The Village of Valley Stream board of trustees voted on Dec. 17 to limit the amount of carnivals that can be held at the Arthur J. Hendrickson Pool parking lot each year.
Under the new law, the board may only permit two carnivals per year — one before Memorial Day and one after Labor Day. If the board receives more than two carnival requests before Nov. 1, the village will hold a lottery to decide who receives the permit.
The law also stipulates that all equipment must be limited to the parking lot, and that carnivals can only be held over the weekends. Groups can begin set up for the events from Tuesday through Thursday, and must take down the equipment by the following Tuesday. Any group that wants to hold a carnival at the parking lot must also pay a $500 fee, per the new policy.
Mayor Ed Fare said that the village board considered the new law a benefit for nearby residents. “While it is a benefit for the non-profits that run them to raise money, and it is a fun outlet for our families and community, the traffic and noise burdens as well as the expense and inconvenience to neighbors and commuters must be balanced,” he said, adding that village residents “basically subsidize” the cost of lot maintenance, code enforcement and public safety needed for the carnivals.
Since the village board approved the Valley Stream Presbyterian Church’s carnival in 2015, carnivals have become major events in the village. Each year, thousands of residents go to the Presbyterian Church carnival to play carnival games, seek thrills on rides and eat.
“It’s been great seeing everyone coming out and enjoying themselves,” said Phil Jones, who is an elder for the church and helped organize the inaugural carnival. “That’s the reason we do it — for the community.”
The success of that first carnival spurred the demand for others within the village. Other churches decided to hold carnival fundraisers and the Nassau Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 resurrected their carnival fundraisers for its firehouse. Assistant Chief Gene O’Brien, who volunteers for the company, said that the company raises a sufficient amount of money from the carnivals, but added that he did not expect the new law to affect the company’s fundraising efforts.
Jones also said that the Presbyterian Church does not depend on the funds for its budget, but instead donates the money back to the community through events and organizations. He added that he understood why the village board passed the new law. “I’m sure the village has to do what it has to do,” he said.