Hundreds flocked to Seventh Street Friday to celebrate the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes Garden City style.
The village's annual Belmont Festival kicked off at 6 p.m. Sammy the Bugler and his spirited "Call to the Post" officially kicked off the night's festivities.
Longtime public relations practitioner Ed Lewi was honored with a proclamation from the village for years of service, including his longtime dedication to spearheading the Garden City Belmont Festival.
Jockey and Garden City resident Javier Castellano was there with his wife and two daughters. He will ride "Stay Thirsty" in Saturday's race.
The fifth annual children's poster design challenge, sponsored by Sunflower Fine Art Galleries, invited children in grades K-6 to create their best interpretation of thoroughbred racing. The winners, announced Friday night, will be awarded cash prizes from Sunflower Fine Arts:
- First Place: Addie Overend, 11 years old from Stratford School
- Second Place: Ellie Dowden, 8 years old from Stewart School
- Third Place: Marisa Bommarito, 7 years old from Homestead School
The Fivestone Rock Band, Jerry & the Newcomers, New Vintage Swing Band, Speak Easy and the Village Music Makers entertained the crowd with live music while a group of young dancers from Broadway Bound Dance Center and the Fitzpatrick Academy of Irish Dancing also performed.
The "Wing Off" pitted local restaurants against each other - all vying to be named Garden City's chicken wing champion. Restaurants that took part in the competition included: J.P. McGeever's Pub, Murphy’s Bar and Grill, Rein at The Garden City Hotel, Walk Street, Lani's Marketplace & Catering and Pop's Wings & Grill of Lynbrook.
Lani's Marketplace & Catering captured first place; Pop's Wings & Grill of Lynbrook took second and last year's top winner, J.P. McGeever's Pub, took third.
The general public judged the contest as any passerby was able to get in on the action for a minimum donation of $5, which included a plate of wings and a ballot. All proceeds benefit Operation Wounded Warrior, which provides needed items for injured United States military personnel.
Check back this weekend for a full video report on this year's Wing Off.
If you have photos from Friday's festival, upload them to this article!