Pine Walk Fair Discontinued in Fair Harbor

For over 50 years, the Pine Walk Fair has been one of many long-lasting traditions in the Fair Harbor community. It originated on Pine Walk by the ocean side where three artists would sell what they produced. In recent years, the fair had grown to occupy most of the bayside, beginning at the firehouse and ending at the docks.

File photo of the Pine Walk Fair in 2017, photo by Lauren Chenault.

The Pine Walk Fair became more than an opportunity for vendors to promote their business. It was held over Fourth of July weekend, which allowed this event to kick off the summer season and welcome the community with open arms.

Helen Kornblau oversaw the fair for many years. It consisted of 25 loyal vendors who sold handmade merchandise. The venue excluded mass market goods or secondhand goods. Vendors, both local and from the tri-state area, sold all types of artisanal items such as clothing, jewelry, ceramics, handbags, hats, soaps, birdhouses, and glassware among other things, and authors, painters and photographers would exhibit their latest works. Bakers and cooks would feed the masses after a long day of shopping and in front of the firehouse, you could find a miscellaneous table and a silent auction where all the valuable goods were donated by charitable manufacturers or organizations.

The sense of community would roar during the Pine Walk Fair. Over 40 volunteers came to help despite never having sold anything a day in their lives because it encouraged a community spirit. The fair was also crucial for raising money for the Fair Harbor Community Association (FHCA). With the money raised by the fair, the association was able to make improvements to the town and address resident needs. Examples include funds used to maintain the bay beach lifeguards, clean the public bathrooms at the firehouse, garbage collections on Sunday mornings and family-friendly programs held at the firehouse.

However, the Pine Walk fair will not take place this year and is not expected to make a return.

“We had hoped that after COVID a group would arise to help manage the fair, but times have changed, and people are busier today than they ever were,” read a statement made by Judy Corcoran, president of the FHCA.

Hosting the event on a Fourth of July weekend was an additional issue. While it was an ideal weekend to bring in the maximum number of visitors, it made the workload to prepare for this event extend far before and after the actual fair. This became unsustainable for many of the volunteers.

Similar events began to emerge and grow over the past few years such as The Fair Harbor Deck Arts Crawl. This event will take place on July 15, and will consist of more than a dozen people who couldn’t afford the set-up costs for the Pine Walk Fair; they will sell their goods from their decks.

“This is not an FHCA-sponsored event at this time,” Corcoran stated. “All sponsored events need insurance and the FHCA provides that if not more.”

In lieu of this year’s Pine Walk Fair, a Clear Your Clutter Day will take place on June 17. This event will be an opportunity to continue to raise funds for the FHCA. Residents can donate items to the firehouse between 8 and 10 a.m.