Flatbush Frolic brings crowd, businesses to Cortelyou

Yum!: Petra Viola is enjoying her ice cream at the Flatbush Frolic on Cortelyou Road in Ditmas Park.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The Flatbush Frolic is back to its glory days, participants and organizers of this year’s event said.

The food and fun-filled street fair, which extended down Cortelyou Road from Coney Island Avenue to E. 19th Street on Sunday, was the liveliest it’d been in years.

“I thought it was much better this year than the last few years,” said Matthew Varon, 24, a Flatbush native who won the pizza-eating contest sponsored by San Remo Pizzeria after scarfing 12 slices in 15 minutes. “When I was a kid the Flatbush Frolic was something to look forward to, but the last few years it’s been dead. This year it was great.”

The festival, which provides a mix of food vendors, contests, and live music along the stretch of the popular Ditmas Park commercial strip, was a bit more lively this year after the sponsoring neighborhood group — the Flatbush Development Corporation — paired with a street fair producer to put on the festival, providing a good mix of booths from local businesses and standard street fair fare like fried zeppoles and sausages.

“Anyone can go to a street fair around Brooklyn, but we wanted to make it a more memorable experience,” said Robin Redmond, the director of the corporation. “Because we didn’t have to take all the vendors, it opened our capacity more as an organization to work with businesses on the block and have events like the pizza-eating contest.”

Local businesses who participated in the event included Sycamore Bar and Flowershop, which set up a beer garden on the street, The Farm on Adderley, R&R Meat Market, and Grace EyeCare.

All the musicians who played were from Flatbush, said Redmond.

But even the businesses that weren’t based in the area were a big hit, residents said.

“The enormous bouncy house was a hit, but the fish was the best part,” said Jennifer Levy, who’s 7-year-old son Jesse won a goldfish from a vendor selling fish and lizards at the festival. “We were all very excited.”

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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