On the heels of a hugely successful Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, the McLean Avenue Merchants Association (M.A.M.A.) has announced plans to hold its second annual Fall Festival on Saturday, September 15. The family-friendly event takes place on Yonkers’ McLean Ave, in between St. Barnabas Place and Harding Ave, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The festival wishes to build on the success of last year 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 Celtic Cross, the McLean Avenue Band, an Elvis Presley impersonator, a Frank Sinatra impersonator and the award-winning Pearl River (Rockland County) Under-12 Céilí Band.
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.
R.J. Puma, chairman of M.A.M.A. and proprietor of Artuso’s Pastry Shop, says: “With the amount of food establishments we have down here, not just bakers and butchers, we have tons of restaurants and bars – Chinese food, Japanese food, Thai food, we have Mexican food, sushi, Italian food, of course. We have such an array, a variety of food down on the strip. It’s almost as if we have our own little restaurant row right here in Woodlawn. So I believe that is a great draw for this area to come down and see what our neighborhood has to offer.”
Steve Janetti, vice-chairman of M.A.M.A. and editor of the Yonkers Value Guide, believes that the festival “is a unique opportunity for the residents of Yonkers to meet the small business owners that serve this community.
“It is, also, a chance for families to enjoy and share in a day of fun, food and shopping. The McLean Avenue Fall Festival is a celebration of community and commerce coming together in an exhibition of mutual appreciation.”
Excitement among the local residents seems mutual.
“It’s great for the neighborhood,” says Co. Cork native Mary McPhelim, mother of Anthony and Ryan.
“It’s wonderful to see people out and about, especially after the summer.”
Rory Dolan, co-owner of Rory Dolan’s Pub and Restaurant, believes that “the festival is an opportunity to see all the hard work that the merchants have put in. You can go and bring your family, buy some ice cream and have a great time.
“I believe that it will be bigger and better than the one we had last year. And for many people – particularly in their 40s, 50s and 60s, it’s a great chance to relive the friendly neighborhood events they may have had when they were younger.”
Angela Quinn, of Liverpool, England, agrees. She enjoys that “it caters to [my kids Calvin, Jane and Pierce]. I had such a great time last year.”
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.