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Editorial: Jack O’Lantern Tour Thrills Long Island Again

This weekend, I chaperoned a Girl Scout Troop to see Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns tour at Old Westbury Gardens where more than 5,000 carved pumpkins returned to Long Island for its annual display; the carving talents are unreal. The girls were most impressed with the commercial character carvings such as Angry Birds and the Disney princesses. The fathers who chaperoned were attracted to the sports team carvings, although everyone was in amazement at the “tribute” pumpkins, carved to honor the greats like Neil Armstrong, Lewis Carroll, Albert Einstein, and Whitney Houston. Others adored the scenic carvings like Coney Island, Statue of Liberty, the Montauk Lighthouse, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Naturally though, we were all amazed to see the historic scenes of Girl Scouting carved in pumpkins set on special pedestals, such as the flag raising, cookie sales, and camping.

Although the tour is not that long in distance, approximately 1/3 of a mile, plan for the transit through to last more than an hour. For the younger kids, we put glowstick lanyards on each of them to identify them in the crowd; each girl brought a little flashlight to identify strange noises in the night gardens because some areas of the walking tour are dimly or not lit. And most important, make everyone stop at the bathroom before entering the tour.

The popularity of this non-scary Halloween treat is growing. Many of the tour slots sold out four weeks ago, and more than 3,000 tickets were sold to Girl Scouts and their families.

Pre-reserved tickets are required and available at www.therise.org/. All visitors need tickets; children ages 4 and under are free, but also need an admission ticket. Tour times are still available through Oct. 28.

— CH

News

The smell of pine, wood and scented candles greet customers with a sense of home as they cross the wooden threshold to the Amish Craft Barn in Seaford. There they will find dolls, birdhouses, quilts, ceramic turkeys, hand-painted Christmas trees, oak furniture and other seasonal and holiday tchotchkes.

 

Massapequa natives Frank and Pam Hoerauf started The Amish Craft Barn & Gift Shoppe 20 years ago after an inspiring visit to Pennsylvania.

Holidays increase daily congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Sports

The Island Trees Cross Country teams continue their improvement in 2014. This year the girls’ team has a record of 8-2 and with their victories over Clarke and Wheatley High Schools, they clinched the Division Championship for the first time in Island Trees High School history.

 

The girls are led by senior Captain Angela Brocco who has been rewriting the girl’s record boards. Brocco set the school record for the Warwick Valley 5000 meter course on Sept. 20. 

This season the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team at Division Avenue has the rare ability to fill every position on the field with a member of the senior class. All 11 seniors have made contributions to the success of this year’s squad.


Calendar

Turkey Cookie - November 21

Lost Nights - November 22

Town of Hempstead Meeting - November 25


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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