Rain clouds didn’t stop hundreds of families from attending the Lindenhurst Fire Department’s second annual Long Island Harvest Festival on Saturday, cementing its role as a local fall tradition.
Lindenhurst Fireman’s Memorial Park was full of families there to pick pumpkins, eat hamburgers and enjoy live music, prize raffles and bounce houses.
The festival kicked off in 2015 as a fundraiser to benefit the fire department’s Chemical and Salvage Company No. 2.
Lindenhurst resident firefighters Robert Beyer and Rich Rossetti, both 43, said the idea arose two years ago as the company was looking to replace its previous fundraiser, an annual Halloween party that started to drop in attendance.
“We threw some ideas around, but we decided that a harvest festival was a more family-oriented event. People can bring their kids, pick pumpkins and have a great time,” Rossetti said.
Beyer and Rossetti, who are also longtime friends, estimated that 600 people had arrived by midday.
While it was a much smaller crowd than the 3,500 at last year’s inaugural festival, Beyer said organizers were still expecting around 2,000 people to attend.
“Even though the weather was better last year, I think we’ve done all right so far,” Beyer said. “The community always plays a big part in supporting us, and they did it again this year.”
Legis. Kevin McCaffrey, GOP caucus leader, and state Sen. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) also paid a visit to the festival.
“It’s for a great cause, and it’s a fun event for the whole family,” McCaffrey said.
David Gotay, 41, of Deer Park, and his wife Amber Gotay, 33, had heard about the festival through Facebook, and brought along their children, Anthony, 11, Ryan, 7, and Jake, 11 months.
“I don’t see why we wouldn’t come back next year,” said David Gotay. “It’s been fun.”
For Anthony, there was no question about his favorite part of the day: “The bouncy house.”