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Smith Street ‘Funday Sunday’ will honor late local legend Bette Stoltz

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Break out the sunscreen and get your merry on.

South Brooklyn is the hottest ticket in town for pleasure punters, with a pair of street spectacles — one with a Big Easy-style parade — that will put summer in your step, turn couch yams into outdoor hams, and celebrate an activist who helped pioneer the neighborhood’s urban renewal success story.

Smith Street’s Sunday Funday Street Fair on June 26, and Bastille Day Celebration and Petanque Tournament on July 10 — New York institutions of food, fun, festivity, and sport — will honor late South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation founder and longtime executive director Bette Stoltz, who created the dual jamborees as part of her enduring legacy for the storied, French-flavored strip she fondly called the “Little Street That Could.”

Stoltz, a feisty community activist who famously showed up on your doorstep if you didn’t return her phone calls, would be thrilled to learn that a New Orleans-type second line procession — complete with a brass band and gussied up marchers trumpeting her memory — will crown Sunday Funday, her group’s signature event, said her daughter.

“It was my mother’s brainchild, and the most outstanding and publicly recognized effort of her non-profit organizati­on,” said Erica Stoltz, the group’s interim executive director. “I think she will be beaming in spirit, and very proud.”

Sunday Funday will showcase the best food, drink, crafts, and clothes on Smith Street, along an eight-block stretch from Bergen to Union streets, organizers say.

Bastille Day, between Bergen and Dean streets, will mark the 227th anniversary of the French Revolution with a rouge, blanc, and bleu tribute to the folk who gave us liberty, fraternity, and Bernaise sauce, while saluting the area’s large ex-patriot community with all things French, including fantastique fare from local restaurants, and more than 10 petanque courts for competitors to square off in the game closest to Gaul hearts.

Around 20,000 revelers turned out for last year’s Bastille jollities that featured the biggest petanque tournament in the world outside of France, said organizers.

Mon dieu! Good sports are already gearing up.

“I’m getting ready to win, even though my ass gets whooped every year,” said Coney Island petanque hopeful John Gonzalez, who plans to make his annual pilgrimage to Brownstone Brooklyn — rain or shine — to try his luck in the French equivalent of bocce.

Smith Street Sunday Funday Street Fair [Smith Street, between Bergen and Union streets, in Carroll Gardens, (718) 852–0328, www.smithstreetbk.com] on June 26, noon to 6 pm.

Bastille Day Celebration and Petanque Tournament [Smith Street, between Bergen and Dean streets, in Carroll Gardens, (718) 852–0328] on July 10, all day.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

JQjr from the Neighborhood says:
Bette was a true activist for anything that was right - people, businesses and the environment alike.

Whether it was fighting for the industrial businesses and all the jobs they provided for local people and their families, to restoring Smith St back to its hay days, to cleaning up the infamous Gowanus Canal for which if it wasn't for Bette getting it Superfunded, our NYC.gov would have continued to dump in it as they've done since they constructed the combined storm/sewer over flow to flow into it.

Thank you Bette for all you've done, and even more special for being our friend in the process.
June 7, 2016, 10:43 am
Larry from Smith St area says:
So glad that this is happening, that Bette's spirit is living on in the community! Thanks to all who have taken up the reins here.

And yes, Bette fought for the Gowanus Superfund and also Gowanus Businesses. She is probably pulling for a good EPA decision that does not allow for displacing Eastern Effects or the other commercial development planned for the land the city wants to take away from Business along the canal.
June 9, 2016, 1:29 pm

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