By Bobbie Polay
It wasn't the best weather one could hope for, but the rain held up for a few hours in the afternoon and the HarborFest Committee was determined to hold as many scheduled events as possible. Apparently, many local residents and visitors were happy with that decision as an estimated 7,000 people came to the Town Dock on June 6 and had a great time in spite of the damp weather.
Most of the HarborFest events went on as scheduled. The Rotary Club's Charity Clam Bake, held under the big HarborFest tent on Friday night, was a sell-out and the Sunset Sail aboard the Phoenix on Saturday night was full. The Mini Olympics, scheduled for early Sunday morning, had to be cancelled, but the Model Boat Regatta was held at noon. Over 20 children and their parents came to the Mill Pond to race their hand-made boats.
On lower Main Street, a record 89 craft vendors set up booths. They drew large crowds all afternoon and were reluctant to pack up at 6 p.m. when HarborFest was officially ended.
Outside on the Town Dock and under the big HarborFest tent, dozens of local vendors had booths and displays and a festive atmosphere prevailed. Another tent held games for kids set up by the Port Youth Council. There was also a Castle Bounce, a Giant Slide and other children's activities. The Children's Treasure Hunt Booth was as popular as ever and all kids who participated were winners of gift certificates donated by local merchants or consolation prizes donated by State Bank of Long Island, FasTracKids and Mint Condition. Some of the Fun Stage performances had to be cancelled, but the Children's Talent Show and demonstrations by the United Studios of Self Defense entertained hundreds.
For the first time, the Organic Farmer's Market set up at HarborFest. It was a very popular stop and soon sold out. The Food Court was a busy place with Ayhan's Shish Kebab, Frank's Pizza, Maggie Moos, the Sons of Italy and PYA making sure the hungry visitors were well fed. In fact, they had to have more food delivered during the afternoon - the weather definitely increased everyone's appetite!
The Main Concert Stage was not opened, but there was fabulous entertainment all day thanks to the ingenuity of Chamber of Commerce President Warren Schein and the sound company who set up the balcony of the Town Dock pavilion for HarborFest's favorite nautical group "Stout." There were also "encore" performances by members of the cast of the Red Stocking Revue. The Sousa Bandshell was able to hold its season-opening performance of the Schreiber High School Band at 3 p.m.
Captain Dennis Watson didn't want to disappoint anyone who wanted to go for a sail aboard the Phoenix. He was able to take passengers on two of the scheduled cruises on Manhasset Bay.
The entire HarborFest Committee and the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce are grateful to the sponsors, vendors and community for supporting HarborFest and proving once again what a very special town we live in.