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Fair and Festival Season is Coming to Town

Things that are worth the five hour drive from the city to Syracuse are few and far between.  Still, a lot of families, car fanatics and horse lovers drive much farther than that to attend the many illustrious events of the New York State Fair every year for Labor Day weekend.  With crowds that can reach anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 people, you don’t have to be Nancy Drew to deduce how or why it’s one of the largest state fairs in the country.

The NYS Fair has a ton of events that are so entrancingly magical, thoroughly thrilling and even conscientiously educational enough to satisfy that “well-rounded” requirement – that they justify the four-and-a-half-hour trip. If you missed it this year, definitely consider scheduling it in next year.  It’s pretty impossible not to have a good time.

But not to fear, there are still plenty of other upcoming events that you don’t have to drive five hours for!  And now is a great time to do a little bit of festival-hopping, because, although compared to the NYS Fair, they are much smaller, there are countless autumn, harvest and Halloween-related events.  So grab your jackets and shoes and check out one or more the following upcoming festivals or events.

Photo by San Gennaro.org

Photo by San Gennaro.org

This 11 day Italian celebration in Little Italy – with concentration primarily on Mulberry St, of course features hundreds of Italian and international food vendors, pasta and pizza and cannoli eating competitions, musical entertainment, parades and more.  The main day of the Feast is on Sept. 19, when a special mass is held in Most Precious Blood Church, followed by an inspiring procession.  This event is especially meaningful for Italian-descent and/or Catholic families.

As most of those in NYC know, Broadway (and plenty of other main avenues and streets) frequently has one-day street fairs, where at least ten blocks of street are swamped by merchandise and food vendors.  Even if you don’t know about them beforehand, if you do any amount of walking around NYC on a Saturday or Sunday throughout the year, you’ll inevitably suddenly find yourself in a mob of kabob stands and art vendors.  But, it does help to know when some of the more popular ones are scheduled.

Sun, Sept. 28: Upper Broadway Harvest Festival, 96-106 streets, 11-5 p.m.

Sat, Oct. 11: Upper Broadway Fall Festival, 11-5 p.m.

Sun. Oct 19: Broadway Fall Festival, 86–96 streets, 11-5 p.m.

Sat. Oct. 25: Americana Jazz Festival, 52nd st/5th-7th Ave. 11-5 p.m.

  • Halloween Events and Attractions:
Photo by Cherrywood Neighborhood

Photo by Cherrywood Neighborhood

This features the milder side of Halloween suitable for young children, such as a place to show up in costume, play games, visit the haunted house, pony rides and petting zoos.

  • Village Halloween Parade, Oct 31, parade begins at 7 p.m. on 6th Ave from Spring St. to 16th st, and for all those in the costume, line-up starts at 6:30 p.m.

In my opinion, if you’ve never experienced the Village Halloween Parade, you should, at least once.  It’s generally kid-friendly, although you will likely see some pretty extreme, avante garde costumes. But you’re allowed to stare – even encouraged to stare.

Photo by Vic Bess

Photo by Vic Bess

For me, anyway, this particular Halloween event feels like a well-shared “secret” parade.  Despite the fact that 6th Ave. is packed between Spring and 16th on Halloween, perhaps because it’s between East and West village, and therefore sort of tucked away and secured on both sides, or maybe because it doesn’t have the typical pomp and circumstance of NYC parades – or both – its kinda feels like a very massive, yet secret Halloween party, rather than a parade. An enormous, secret, fascinating, spellbinding Halloween party.  Like a typical parade, though, you will see plenty of street performers, dancers, performance artists and more than a few unfettered, uninhibited weirdos – but it’s okay, because it’s Halloween.

These are just a handful of upcoming events and festivals to occupy and entertain your family throughout September and October, but there will be plenty of others around the corner.

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