BayFest overflows: Sheepshead Bay swells with visitors for annual fair

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Photo gallery

Faked potato: The Famous Idaho Potato Truck — which sports a giant replica of Idaho’s major export — passed through BayFest to draw attention to local Bay area restaurants giving away free samples.
Food inspector: Michael Taylor takes a closer look at the giant spud that rolled through BayFest.
Safety first: Michelle Li tries on a hat she got from the New York City Fire Department, which was giving safety demonstrations during the festival.
Flipping out: Aviator Sports and Events Center put on a gymnastics show.
Fab faux: Beatles tribute band Strawberry Fields played a two-hour set of songs made famous by the lads from Liverpool.
Singing in the sunshine: Jacqueline Duryea of party band East Coast belts out a tune for the crowds.
Raise the masthead: Jerry Sonnal and Richie Hernandez hold up a copy of their favorite newspaper — the Bay News.
Skipper and crew: Bay Improvement Group president Steve Barrison hangs out with some of the Navy’s best during BayFest.

Sheepshead Bay’s flagship street fair drew huge crowds over the weekend.

Thousands of Brooklynites descended upon Emmons Avenue for the Bay Improvement Group’s annual BayFest. The free event featured live music, kids’ activities, and samples of local food, as well as information about disaster recovery. Attendees said the occasion was an important day for communities still reeling from Hurricane Sandy a year and a half after the storm.

“It really was like a sea of people on Emmons Avenue,” said Michael Taylor of Gerritsen Beach. “It was nice to see something other than water flooding the avenue.”

The weather proved better than last year, when crowds had to brave a bit of rain, attendees said.

For the first time, organizers allowed restaurants to set up tables and give away free samples. To draw attention to the local fare, BayFest organizers brought in a special guest — a travelling truck loaded with six-ton replica of an Idaho potato. Local eateries offered up some samples of potato-based dishes to keep with the tater theme, and potato pies from Georgian restaurant Apani were a big hit, folks said.

“My step daughter loved them,” said Taylor.

A variety of live music added to the fun, too, delighting local fans.

Artists included indie-pop singer Darnaa, Michael Lynch of American Idol fame, and Brooklyn’s Adriana Louise, who appeared on TV’s “The Voice.” But festival-goers said the Fab Four impressionists in Strawberry Fields stole the show.

“The Beatles tribute was fantastic,” said Steve Croteau. “When they played ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ — it was great.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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