Saturday's Port Chester Fest had all the ingredients for a successful outdoor block party. Sunshine (for the most part)? Done. Live music? Done. Fun with neighbors you haven't seen in awhile? Check.
Folks who came out to what is usually a waterfront parking lot found it transformed into a marketplace filled with jewelry stands, food tables and even a stage. Above all, it was the diversity of each stand that blended together to build one village festival.
Pizza from Italian eatery T&J Villagio was sold next to Latin dishes from Brisa Marina, for example, and art workshops next to handbag vendors, highlighting all the different pieces that make Port Chester unique.
That’s why Terese Guiette, a member of the Port Chester-Rye Brook Rotary Club, had a tough time choosing between the art workshops, the live entertainment or the vendors as her favorite aspect of the day’s festivities.
“It’s hard to say,” she said. “The diversity, the culture—I loved all of it.”
And the musical talent was no exception.
Pablito y Su Avalanche, a group of Uruguayan musicians, educated audiences about salsa dancing and other styles of tunes native to Latin culture, while the Rye Town Community Band brought out classic concert band instrumentals.
But for Guiette, it was the combination of Irish tunes by Keltic Dreams, a multicultural group of Irish dancing students from P.S. 59 in the Bronx, and a little sunshine that helped steal the show.
“The step dancers were great and the weather turned out wonderful,” she said.
Another great thing about this festival? Little ones were able to enjoy themselves too.
So while moms were admiring handbags and dresses sold by vendors, kids explored their inner artists by watching art-making in the process and crafting their own ceramic piece with the professionals of Clay Art Center.
“My step-daughter took an introductory art class [at Clay Art Center] a few months ago, so she was happy to watch the really talented teachers at work making things,” said resident Donna Raisa.
Other community arts organizations that provided fun for kids included Rye Arts Center, ArtsWestchester with the Nowodworski Foundation, and more.
And for the first time in a week, sun shone for most of the day and umbrellas stayed closed. So when the skies opened up around 5 p.m., the wet weather didn't succeed in raining on anyone's parade.