Smith Street bustled with handcrafters, independent designers, renowned restaurateurs, eclectic artisans, and an estimated 50,000 frolickers on June 22 during the annual ‘Funday Sunday’.
The eight-block-long extravaganza ran from Bergen to Union streets along Brooklyn’s famed restaurant row, which bisects Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Boerum Hill. Fish lovers went up against each other in a pickled herring-eating contest with grub supplied by Shelsky’s Smoked Fish. Meanwhile, booze lovers got their drink on at neighborhood pubs like Ceol and Angry Wades, both of which provided live music.
More than 50 local businesses participated in the summertime event, which highlights all that Smith Street has to offer and even brings in craft vendors from Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
“There are no tube socks, no t-shirts, or $2 jewelry [for sale] here,” said a laughing Bette Stoltz, director of the South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation, which sponsors the street fair. “Other festivals in the city are all kind of cookie-cutter – the same thing. Ours is much more community-minded and much more varied.”
Stoltz, the event’s organizer, said that she handpicks quality vendors to take part in the neighborhood celebration that has been going on since the early 1990s.
“I’m trying to showcase the diversity, the talent and the taste of the neighborhood,” said the Prospect Heights resident.
That means instead of sausage-and-pepper stands on every corner, throngs of hungry foodies indulged in French baked goods from Provence en Boite, classic lobster rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound’s famed food truck, and fine gourmet cheeses from Stinky Bklyn.
But Stoltz, said that the street fair, which boasted more than 200 vendors, wasn’t always the lively and bustling festival that it is today.
The street fair started long before Smith Street was the art, dining, fashion, and nightlife haven that it is today.
“It wasn’t at this level — even Smith Street wasn’t at this level,” she said. “It grew along with Smith Street.”