On Saturday, September 14, the McLean Avenue Merchants Association (M.A.M.A.) celebrated its third annual Fall Festival with a vast array of food, drink and entertainment. The event attracted approximately 20,000 visitors, and sought to market small businesses that operate along a popular thoroughfare in Yonkers, New York.
Approximately 85 curbside tents and tables lined the street, from Woodlawn Ave. to McCollum Place. Businesses – such as Anna’s Attic, Bronx Clothing Company, Celtic Craftworks, Dee’s Deli, Emerald Pharmacy, Gavin’s Irish Barber Shop, H.D. Realty, Maggie’s Jewelry Box, Tombolino’s Ristorante and Yonkers Brewing Company – showcased a wide variety of goods and services.
Organizations, such as Friends of Rob Astorino, N.Y.P.D. Gaelic Football Club, and the Woodlean Boys and Girls Club, also appeared at the festival.
Brenda Ryan, an Irish-American mother-of-four, said, “There’s something for everyone, no matter the age. The festival has things for the young kids, the 20-somethings and the older people – like the traditional Irish music.”
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 – performed at the event.
Several bands entertained at one of the event’s four stages, including: 2U, Celtic Justice, David Barkow, the McLean Avenue Band and the Vintage Kings.
Ralph Puma, singer for Stop the City, described the festival as “extremely energetic. Everything was spread out nicely ... I think everyone here had a great time. Our band had a nice set. We played about 45 minutes, with a few covers but mostly original songs near Bronkers [Tap House].”
The event hosted various competitions, games, raffles and rides. The Irish sausage eating competition, at The Butcher’s Fancy, and the cannoli eating competition, at Artuso’s Pastry Shop, drew large crowds.
A Ferris wheel and two bouncy castles, in addition to games offered by St. Barnabas Parish’s street fair, contributed to the family-friendly atmosphere.
"I went on the screamer ride four times with my friends, Julianna and Sean," said Judey Tallon DaRos.
Her grandmother, Eileen Tallon, said, "I was down here at 11:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. with my friend, Mary ... It was great meeting all the people that moved away from the neighborhood and came back for the day."
"And the music was amazing, especially the McLean Avenue Band. They had people dancing in the middle of the street."
Vehicular traffic was barred throughout the festival, which lasted from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., allowing visitors to peruse freely local bars, restaurants and shops.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore