By Katie McFadden
The fall fun continues, this time with Beach 129th Street’s second annual Fall Freedom Fest. On Saturday, October 21, five Beach 129th eateries will be participating, offering live entertainment, food and drink specials all day long.
Last year, as the world was bouncing back from the restrictions of the Covid pandemic, some Beach 129th businesses came together to celebrate that freedom and put on the first fall freedom festival as a thank you to customers for supporting them through such tough times, and to raise money for a good cause, helping St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy make some upgrades. “It went very well. Last year, we raised well over $16K for St. Francis,” Sean Heeran, owner of The Harbor Light, said.
So why not do it again? “Last year, we did it coming out of the pandemic. Everybody on 129th and us on 130th hit a rough road and we were all stuck, and out of appreciation to the community for supporting us during that crappy time, we felt it would be a lot of fun to host a festival, and this year, we just want it to be a great day for the community and Beach 129th Street,” Heeran said.
There were plans to shut down the block and include street vendors as Beach 116th did for last week’s fall festival, to make this year’s Fall Freedom Fest even bigger and better but with Saturday’s forecast being questionable, most of Saturday’s event will be forced indoors. But whether rain or shine, there’s plenty of fun in store for Saturday. This year, Harbor Light, Callie’s, Pico and Jameson’s are once again hosting the festivities, and this year, newcomer Panino Rustico-Baya Bar, is joining in. Each eatery is selling $20 bracelets for those 21 and over, which will give guests access to entertainment, drink and food specials at each establishment. Each eatery will have some type of American or German cuisine as part of the specials for the day.
Callie’s kicks off the entertainment with Dueling Pianos at noon. Pico hosts The Midnight Society at 2 p.m. Harbor Light has Wine with Sue playing at 4 p.m. And Jameson’s and Panino Rustico-Baya Bar will close out the day. Jameson’s has DJ Poppa D spinning tunes at 7 p.m. and Panino Rustico-Baya Bar is also expected to have entertainment. “They’re going to surprise people. They’re a new business and wanted to join, so we said, the more the merrier!” Heeran said.
Everyone is encouraged to buy a $20 bracelet either in advance or the day of, to once again help support a good cause. “The funds raised will go to a local family that has a child that’s sick, to help cover major medical expenses,” Heeran said.
Heeran says as winter approaches, October is the perfect time to get the community together. “In the winter, everyone disappears when the weather gets cold, so it’s the kind of event where you get to see everyone out before the frigid weather hits. I feel we should do this every year and Beach 116th is doing it now, which I heard was pretty successful. That’s what you want. It’s a good time of the year to get everybody out,” Heeran said. “Saturday should be fun. We’re encouraging people to come out, whether it’s a rainy Saturday or not, enjoy some music, college football and plenty of drinks.”
And he hopes to make it an even bigger success. “Hopefully it will get bigger and better as we go on,” Heeran said.
For more updates and schedules, be sure to follow the businesses on Instagram: calliesrb, jamesonspub, picorbny, paninorustico_bayabar_rockaway and harborlightpub.