Local resident Juan Delgado has been bringing his children, Juliana and Justin, to the carnival for the last six years. Knowing his children’s favorite part of the day is the carnival games, Delgado went prepared with bags to carry their prizes.
"The best thing is that it’s all free,” Delgado said, echoing every parent in attendance. “It’s a really well-run event every year."
The annual event at the intersection of 69th Street and Grand Avenue is hosted by Maspeth Federal Savings. The idea came about in 2008 when the economy was in a rough period.
“At the time, we wanted to remind everybody that although the economic times are tough, overall everything is good in the community and we wanted to put on a free event where everyone could enjoy themselves and not worry about that kind of thing,” said Maspeth Federal COO David Daraio.
A new addition to Smile on Maspeth Day this year included ice sculptor Mark McKenzie. Without any preparation beforehand, McKenzie sculpted Maspeth Federal Saving’s logo of a Mespachtes Indian head in a matter of just two-and-a-half hours in front of a stunned audience.
Another hit among the crowd was the petting zoo, which featured 14 goats, four ducks, four roosters, two horses, and a couple of bunnies. Jeffrey Keiser, was excited to see two of his favorite animals, the bunnies and the goats, even inquiring as to how much it would cost to take a goat home.
According to Sal Croce, owner of Croce Entertainment which produced the event, Smile on Maspeth Day takes about six months to prepare for.
“People love this event,” Croce said. “The bank gets many phone calls and people would walk in and say they had a great time with their family, and that’s what it’s all about.