Coney Islanders get creative while keeping boardwalk clean at annual ‘Barrels of Fun’ event

A dog’s barrel: Scott and Joy Kessler painted a barrel in honor of their canine, Bernie, at the annual Barrels of Fun painting event at Coney Island on May 5.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

They turned these trash barrels into treasures.

More than 450 amateur artists converged on Coney Island on May 5 to paint 150 trash barrels and compete for prizes in the annual Riegelmann Boardwalk Barrels of Fun contest.

The event, co-sponsored by the Parks Department and the Alliance for Coney Island, encouraged families to get creative while keeping the boardwalk clean for the summer season, according to the parks agency’s borough commissioner.

“Brooklyn Barrels of Fun is a family-friendly way for New Yorkers to express themselves artistically,” said Marty Maher. “And it serves as a reminder to beachgoers to keep the beaches and Boardwalk clean and litter free.”

The top artists in three categories — families, students, and adults — won tickets to Deno’s Wonder Wheel, Luna Park, the New York Aquarium, and Cyclones games, according to a parks rep.

One couple brought their Cairn terrier Bernie, whose chill demeanor helped him sit still long enough for his owners to paint his likeness on a barrel.

“It was a great event,” said Scott Kessler, who attended with his partner, Joy. “I’ve drawn [Bernie] many times — he’s very calm and laid-back.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.