Pleasantville is gearing up for its biggest day of the year.
Since its inception in 2003, the Pleasantville Music Festival, scheduled for this Saturday at Parkway Field on Marble Avenue, has become another opportunity for the village to showcase all that it has to offer.
“It creates a positive buzz about the community,” Mayor Peter Scheter said. “We end up with a lot of people coming to Pleasantville. We encourage them to patronize vendors at the festival, which include Pleasantville favorites, and to make a day of it.”
Scherer said that when patrons leave the music festival, they can visit local restaurants while the Pleasantville Chamber of Commerce has been making sure businesses benefit from the event.
Toni Emerson, a longtime Pleasantville resident and chamber of commerce member, has been volunteering at the festival since the start. The event is staffed entirely by volunteers.
“It brings the community together,” Emerson said. “It’s a very positive event. It’s such a wonderful experience.”
Being part of the music festival and seeing families with food and blankets is most enjoyable for Emerson.
“You see young people and old people, you see people of all ages enjoying the music festival,” she said.
While many merchants might not experience an uptick in business on the day of the festival, Emerson said in the long run, they will benefit from all of the visitors to the village. Last year an estimated crowd of 7,000 filled Parkway Field.
The Village Bookstore, owned by Roy and Yvonne Solomon, sells tickets for the festival every year.
“It is a good thing for Pleasantville,” Roy Solomon said of the festival. “People tend to walk around the village a bit more. People find their way in Pleasantville and want to come back.”
Solomon said selling tickets is a convenience for those who want to go to the festival and it also benefits his business by generating more foot traffic. The bookstore sells tickets for other events throughout the year, including the annual Harlem Wizards game and the Pleasantville International Association dinner.
“People come in to buy tickets and they end up shopping for books, too,” he said.
The music festival ranks high on the list, along with Pleasantville Day in May and the Saturday farmers market from May to December on Memorial Plaza.
“We attract a lot of Pleasantville residents and people from nearby communities and people from not so nearby,” Scherer said. “Virtually every week I have a conversation with someone from out of town who said they come to Pleasantville for something.”
The mayor recognizing that staging big events in the village does cause some tension among the commercial base upset that parking spots for customers get gobbled up.
“We are working on that,” Scherer said. “We are doing a better job about letting people know about the Lane parking lot. All these activities produce a lot of feedback. People tell us that Pleasantville is a good place to live, work and bring up kids. There’s no question we gain a lot of benefit to it.”
Although the festival requires Pleasantville to lay out about $110,000 a year, the village recoups that money and usually sees a modest surplus. The goal is to build up a big enough fund to cover costs in case it should ever be canceled because of inclement weather, Scherer said. The long-range forecast for Saturday calls for cloudy skies with a 20 percent chance of showers and a high of 83 degrees, according to www.weather.com.
“We’re not there yet, but we want to protect ourselves,” Scherer said. “We are headed in the right direction. Our goal is for the festival to fund itself. We hope it keeps getting better. It’s a great day in Pleasantville.”