Fifth Avenue Festival in Bay Ridge

Zeppoles, car clubs, pizza and more at Fifth Avenue Festival

Brooklyn Daily
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Photo gallery

Braced: Kelly Chan tries out the rides.
Hello kiddie: Six-year-old Lola Coleman cuddles a prize she won.
Song of the South: Local band Head and South blasts some classic tunes from below the Mason-Dixon Line.
Pie face: James McDonald crammed down 29 slices of Rocco’s pizza to win this year’s eating contest.
Will power: Bay Ridge’s hometown competitive eater Will Millender came in third after eating 14 slices.
Strong stomachs: Rocco’s Pizzeria owner Danny Loccisano stands with contest winner Jamie McDonald and second-place finisher Dave Brunelli.

Summer’s here, and the time is right for festivals in the streets!

The Fifth Avenue Festival signalled the change of season with a warm afternoon and a bumper turnout between 69th and 85th streets.

“It was one of the best crowds we had in years,” said organizer Chip “Festival Guy” Cafiero. “The zeppole lines were halfway around the block!”

On top of the usual sausage and peppers and sunglasses sellers, one vendor hand-painted T-shirts on site, while another sold handmade leather wallets.

Local bands kept the attendees grooving to classic tunes, with beloved groups like Head and South, Prodigal Child, Radio Daze, and Holla Back taking the stages. Car clubs were out in force to participate in “The Challenge” — a dare to get a bucket of ice water dumped over their heads, or to donate $100 to the charity of another club’s choice.

“Guys were getting drenched,” said Cafiero.

But the highlight of the fair was the 10th annual pizza-eating contest at Rocco’s Pizzeria between 78th and 79th streets. Last year’s champ, Connecticut visitor Jamie “The Bear” McDonald, came just shy of matching his record last year of 29 slices. In second place was Philly native Dave Brunelli with 26 slices, and in third was Bay Ridge’s hometown contender Will “The Champ” Millender with 14.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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