in the Citibank parking lot, though they are “open” as to a final location.
“The fair being on Saturday precludes the businesspeople in town who are open on Saturday from participating,” Sikorski reasoned.
A rain date could be held on October 2, which is right after the Jewish holy days and would not interfere with the Williston Park street fair. Sikorski said that responses to rain dates were “somewhat flat” in the past but they would “have to discuss” any such rain date.
“We need to make it clear that even though we’re hosting this... in downtown Mineola that its going to incorporate hopefully all of the businesses in Mineola, that they’ll be spots for them where they can hand out whatever they’re going to hand out and participate actively and make this event the success that it should be,” said.
Once a date is confirmed, Lubrano and Ford said they plan to walk the different sections of the village informing the merchants about the opportunity to participate in the street fair and have a table set up.
“If you go to someone’s home, you knock on the door and say ‘we’re going to do this for you, this is what we’re doing’, they’re going to get involved,” Sikorski said.
No vote on the move was held and the board reserved a vote on the decision for a later date.