Bay Shore’s Arts by the Bay festival is nearing 20 years on Main Street.
The 19th annual fest is all set for Sunday, June 9.
Much has changed since the inaugural festival, said Donna Periconi, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Bay Shore, which founded Arts by the Bay.
“When we started in 2001 we had one restaurant that had just recently opened on Main Street, it was Milk & Sugar, and we had empty storefronts,” she recalled.
Today, Bay Shore is widely regarded as among the best downtown dining destinations on Long Island.
“During these 19 years, so many crowds of people have come to see the improvements and the positive changes in Bay Shore,” Periconi said.
Arts by the Bay now typically attracts between 15,000 and 20,000 people each year, she said. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
IF YOU GO
Main Street, from Smith Avenue to Shore Lane, will be closed to vehicle traffic starting at 8 a.m. to make way for the artists and vendors. The Town of Islip’s parking meters in downtown Bay Shore will likely be suspended that Sunday as well.
There’s a huge musical component to Arts Fest as well. Each year’s event features bands, orchestras and choirs from the Bay Shore middle and high schools.
Regional acts include Sweet Adelines, Babylon Chorale, Hibernian Festival Singers and the First Baptist Church of Bay Shore Choir. The groups perform at the Main Street Bandshell. Rock acts perform elsewhere on the street.
“It’s one of the high points of summer in Long Island,” Periconi said. “People come from all over to hear music starting at 10 a.m. at the bandshell and then at 2 p.m. we start the choirs,”
There’s also face painting, a petting zoo and pony rides for the kids.
The 2019 installment will once again be graced with a special appearance by the historic Oyster Sloop Priscilla, courtesy of the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville.
“Bay Shore represents what Long Island is all about,” said Periconi. “Our emphasis is on the water, on our children, on everything that’s good and positive. And it’s a chance to say hello your neighbors; it’s very special.”
Arts by the Bay 2018 photos: