When she joined the Gold Coast Business Association seven years ago, Deborah Orgel-Gordon saw that the organization’s membership was dwindling. It was down to only a couple dozen members, and she knew she wanted to do something to help bring more in. After much careful deliberation, she decided that the GCBA could start doing public events to bring more attention to local businesses, and six years ago, the Fall Fest was born, with Orgel-Gordon serving as its chairwoman.
The Fall Fest serves as a way for members of the North Shore community to learn about and enjoy the products of local businesses in the form of a fair. Businesses set up tents and booths where residents can sample the fruits of their labor and meet the faces behind the shops and stores they see every day.
The first Fall Fest started with a humble 25 vendors, but 2019’s is set to feature 70 businesses from throughout the North Shore at the Glen Head train station on Oct. 27. But the GCBA is making sure this year’s fair surpasses those of the past. There will be children’s activities, a magic show, live music, theatrical performances, food trucks and much more.
While she is proud of all the additions coming to the 2019 Fall Fest, Orgel-Gordon said that the heart and soul of the event is still the presence of local businesses. “It’s really for the neighbors to come out, shop and see all the local businesses that we have in this community and to support [those] businesses,” she said. “It’s about unity and community.”
Ronnie Thyben, co-chair of the Fall Fest and corresponding secretary of the GCBA, said the event can also provide a great deal of insight for its visitors.
“I think a lot of people in the community don’t know a lot of our businesses,” she said, “so this gives them the opportunity to come and see what’s available to them in the community.”
Nearly all of the businesses featured in the Fall Fest either operate in or are run by people who live in Glen Head, Glenwood Landing, Sea Cliff, Glen Cove, Locust Valley, Old Brookville, Greenvale, and Roslyn. GCBA president Steve Warshaw said that this hyper-locality means that many of the business owners are the neighbors of residents who may come walking by. So not only is the festival a way to learn about and sample local businesses, but it is also a way for community members to become more familiar with the people who live next door to them.
One of the businesses joining Fall Fest for the first time this year is Pudgy Owl, a Glen Cove-based online bakery owned by North Shore natives Ricky Podsiadlo and Carina De Castri. Podsiadlo said Orgel-Gordon reached out to him and asked if he would like to be a part of the fair. It was easy for him to say yes, he said, since he had wanted to join the GCBA for a while.
“It was in my mind to join [the GCBA] because I think it’s important to work with other small businesses in the area,” said Podsiadlo.
Podsiadlo said the Fall Fest is especially important for Pudgy Owl because, since the bakery is entirely online, he does not get much face-to-face interaction with his customers. He said he is excited to finally meet the people who enjoy the treats produced by his company, as well as to introduce new customers to some delicious baked goods.
“[The goal is] to bring awareness to shop local and to learn about the local businesses within our community,” said Orgel-Gordon, “and for the community to get together for one big event.”
The 2019 Fall Fest will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Glen Head train station at the corner of Glen Head Road and School Street. Parking will be available between Prospect Street and Locust Avenue about a block away.