By Kian McKoy and Lamia Choudhury
The Sayville Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Fall Festival this past Sunday, attracting roughly two dozen vendors and over 800 bundled up attendees to shop local Sayville and Long Island fare.
Among the products offered was a pumpkin shaped bounce-house, artisanal soaps and ready to eat raviolis. The festival has been traditionally held on Saturdays but this year, it was on a Sunday.
“Today’s kinda windy but seems like a good turnout, a lot of people here,” Gloria Tatosian of Knot of This World Pretzels said.
Another vendor was Two Big Jerks Jerky, founded in 2014 by Rocky Point couple, Dana and Mike Rieger. They do not have a storefront and rely on festivals like this for exposure.
“We try to do all the fall festivals. It’s a nice community,” Dana said, “We love meeting people. It’s a fun day.”
Vendors came in all age groups at the festival. Local Boy Scout Troop 438 was present selling popcorn to festival attendees to support the military troops and to fundraise for a sleepover at the Intrepid.
“We usually get a pretty decent flow of people at the festival,” Liz Gurrone, a troop mother said.
Roxy’s Ice Cream, owned by Elaine Piotrowski, was present with hot chocolate for attendees who were braving the windy conditions. The local ice cream truck has been a fixture at the Fall Fest for the last six years. Piotrowski is on the board of the chamber of Commerce and has been a part of the Fall Fest for over 10 years.
The festival itself has been held in Sayville for over 30 years, Leslie Jantz, President of the Sayville Chamber of Commerce said, making it a community staple. To participate, vendors pay a $75 application fee which holds their spot for a chance to exhibit their wares.
“We want to have a place for family friendly events and we want to have a place for the community to come and just enjoy the town and bring business and bring foot traffic to the businesses,” Jantz said.
Existing businesses are not exempt from the festivities. The majority of the restaurants and boutiques which line the streets of Downtown Main Street are members of the Chamber of Commerce.
The location of the festival is essentially a hip-strip and owners report an influx of foot traffic around events such as the Fall Festival. Cafe Joelle, a romantic cafe, offered seasonal soups to go and hot apple cider for guests to warm up as they perused the stalls. An employee at La Tavola, a new age Italian restaurant, handed out $10 gift cards to festival goers. Sweet Gourmet, a novelty candy store, hosted the pie tasting competition.
“This is the first time I remember it being on a Sunday and it definitely brings more business…than the usual Saturday,” Kate Verbarg of Sayville Chocolatier said.
Although some years are better than others, Jantz said the festival is “imperative” to local businesses for exposure.
An entire section of their next event, Miracle on Main, is called “Small Business Saturday” and is dedicated to encourage the expected 10,000 attendees to browse local shops for gift giving ideas for the holiday season.
“It’s a huge turnout for the businesses. We get people to walk into the stores. It’s imperative to the town for them to prosper,” Jantz said.