It was a trip down memory lane.
A brass band led a crowd of Brooklynites in a New Orleans-style parade down Smith Street on June 26, kicking off the 23rd annual Funday Sunday street festival with a spirited tribute to the fete’s founder and local icon Bette Stoltz, who passed away last year.
Friends and family carried big photos of the community activist and signs extolling her good works, which her daughter said made sure everyone in attendance knew who to thank for all the fun
“I wanted to make sure that everyone knew who had done this event for all of these years,” said Erica Stoltz, took over running the festival after her mother died at age 74 in November.
Bette Stoltz made her mark in the area as the founder of the South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation, a 29-year-old organization dedicated to promoting local business and employment in Cobble Hill and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Much of her efforts were focused on revitalizing Smith Street — once a sketchy strip littered with empty storefronts which included creating the street fair, the beloved Bastille Day celebration and the now defunct Smith Street Soup Festival to bring local retailers and residents together.
Erica Stoltz said her mother always went to great trouble to find the best hawkers for Funday Sunday, and she kept the tradition alive this year, filling the strip between Bergen and Union streets with booths manned by small retailers, eateries, and artisans.
“She always prided herself on finding really good stuff,” she said.