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Flatbush street fair celebrates 40th year • Brooklyn Paper

Flatbush street fair celebrates 40th year

Cheers: Junior Santiago and Jennifer Nieves took a break from Sunday’s frolicking fun on Cortelyou Road to enjoy some food and drinks.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

They had a frolicking good time!

The 40th-annual Flatbush Frolic, a food-and-fun-filled street fair on Cortelyou Road between Ocean and Coney Island avenues, brought the neighborhood together on Sept. 20 for a day of grub, games, live music, and competitive eating. And one frolicker said it was a great way to bring the whole community out into the streets.

“I saw a lot of people I know around,” said Ricardo Durand, who chowed down at the fair’s pizza-eating contest. “Everybody was coming together and everything went smoothly.”

Durand managed to shovel in four or five slices at San Remo Pizza’s competition, but he was not fast enough to beat out the ravenous Matt Varone, who emerged victorious for the third year in a row by inhaling an entire eight-slice pie in less than 10 minutes.

But the champ said he is a reluctant pizza-scarfing hero.

“I don’t ever want to enter the pizza-eating competition,” said Varone, a custodian at a neighborhood school. “I get roped in.”

Varone said he tried to dodge the nausea-inducing contest like he does every year, but his notoriety as reigning pizza champ pulled him back in, as friends and fellow fairgoers insisted he had to defend his crown. And once Varone finally relented, he figured he might as well give it his best shot.

“If I’m going to be entering it, I might as well be in it to win it,” he said. “I’m not just going to eat a couple of slices — I can do that on any given day.”

Attendees not stuffing their faces for a $50 pizzeria gift card enjoyed live music and dance performances on the main stage, a beer garden, and some friendly chess competition with whiz kids from PS 139.

And a kids-only section kept the little ones entertained with a gaggle of clowns, balloon animals, sing-a-longs, and arts and crafts.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

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