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‘Dampened by the rain’: Atlantic Antic draws few crowds due to weather

Dancers perform in the rain during the Atlantic Antic festival on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.
Dancers perform in the rain during the Atlantic Antic street fair on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Despite it being one of Brooklyn’s biggest and most beloved street fairs, this year’s Atlantic Antic was more of a washout due to heavy rain.

As organizers planned for the big weekend, they left it up to vendors and performance to decide whether or not they would still set up for festival-goers, according to Howard Kolins, acting executive director of the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation (AALDC).

Ultimately, some of the day’s scheduled entertainment chose to cancel, leaving the Antic without its usual bouncy houses, pony rides and marching bands. Little Amal — a 12-foot tall puppet depicting a 10-year-old Syrian refugee — was also unable to make her visit to the Antic.

Festival attendees check out jewelry and crystals in the Earth's Energy Gems booth.
Festival-goers stroll down Atlantic Avenue in the rain during the 47th annual Atlantic Antic.Photo by Caroline Ourso

Still, Kolins said, there were some dedicated attendees and acts, like the circus performers and belly dancers, who reimagined their sets to be rain-friendly.

“Everyone was trying to do the best they can,” he said.

Still, Kolins estimated that this year’s turnout was about a quarter of what AALDC — the group that puts on the Atlantic Antic each year — normally sees.

“In the 47 years of the Antic it’s only rained one other time but never like this,” he told Brooklyn Paper. “Unlike a lot of other street fairs, we wanted to celebrate Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn [and] the entire city and that was certainly, pun intended, dampened by the rain.”

Festival goers stroll down Atlantic Avenue in the rain during the Atlantic Antic festival on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022.
Festival attendees check out jewelry and crystals in the Earth’s Energy Gems booth.Photo by Caroline Ourso

Kolins said his corporation relies heavily on participating merchants to make the festival exciting, and that this year, they were ones who suffered due to the low attendance. To help, AALDC allowed those who did brave the storm to stay open as long as possible to make some sales.

The group is currently in talks with other city agencies to see if participants can receive any refunds or reimbursements, Kolins said.

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