The 10 best events on Long Island this summer
Eat your way through a classic summer festival or just try to keep your eye on the birdie as ultra-competitive badminton players vie in a national tournament. Whether you want to hang outdoors or chill inside, these events please both types of people.
GO WEST IN RIVERHEAD(Credit: Country Fest Long Island)
There's a whole lotta country on Long Island -- and a festival to prove it. The fourth annual Country Fest Long Island is a two-day celebration with line dancing, live music and activities ranging from a mechanical bull to rides in a monster truck, July 26-27 on the grounds of the Dorothy P. Flint 4-H Camp in Riverhead ($10, 631-482-5657, countryfestli.com).
STAY ALIVE AFTER FIVE(Credit: George Hoag)
Patchogues Thursday night series of street fairs bring vendors, live music, artwork, food stands and other fun along Main Street in the village, which is closed to car traffic for the evening and there are plenty of restaurants and shops to wander, too. Events run 5-9 p.m. July 17, July 31, Aug. 14 and Aug. 28 with a rain date Sept. 4 (aliveafterfive.com).
SEE SERIOUS BADMINTON PLAYERS(Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas)
This isn't a dainty sport -- not with shuttle speeds of up to 70 miles an hour. Competitive badminton players will converge for the first time on the East Coast at the U.S. YONEX Badminton Open, July 8-13 at Suffolk Community College's Brentwood campus -- sessions are spectator-friendly ($13-$15, usopenpg.com ).
BIKE THE GOLD COAST(Credit: Bike NYC/Gold Coast Tour)
Make it a leisurely pedal or really go the distance -- the 32nd annual Gold Coast Tour from Greenlawn on July 13 offers bikers a choice of five courses, all with great views of Long Island Sound, stately homes and village charm. First-timers might consider the flat 12-mile course ($20-$25) while pros will surely want to tackle the full 100-mile affair ($40-$45, huntingtonbcli.com).
SEE SUPERHEROS FLY(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
You've seen them on the silver screen, now watch as Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor and Captain America come to life in "Marvel Universe Live!" at Nassau Coliseum on Aug. 21-24. Spider-Man and Wolverine join forces with these Avengers in an epic battle with Thor's evil brother Loki, who is trying to clone the powers of the Cosmic Cube to destroy the universe. They'll have their hands full as they take on Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Red Skull, Electro and other villains in this live-action show ($55-$170, 516-794-9300, nassaucoliseum.com).
CATCH AN INDIE FILM(Credit: Stockxchng)
The summer blockbusters are at every multiplex, but the indie flicks are in Stony Brook, at least July 17-26. This annual festival spotlights features, documentaries, foreign films and shorts one screening at a time -- and you might see a celebrity or two on the red carpet (631-632-2787, stonybrookfilmfestival.com).
EAT AT THE FEAST(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Everybody's Italian -- at least for a night -- at Glen Cove's venerable Feast of St. Rocco. Yes, there's rides, games and live entertainment, but let's be honest: We're in it for the food. Cannolis, sausages, pastas, Parms -- and tripe by the bowlful for those inclined -- all made using parish members' recipes that tend to date back generations (July 29-Aug. 3, 516-676-2482, stroccoglencove.com).
RUN ON A MONDAY(Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)
Beloved by Long Island's runners, the state park system's Summer Run Series is a long-standing Monday night tradition -- for thousands. The eight-race series June 16-Aug. 4 takes runners to a different state park each week. This year's races are sold out -- and there's no same-day space, either -- so make like a spectator and cheer on the masses (nysparks.com).
NOSH AT A FOOD TRUCK(Credit: Adrian Fussell)
Edible East End's Great Food Truck Derby is a once-a-summer meet-up of mobile food vendors in the Hamptons -- many make the trip from the boroughs of New York City. Patrons pay one price (last year it was $60) to bounce from truck to truck getting their fill of specialties that range from inventive tacos to artisanal ice cream bars (3:30-7 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Hayground School, Bridgehampton, 631-537-4637).
SALSA IN BRENTWOOD(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
The community's annual Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day Parade is now a weekend-long celebration. Festivities begin May 31 with a noon-7 p.m. salsa festival in the streets on Suffolk Avenue at Brentwood Road -- headliners include Tito Puente Jr. It's all a warm up to June 1's grand parade down Fifth Avenue, which steps off at noon (631-231-7460, teatroyerbabruja.org).