Newsday is opening this story to all readers as we provide Long Islanders with news and information you can use during the coronavirus outbreak. All readers can learn the latest news at newsday.com/LiveUpdates
A few local businesses are providing family-friendly, yet socially distant, Easter fun.
“Most kids have no idea what's going on,” John Sarno, the owner of Village Idiot Pub in Oakdale and Patchogue says of the absence of town Easter egg hunts and other celebrations. “Taking the Easter Bunny [away] just seemed unfair.”
Sarno is one of a few local business owners who have figured out a way to get some holiday fun done at a distance. His plan: a free “Drive-by with the Easter Bunny,” taking place on Saturday, April 11 at both Village Idiot Pub locations.
Drive-by Easter Bunny
For those who’d like to see the Bunny, it will be outside the Oakdale Irish pub (1487 Montauk Hwy.; 631-573-6633, villageidiotirishpub.com) from noon-2 p.m. and then from 3 to 5 p.m. in Patchogue (8 E. Main St.; 631-289-8471, villageidiotpubli.com). Drive-bys will involve both waving and giveaways all from the advised six-foot distance. Sarno says, “If the family is OK with a photo-op then the bunny will take any [distant] pic they would like.”
There is a parking lot at the Oakdale outlet, and both street parking and free lots nearby in Patchogue, but Sarno adds that if parking is not preferred, “people can “just pull curbside for a quick hello and glimpse of the bunny.”
He says that the idea was something that worked within current limitations, adding, “I'm more than happy to do what I can in this time of need. I’m not sure what I'd do if someone told me the Easter Bunny wasn't coming [when he was] a child.”
Then again, for people who live in Patchogue Village, all you need to do is watch from their homes for the Easter Bunny as the area’s Recreation and Parks Department is going to do a drive-by with the rabbit. On Saturday, April 11, staffers will be chauffeuring the bunny down several neighborhood streets between 3 p.m.-6 p.m.; just listen for car horns and sirens to know when it will be nearby.
The Easter Bunny will not only be hopping over to Oakdale and Patchogue. Bake Me A Cake Boutique (184 E. Montauk Hwy., Lindenhurst; 631-612-0339, bakemeacakeli.com) is also offering to bring the bunny to homes located anywhere between Massapequa and Copiague for socially distant personal visits for $15 per house; all spots are likely booked but call 631-612-0339 to see if any visits remain open.)
In North Massapequa, Sandy Smith, the owner of Peanuts Nursery School, has arranged a drive-by with the Easter Bunny. In a rented convertible, Smith and the bunny will ride throughout the Viceroy community between the hours of noon and 2 p.m. Sunday. The bunny will be available for waves, greetings and photos from afar, as parents and children are advised to stay in their own cars or on their lawns.
Yet another option to see the holiday bunny in a responsible way is being offered by Carnival Parties (1-800-578-0494; carnivalparties.com). The company covers the New York Tri-State area and will bring the bunny around at the time and date of the customer's choosing, even after Easter. For a $100 flat fee, the bunny will come by for about 20 minutes and hang around (with music that plays through a speaker) while kids either pick up Easter eggs off their lawns (customers are asked to provide their own eggs for that) and/or take a socially distanced photo standing in front of their long-eared guest.
Egg hunts from a distance
Another beloved holiday pastime, Easter egg hunts have been cancelled around the Island. But the Lucky To Live Here Realty company (129 Main St.; 631-692-7100, luckytolivehererealty.com), has devised a way to allow families to search for colorful eggs without exiting their cars.
“It's for everyone!” says Ashley Allegra, the company’s marketing director. Running a six-mile route, Allegra describes it as a “DIY egg hunt trail” and it runs from Cold Spring Harbor through Huntington village along 25A before terminating in Centerport. A map is available online at luckytolivehererealty.com/blog/Huntington-Egg-Hunt, and the 20 “eggs,” which she says will be visible from vehicles and hanging from poles along the trail between April 8-19.
Participating Huntington stores Sweetie's Candy Cottage (142 E Main St.; 631-423-7625, sweetiescandycottage.com), Chip'n Dipped (342 New York Ave.; 631-470-2579, chipndipped.com), Carl's Candies (50 Main St., Northport; 631-375-2930, carlscandies.com) and Northport Sweet Shop (55 Main St., Northport; 917-854-6175, northportsweetshop.com) will also offer $10 goodie bags, but anyone who wants one must call in advance in order to be picked up curbside.
“We wanted to create an event that brings the community together while keeping a safe distance,” says Allegra,” We know that traditions and making memories are important, so this is a way to make new ones under the circumstances."
Virtual holiday crafts
Another way to mark the holiday is by way of virtual classes currently available via Yaymaker Long Island. Owner Tammy Tavarone-Bishop of East Moriches says, “I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to offer Easter events since all the kids are home from school and we're getting geared up to head into the Easter weekend.”
All accessed through yaymaker.com, current options are a 3 p.m. April 7 “Painting Mason jars like Easter eggs,” 5 p.m. April 8 “Floral Bunny” Paint Night,” a 4:15 p.m. April 9 “Lavender the Bunny” Paint Night, 5 p.m. April 10 “How To Draw Easter Characters,” 11 a.m. April 11 “Hop” painting event, a 2:30 p.m. April 11 “How to Meringue Easter Egg Nest Cookies, and then on Easter Sunday, a 10 a.m. “How to Paint Salt Easter eggs” and 1:45 p.m. “Love Bunny” paint event. Participants must provide their own crafting tools.