Today’s news:

Third Avenue Festival coming soon

On Sunday, September 28, Bay Ridge will strut its stuff at the annual Third Avenue Festival, which will take place between 69th and 94th Streets, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

One of the longest running street fairs, the Third Avenue Festival is now in its 35th year, a testimony to its perennial aura of excitement, noted Chuck Otey, the marketing director for the Merchants of Third Avenue, the group that sponsors the yearly event, which attracts as many as 300,000 or 350,000 people when the weather is balmy.

“We always go with the idea that local is best,” stressed Otey. “We’re as Bay Ridge as Bay Ridge can be. We have been here for three and a half decades, and we still have the safest and the most local festival in the city. It’s gotten so good, and we keep it the same. That’s why it stays good.”

The festival, Otey added, provides a showcase for everything that makes the strip special – particularly its charming shops and its seemingly endless array of eateries. “We’re the restaurant row of Brooklyn,” remarked Otey. “We admit that.”

While the 2007 festival was great, the 2008 event is going to be even better, predicted Chip Cafiero, the event’s organizer.

“I didn’t think it could get better than last year, but, this year, it’s going to be even more packed,” he remarked. “There’s more community involvement. A lot more merchants are coming out that never came out before. Everyone wants to put out entertainment. Everyone wants to put out food. There is going to be really diversified food along the whole avenue.”

It’s likely, too, that there will be entertainment on virtually every block, added Cafiero. “We have more bands that want to play and people that want to perform,” he noted. “I have a hard time keeping up with all of it. It is definitely going to go from the corner of 69th Street to the corner of 94th Street.”

While many details were not firmed up by press time, Cafiero said that some things had already been decided. These include a return of Jeff Samaha and his group with two performances of Smokey Joe’s Café, karaoke at the Salty Dog, performances by the Brooklyn One Theater Group at the stage in front of Blockbuster Video, at 81st Street, and stages outside Kettle Black, at 87th Street, and the Greenhouse Café, at 77th Street.

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