BayFest Sheepshead Bay

BayFest draws more than 100,000 fans

Brooklyn Daily
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Photo gallery

All smiles: Michael Meyers, 3, of Sheepshead Bay had a blast at this year’s larger-than-ever BayFest.
Tall and proud: Members of the United States Merchant Marine Academy band opened the festivities on May 20.
Jaws: Gavin Grinberg measures a lemon shark’s jaw that the New York Aquarium brought to the festival.
Arts and crafts: Logan Vitolo sports a temporary tattoo — and a brand-new Brooklyn Nets hat.
Rosy outlook: Jenna Rose belted out several songs at the free, day-long festival.

This year’s BayFest was bigger than ever.

More than 100,000 fans attended the Bay Improvement Group’s annual street festival on Emmons Avenue on May 20, according to the police and BIG president Steve Barrison — setting a new record for the neighborhood’s most popular outdoor event of the year.

“Emmons Avenue was a sea of people,” said Barrison. “To have so many come out and celebrate the community was a tremendous success.”

The day-long music fest between E. 27th Street and Ocean Avenue featured performances by the United States Merchant Marine Academy’s drill team, Jay & the Americans — who penned the smash hits “Come A Little Bit Closer” and “Cara Mia” — and 23 other bands.

Gymnasts from Aviator Sports Center gave a demonstration, and Borough President Markowitz, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D–Marine Park) and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) were also on hand, along with representatives of the Brooklyn Nets, who hawked merchandise for the borough’s new pro basketball team, which is moving into the Barclays Center this fall.

Residents said they went for the free live music, but stayed to rub elbows with neighbors and friends.

“The bands were great,” said Dennis Neil. “There was a lot of action out there.”

The festival’s 100,000-plus visitors broke its previous record high in 2002.

BayFest started as a two-hour guitar concert in 1992 that attracted just 50 people. Since then, the event has grown into an entertainment extravaganza that’s featured music stars such as Richie Ramone, the former drummer for the iconic punk band, Ticket2Ride, a well-known Beatles tribute band, and the Brighton Ballet Theater Company.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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