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Bayside music festival promotes fire safety

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A stretch of 40th Avenue in Bayside was shut down Saturday for the first real block party the neighborhood has seen in years.

Hosted by the Bayside Village Business Improvement District, Saturday’s Bayside Village Fire and Safety Awareness Day Music Festival was a chance for area families to come out, listen to live local bands and meet the men and women of Bayside’s FDNY Engine 306.

A succession of bands with members from Bayside rocked the event just off Bell Boulevard as local vendors sold food and wares to attendees as little ones were treated to rides on a giant inflatable fire truck and tours of a real fire truck guided by Bravest members.

“This is not just a music festival, which this neighborhood has needed more than anything else, but also a socially conscious event about fire safety,” BID Executive Director Greg Sullivan said. “It’s to showcase the local community, the local stores, the local restaurants, the local services. That’s why you have a street fair.”

Bayside resident Jennifer Clem-Haniff brought her 5-year-old daughter Gianna Hannif to the event, where they said they had a nice time enjoying the offerings of their community.

“It’s nice that there’s something in the neighborhood,” Clem-Haniff said. “There are not many things locally. You end up having to leave the neighborhood to do stuff, so it’s nice to be able to stay in the area.”

Tom McKeon, a firefighter based at the Fort Totten Fire Safety Education Unit, handed out fire safety coloring books and literature as well as plastic fire helmets to attendees who stopped by his stand at the event.

“This is about providing fire safety education for the people of New York through the Fire Department of New York,” he said. “It’s community involvement, which is real nice. It’s always nice to come out and meet the people you serve and teach them about fire safety.”

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) was instrumental in organizing the event, and he was on hand Saturday afternoon to greet constituents and celebrate Bayside.

“Bayside has a wonderful community spirit and we have to protect the residential area and the mom-and-pop commercial strips. As one goes, so goes the other. This is a great approach to help both parts of the community,” Avella said. “It’s all about the community.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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