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An artists impression of the Irish in Woodlawn celebrating St Patrick's day Photo by: wirednewyork.com

Irish community in Woodlawn prepare for 3rd annual McLean Avenue Festival

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An artists impression of the Irish in Woodlawn celebrating St Patrick's day Photo by: wirednewyork.com

The McLean Avenue Merchants Association (M.A.M.A.) has announced plans to hold its third annual Fall Festival on Saturday, September 14. The family-friendly event takes place on Yonkers’ McLean Ave., between Woodlawn Avenue and McCollum Place.

The festival wishes to build on the success of the last two years by offering a wider variety of food, drinks and entertainment. It hosts various raffles, rides, games and competitions. The event also features live musical performances by 2U, Celtic Justice, David Barkow, the McLean Avenue Band, the Vintage Kings and a Frank Sinatra impersonator.

Three Irish music schools – the Anne Marie Acosta School of Music, the Erin Loughran School of Music, and the Woodlawn School of Music – and three Irish dance schools – the Bridget Flynn School of Irish Dance, the Deirdre O’Mara School of Irish Dance, and the Megan McGough School of Irish Dance – also will appear.

R.J. Puma, chairman of M.A.M.A. and proprietor of Artuso’s Pastry Shop, says: “This year we’ve extended it down a little further, including three new bars and restaurants . . . we’ve extended the event one extra hour. We have more rides, more games, more bouncy castles, more concessions and we’re going to have more fun.”

A “Rock ‘n’ Rods” classic car show, scheduled to appear at Coyne Park, headlines a list of new attractions for the event.

Vehicular traffic will be barred throughout the festival, allowing attendees to peruse freely local bars, restaurants and shops. Curbside tents and tables, located on both sides of McLean Ave., afford vendors an opportunity to showcase goods and services.

Steve Janetti, member of M.A.M.A. and editor of the Yonkers Value Guide, believes that “in three years, the McLean Avenue Merchants Association’s fall festival has become Yonkers’ signature event, with a good time to be had by all.”

Oliver Charles, proprietor of The Butcher’s Fancy, says, “People who once lived in this neighborhood and have moved away, who very seldom meet up with the neighbors that they used to live next to – it’s a chance for them to get to meet [the neighbors] and talk about the old days.”

With regards to his business’ popular Irish sausage eating competition, he adds that “Bubba ‘Chow Hound’ Brown will be defending his title.” Last year, Brown ate approximately three pounds of Irish sausage in five minutes.

An additional cannoli eating competition will feature outside Artuso’s Pastry Shop. 

Excitement for the festival seems genuine and pervasive among many attendees, including Anne Marie Acosta. Her music school will perform at the McCollum Stage.

She says, “I think it’s fabulous. It’s a great chance to see people from the neighborhood. And I like that my students won’t feel as though they need to perform against others that day. Really, it’s just an opportunity to have some fun.”

Nearby Empire City Casino, located on Yonkers Ave., offers free parking to anyone who wishes to visit the festival. Shuttles will provide transportation to attendees from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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