Annual Atlantic Antic continues to be a hit with Brooklynites
This past Sunday, Brooklyn welcomed autumn with the annual Atlantic Antic Festival — the oldest and largest street festival in New York City. The mile-long event, spanning Hicks Street to Fourth Avenue, brought close to 1 million people onto Atlantic Avenue between 12-6 PM to experience food, art, music and performances from local businesses. What makes this festival so remarkable is its contributions to the community and to family-owned businesses along Atlantic Avenue. “The Atlantic Antic Festival is different than most street festivals in that our local Atlantic Avenue merchants are able to participate directly outside their storefront and showcase their goods or services,” said Tammy Ben-Eliezer-Baxter, a spokeswoman for the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation (AALDC). “This dynamic provides an opportunity to invite visitors of the street festival to shop and dine outside and inside the local shops with the encouragement to come back and visit Atlantic Avenue again.”
Local business owners agree with Baxter’s perspective on the festival. “It’s all about awareness. I think that’s important in any business,” said Chuck Dorr, owner of Dig, a garden design store and one of the businesses represented at the festival. “People come to the Atlantic Antic. I make a party of it. I just love the people and the exposure.”
The festival, a long-time hit with Brooklyn residents, was initiated in 1974 by local merchants who wanted to showcase businesses on the avenue while still celebrating Brooklyn heritage with a parade, maratho, and street fair. Today, the Atlantic Antic is sponsored by AALDC — a group that aims to further economic development, historic preservation, and cultural enrichment on Atlantic Avenue.
“Attracting new customers and the extra added income makes it all worth it,” said, Ellen Baumwoll, owner of Betty Bakery, another business featured at the event. “The amount we make pretty much doubles or triples that day.”
Though the Antic helps local businesses gain recognition and exposure, many people who attended the Antic came for the live entertainment. Dozens of Brooklynites came out to watch and listen to performances by the Brooklyn Ballet, the instructors of Mathnasium and the cast of the Broadway musical "Wicked." Throughout the day, dancers and DJs rocked the stage and students from the Morris Dance Center taught the crowds a short hip-hop dance to get the crowd moving.
Though the 2015 Atlantic Antic has just ended, the AALDC is already planning next year’s festival.