Williston Day returns with high turnout

Brandon Duffy
The East Williston Fire Department were one of 200 vendors that lined up across Hillside Avenue for Williston Day. (Photo by Brandon Duffy)

A picture perfect September day set the stage for Sunday’s Williston Day Street Fair, and a high-turnout crowd couldn’t stop dancing, eating and having fun on Hillside Avenue.

“It was the best ever, and I’ve been going for 40 years,” said Nancy Zolezzi, treasurer for the Chamber of the Willistons, which sponsored the event. 

It was the first fair since 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The layoff allowed some new vendors to join the festivities.

Kristin O’Donnel-Rizzo, who has lived in the Williston area her whole life, said from the gelato cart she brought from her restaurant in Manhattan, “It’s been really great. This is our first time doing the fair and it’s exciting to be on the other end of things for once.”

People had no shortage of options for entertainment, whether it was a hula hoop contest or a demonstration from local dance studios Hidden Talent Dance  and Hannah Kroner School of Dance. Taecole Tae Kwon Do of Albertson showed its students’ skills to roaring applause for almost every kick.

The best chance to cool off Sunday was most likely in the dunk tank, run by the East Williston Fire Department. 

Zolezzi said the chamber originally had 200 spaces for vendors, businesses and community organizations. However, the total number on Sunday exceeded that by a considerable margin.

“We assigned out every space we offered, but were able to make some more space by extending it the best we could,” she said. 

Food options varied, and if someone tried them all it would have been close to a trip around the world. 

Pizza, pickles on a stick and paella were on the menu across the fair and each stop had a line. Luckily for patrons, there was enough musical entertainment to go around.

Patrons were treated to acoustic guitar at Spuntino’s and violins at Margarita’s Cafe. Near the corner of Broad Street and Hillside, Sangria 71 offered classic hits on flamenco guitars with an accompanying dancer. Memories 2 Bar & Grill turned its side lot into a cookout with live music for most of the day, although toward 5 p.m. it resembled more of a sold-out concert.

The crowds were consistent all day and kept each vendor busy. 

Dina Hnizdil, who was selling dog accessories for the first time in Williston, said people would not stop coming to her and surrounding vendors as well.

“It’s been pretty busy. This is our first time here and it’s always been a steady crowd,” she said. 

“Fabulous, it was absolutely fabulous,” said Zolezzi. 

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