2006-07-06 / Community

Guyanese Event Could Draw Thousands

Park Service To Enforce New Attendance Limit
By Roseanne Honan

The National Park Service is limiting attendance and restricting activities at Jacob Riis Park just as a massive Guyanese-American event could draw thousands to that park and Floyd Bennett Field this Sunday, July 9.

Effective July 1, the parking lot at Riis Park will be closed when the total number of visitors reaches 14,000 for that day, according to a recent advisory from the NPS. The cap on visitors will remain in effect until Labor Day.

The Guyanese-American Family Fun Day, an annual event that drew 20,000 to 30,000 people last year, is held on the second Sunday in July. Last year's event and the one prior to that cost the NPS thousands of dollars in police and staff overtime and cleanup costs. It is unclear how many Guyanese-Americans will attend this Sunday because instead of one blowout event, two groups, the Guyanese-American Ambassadors Association and the Guyanese-American Social Club, now host separate events on different days.

A permit has been issued for a Guyanese Festival July 9 at Floyd Bennett Field, with parking passes limited to a maximum of 1,500 vehicles, according to the NPS. Sources in the Guyanese community familiar with this year's event say the turnout - largely depending on weather and word of mouth - could be massive again.

The event has been described by police as peaceful and without incident, but the high volume of cars ties up the Marine Park-Gil Hodges Bridge and Flatbush Avenue.

Other policies that will be enforced at Riis Park include the prohibition of glass containers and portable grills, which are not permitted in the park. Riis Park does offer 26 permanent barbeque grills in designated cooking areas, but on a first-come, first-served basis. There are also concession stands on the boardwalk.

The NPS said it is implementing the new attendance cap and enforcing existing rules at Riis Park "to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable visit."

For more information about the NPS, Riis Park and parking, call (718) 354-4606. For information about the GAAA and their upcoming events you can call (718) 922-1640.

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