Swell under the el

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Slip sliding away: Six-year-old Anthony Ramirez takes a slide down one of the fair’s many inflatable rides.
Sight for sore eyes: Sarah Alvarado found a new pair of shades at the sun-kissed street fair.
Coin for a cause: Janet Perry and Robert Salberg collected money for the Bensonhurst Volunteer Ambulance Service.
Throngs under the trestle: Scores of people filled three blocks of 86th Street during Bensonhurst’s annual street fair.
Sip and smile: Bia Villacis enjoys a cool lemonade on the 86-degree day.

The annual 86th Street Festival sprawled a full three blocks on June 8, spreading fun from 19th Avenue to Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst.

“We pretty much filled up the avenue,” said organizer Chip Cafiero. “It was one of the best fairs we’ve had there.”

Festival-goers were treated to games, rides, and live music from Frankie Marra and His Band, which played an extra-long, double set of classic rock to keep people dancing.

“It was something everybody could sing along to,” Cafiero said.

And — of course — there were the street vendors.

Area shops and stores mixed with the ubiquitous itinerant zepploe stands and sunglass huts to provide a little neighborhood character, Cafiero said.

“A bunch of local merchants and banks came out,” he said. “Stores that didn’t participate also did very well, because there was so much sidewalk traffic.”

One sunglass vendor from Crown Heights said she was smitten with Bensonhurst’s bucolic streets after just one afternoon.

“The neighborhood was so pretty — it was such a nice crowd,” said Sarah Alvarado.

For others, the neighborhood wasn’t a surprise, but the festival was.

“We didn’t know about the fair until we woke up on Sunday and went for a stroll outside,” said Sean Chin, who is raising a family in Bensonhurst.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Posted 12:00 am, June 10, 2014
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