It was a day to party outside of the First Baptist Church in Bay Shore.
And given the size of the two tents that were set up — visible from Sunrise Highway — you knew this was a rain or shine event.
But Under the Big Tent, the third annual, is more than just having fun.
Mary (Holmes) Reid, a 1954 Bay Shore High School graduate and a First Baptist Church member, said it’s about bringing people of different backgrounds together, and working together, toward the goal of a special day.
“And what’s so important is that it’s on the church grounds,” she noted. “And what that says, is that you can come to the church and have fun, too.”
Under the Big Tent is run jointly by Great South Bay YMCA and church volunteers in the church parking lot off Second Avenue near the high school.
Shunda Clark, the wife of Pastor Daris Dixon-Clark, said the church is always looking to be involved in community events.
“That’s why we enjoy the partnership of Northwell Health and our other [sponsors] to be able to provide a day like this for the community,” she said.
That day included free food, crafts and books, circus-style performers, rock-climbing and shows from a packed lineup of singers and dancers. It was capped off by a breakdance clinic for kids, put on by the crowd favorite Bay Shore Dancers.
For the high school dancers, Under the Big Tent has become one of their main events for showing off their hard work and talent outside of the schools.
“This showcases what we do, and hopefully gets people interested,” said 17-year-old Juan Rivera, an incoming senior who, along with recent graduate Joy Norris, also 17, helped choreograph the day’s dance routines.
Joy is heading to the University of Rhode Island in the fall, where she’s hoping to continue dancing while also pursuing a chemical engineering degree.
“We’ll see if I have any time for dance,” she said.