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The 14th Annual Fifth Avenue Festival in Sunset Park

Community members and merchants team up for day of fun

The Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

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Milking it: Six-year-old Ashley Liao of Sunset Park sips from a coconut at the Fifth Avenue Festival on Sept. 15.
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Under her umbrella: Faith McGinnis enjoys a tropical drink on the street.
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Pining: Katie Micros and Josh Gardner of Sunset Park share a fruity drink.
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Day of the dead: Noel Cruz came to the festivities in a eerie costume.
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Half ‘n’ half: Emanuel Pena and Jaiden Vazquez got mirror-image face paintings at the event.
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Flag fun: Little Sofia Miranda waves the colors of Mexico.
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Climbing: Samantha Contreras tries her luck on a rope ladder.

The Fifth Avenue Festival filled the corridor between 59th and 44th streets with families, food, and fun for the 14th year in a row on Sept. 15.

Stores, restaurants, dancers, and performers put their best out on display along the thoroughfare, creating a rich mix of the neighborhood’s Hispanic and Asian-American cultures. Kids enjoyed free rides and games, courtesy of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District — the local merchant group that organized the event.

“It’s the business community giving back to their customers, letting them have a good time,” said Renee Giordano, the group’s executive director. “We just like to throw a party for everyone.”

Giordano said she set up the event with the help of her staff and Bay Ridge’s beloved Chip “Festival Guy” Cafiero. The business leader said the event differs from other street fairs across the city because it is a project of neighborhood residents and retailers, not an outside company.

“This is a festival that is created and hosted by the businesses that are there,” said Giordano.

Even the Zumba dancers, Chinese drummers, and Mexican musicians who went on stages at 44th and 54th streets were Sunset Park residents.

“We like to have all local entertaine­rs,” said Giordano. “Just about everyone who works on this gives it a little bit extra because they are from the community.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him attwitter.com/WillBredderman.
Updated 10:15 pm, July 9, 2018
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