Montauk will host a Memorial Day flag raising ceremony, but will forgo a parade for the second year in a row due to a growing influx of tourists, revelers and traffic, an organizer said.
Ken Walles, owner of the Oceanside Beach Resort in Montauk, said he put together a Memorial Day parade for several years but stopped last year because the hamlet had grown too crowded on the holiday weekend.
“We just saw the influx of business and problems,” Walles said Wednesday. “The police department and fire department had enough on their hands.”
Montauk has undergone a rapid transformation in recent years, from a haven for fishermen, surfers and vacationers into a Hamptons-style resort community. The crowds of tourists frequenting new bars and restaurants has roiled some locals, who have complained about drunken behavior and the changing character of the hamlet.
Walles said the parade could return someday if conditions change in the hamlet.
Montauk’s parade also conflicted with an annual art show on the Montauk Village Green during the holiday weekend, Walles said.
“It just got so congested, and it wasn’t fair to the veterans,” he said.
Walles said the community will mark the holiday by again hosting a sunrise flag raising ceremony May 30 on the Village Green, attended by Coast Guard personnel, police officers, firefighters and Boy Scouts.
At sunset, the flag will be lowered and retired flags dropped off by residents will be burned on the Village Green. Walles said Montauk’s flag ceremonies have been a tradition for about eight years. He said he expects the flag raising ceremony to begin about 8 a.m. Memorial Day and the flag retirement ceremony about 7:30 p.m.