September 18, 2010

Northport/East Northport Street Fairs

It seems that at this time of year every town on Long Island holds a street fair. Lengths of major avenues get blocked off with sawhorses so that craft vendors, food stalls, street performers, and carnival rides can safely take over the town. It is fun to walk in the middle of a road that is usually dominated by traffic and absorb the character of a neighborhood. It is always great to see and I try to go to as many as I can.

Last weekend, East Northport threw their annual street fair. Larkfield Road, from the Library to the Firehouse, had become a great block party. There were magic shows, martial arts demonstrations, and dance routines. There were stages set up every few blocks where bands would fill the afternoon air with sounds of blues and classic rock. There were local politicians strolling through the throngs of people shaking hands. There were Ferris Wheels, Funhouses, Deep-Fried Oreo Cookies, and Red-Tailed Hawks.

My favorite performance of the afternoon was the freestyle bicycling demonstration. A ramp was set up and a group of riders showed off their skills, doing various stunts and taking to the air with amazing hang time. It was very exciting to watch. I kept waiting for a big wipe-out, but it never came.

Another great feature was when the girls from the Inner Spirit Yoga Center performed their Ethnic-Fusion Dance. It was colorful, exotic, and very graceful.

Another place that is big for street fairs is Northport Village. It is a town full of quaint shops that follow Main Street down to an idyllic harbor and pier. One of Northport's landmarks is Gunther's Tap Room, the infamous haunt of Jack Kerouac. I once hosted a poetry reading there and it was a great setting with a speakeasy type of feel. Another renowned Northport hangout is the Sweet Shop. They've been making homemade candy and ice cream for years. The decor hasn't changed with time and it still has the atmosphere of an old-fashioned malt shop. Northport is also home to the John W. Engeman Theater.

In 2009, Northport Village held a street fair every Tuesday evening during the month of August. The entire town was roped off and had turned into a great block party--live music, food, classic cars, balloon artists, even SpongeBob SquarePants showed up! LOL!

Northport is a place that has always had a patriotic American hometown sort of feel. Every summer they hold a Fireman's Parade. I always love to hear the marching bagpipe and drum bands. The bagpipe has such a great tone and there is something about so many drums playing in unison that is absolutely awe-inspiring. There's nothing quite like watching a procession of fire engines cruising down the main street of your town, lights flashing, sirens wailing. It is amazing when the Hook & Ladder trucks blow their horns. It is such a deep, powerful sound that just makes the earth tremble. Of course, the drivers always play it up for the crowds of people lining the streets and put on a good, loud show.

For several nights after the parade, the firehouse throws a great carnival. The last time I went to the fireman's carnival, I happened to find a kindred spirit. LOL!

"The one who sows to please his sinful nature,
from that nature will reap destruction;
the one who sows to please the Spirit,
from the Spirit will reap eternal life."

~Galatians 6:8