Beach 129th Street restaurants and bars are coming together to celebrate fall, fun and freedom. On Saturday, October 22, the Harbor Light, Jamesons Pub, Pico and Callies are inviting everyone to enjoy a day full of good food, drinks and fine tunes for the first Fall Freedom Fest.
On Saturday, October 22, all are welcome to buy a bracelet for $20 that will give them access to special discounts on American and German cuisine and drink specials at each establishment, which will all be hosting various musical entertainment throughout the day. Callies will kick off the day with Dueling Pianos at 12:30 p.m. Pico will follow with an acoustic jam sesh. The Knobs take the backyard of the Harbor Light at 4 p.m. and the party ends at Jamesons with DJ Poppa D spinning tunes.
And it’s all for a good cause. Proceeds from the bracelets will be donated to the St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy. “A good percentage of our patrons’ kids at all four places go to St. Francis, and we know the school is looking to do upgrades with security and stuff like that, so we’re looking to help out as much as we can,” Harbor Light owner Sean Heeran said. “Whatever we can give, hopefully it helps a little.”
The Fall Freedom Fest was a long time in the making. “Myself, Eric from Jamesons, Terence and Tommy from Callies and Chris from Pico were talking back and forth and saying we should all do something together after what we went through with the pandemic to celebrate the whole 129th/130th area, so we started to come up with a plan,” Heeran said. “This is something we should’ve done years ago. We talked about doing a spring fest but Covid wasn’t quite done yet, so we pushed it to the fall.”
The owners decided to call the event the Fall Freedom Fest to celebrate the country, and freedom from all of the Covid restrictions restaurants had to endure during the peak of Covid. “Enough was enough. One amazing thing about this community is how they continued to support all of us throughout Covid and we want to thank them. And we don’t want people to forget how great this country is,” Heeran said. “This is a little celebration of people being out and about. We realize how much we took for granted during lockdowns, so how about we celebrate America a little bit? People are forgetting how awesome this country is and there’s a lot of division in the country right now, but we want to bring people together for something fun.”
Also, in the spirit of Oktoberfest season, the restaurants will be cooking up not just American dishes, but German as well. So expect brats, burgers and more on the discount food menu for the day, plus German beers and other drink specials.
The organizers hope the festival brings a little attention back to the block, as Beach 129th is better than ever. “This is the most establishments we’ve had in the area at one time and it’s a good thing. It helps us all, there’s more foot traffic which is good for business and good for everybody,” Heeran said. “We all help each other and there’s good camaraderie on the block.”
If the event is a success, they hope to make it a regular occurrence, and on a bigger scale “I definitely hope that it’s a successful thing so that we can do this yearly. Ultimately our goal would be to close Beach 129th for the day, and get vendors involved in selling things and just make this a big, fun event,” Heeran said. “This is our first year trying to get our foot off the ground so we’ll see how this goes and make it bigger and better, and if we can do this to raise money for a good cause every year, it’s always a good thing.”
While the Fall Freedom Fest will have a set music schedule, participants can pop into any one of the participating restaurants at any point. Participants must be 21 and over. The restaurants will also be open for regular business including dine-in and takeout for those who aren’t participating in the Fest.
Heeran encourages all to come out on October 22. “We’re hoping people get out and if we have a really nice day and the sun is out, it’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be a fun event,” he said.
For more details and music times, make sure to follow the restaurants on Facebook and Instagram.