Van Duzer Days Festival Returns to Staten Island

By Nicholas Rizzi on July 9, 2012 7:26am 

A band preforming at last year's Van Duzer Days street festival. This year's event will feature local bands playing live from 1 to 8 p.m.
A band preforming at last year's Van Duzer Days street festival. This year's event will feature local bands playing live from 1 to 8 p.m.
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David Rodberg

STATEN ISLAND — The fourth annual Van Duzer Days street festival will return to Stapleton in July.

The festival will run on two weekends and feature local bands, live painters, craft workshops for children and local businesses opening up their doors for the event, said Gena Mimozo, a member of the Van Duzer Days Planning Comittee.

It will close off a portion of Van Duzer Street, between Beach and Wright streets, from traffic on Saturday, July 14, and on July 21 from noon to 8 p.m.

"It's cool to be able to work with your peers," said Mimozo about the event. "It's really just about helping each other, and showcasing people in the best possible light in their own neighborhood."

In addition to music starting at 1 p.m. both days, the festival will also have free bike repairs by Transportation Alternatives, Zumba classes, bike riding lessons given by Bike New York, and a skateboard contest, Skatedown in Stapletown, on July 21.

Skatedown in Stapletown, run by clothing local store Richmond Hood Company, will have several ramps set up for open skate sessions, and have contests like best trick and highest ollie, prizes and giveaways, said owner Tariq Zaid.

"It's a safe environment," said Zaid. "We give the kids something to do. It's a beautiful community effort."

Zaid started the skate event, now in its third year, when his store used to be located on Van Duzer Street, and kept running it even after his store changed locations to Castleton Avenue in West Brighton.

"The timing was good, we opened up and they have a block party," said Zaid.

"We figured why not have a skateboarding event in front of the store," he said. "It's kind of a no-brainer."

In previous years, the festival ran on four weekends in July, but this year cut back to only two, said Mimozo.

"We decided to cut back on the weekends, it's going to be more packed," she said. "We're trying to pack a lot of stuff into two weekends."

The event will probably return to the four weekend format next year, Mimozo said.

Van Duzer Days started four years ago and is part of the Department of Transportation's Summer Streets Weekend Walks program, which partners with local groups to host similar events across the five boroughs.

The Staten Island Collaboration (SIColab) art collective runs and plans Van Duzer Days, the only Weekend Walks on Staten Island.

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