Bay Ridge prepares for milestone 50th anniversary of Third Avenue Festival

third avenue festival
The beloved Third Avenue Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Oct. 1.
File photo by Jon Farina

The Third Avenue Festival, the fan-favorite street celebration in Bay Ridge, will celebrate 50 years in the neighborhood on Oct. 1. with its traditional massive 25-block bash full of music, games, and vendors.

The yearly event hosted by Merchants of Third Avenue, a civic organization dedicated to boosting Bay Ridge businesses, runs completely off community support and volunteers, according to Dan Texeira, president of MOTA.

“We are proud that we have been able to serve the Bay Ridge community over the last 50 years,” he told Brooklyn Paper. “We look forward to the next 50 years.” 

The avenue will be studded with stages and performances from 17 different bands, plus food stands with classic festival food like zeppoles and sausages and carnival rides for little ones. 

carnival at third avenue festival
Stretched along 25 blocks of Third Avenue, the festival will feature music, food, and carnival rides. File photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Chip Cafiero, an event manager who has been participating in the festival for 46 years, said the best part of the bash is being able to bring the whole neighborhood together, and getting the local shops some new customers.

“The most exciting factor is just people coming out and having a good time and celebrating the 50 years,” Cafiero said. “That’s what makes this festival different from other festivals because it’s very community-oriented, it’s very family-oriented.”

Cafiero, a self-proclaimed community activist, said it’s a “big job” to keep the festival alive — but a job he considers necessary to keep local shops running. A former business owner, he said the Third Avenue Festival every October used to give his leather shop a financial boost that carried it until Christmas. 

man making food at third avenue festival in bay ridge
Local vendors will serve up classic fair food. File photo by Jon Farina

“It gives them the boost they need and they make a lot of money. They should be able to turn that money over through the holidays,” he said. 

Last year’s festival was dampened by rain — but this year’s celebration is set to be sunny and warm. 

The festival is put on with the help of many partners including Maimonides Health and Council Member Justin Brannan, who represents the district.

people dancing at third avenue festival
The festival brings the whole neighborhood together to celebrate. File photo by Arthur de Gaeta

As a kid growing up in Bay Ridge, we used to count the days until the Third Avenue Festival came – 50 years later, I still get excited for it but now I have a whole new appreciation for just how much work goes on behind the scenes to make an event like this happen year after year,” Brannan said in a statement. “It’s always a great day in Bay Ridge.”

The festival will take place on Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Third Avenue from 69th to 94th streets. Admission is free.