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North Amityville Parade and Festival Day honors Native Americans

Delores Quintyne of Amityville helped create a one-day festival in her neighborhood 45 years ago, but she never thought she'd be around to see it grow into an event that hundreds flock to every year. 

"I knew it would come to this, I just didn't know when," Quintyne said Saturday while sitting on a bench at Bolden Mack Park. "I didn't know if I would be here to see it."

More than 200 people from the Amityville area spent their Saturday at the 45th annual North Amityville Community Parade and Festival Day. The event was designed decades ago to instill pride in those who were born in Amityville, and it has grown larger every year, organizers said. 

"We always plan for 200 people, and if we get more than that, we're always happy," said Delores' daughter Madeline Quintyne McConney, a North Babylon resident who chaired the committee that organized this year's event. "The community really showed up today, from the young millennials to the seniors." 

The day kicked off with a parade that honored the American Indian tribes that established Amityville long before European settlers arrived. Members of the Paumanauke, Setalcott and Montauk Indian tribes were honored, and they were the grand marshals of the parade.

"We figured that was all overdue," Quintyne McConney said. "They were here before anybody, and they have intertwined with us here and have contributed so much for the growth of this community." 

The gesture was certainly appreciated.

“This was our coming out as the Consolidated Montauk Tribe of Indians to be consolidated as a federal entity. We are one," said Sadanya Nupi Kusucuwak, secretary for the Montauk Tribe of Indians Council of Tribal Elders. “I was extremely grateful for the warm welcome we received and from the festival organizers and the people who attended.”

Quintyne McConney said the event is "about community pride, unity and giving back." She said even people who have moved away find their way back to Long Island for this event.

"It's like one big family reunion," she said. 

Patchogue resident Toni Goode, an Amityville native, said she has attended the event almost every year, but this year's effort was the best one yet. 

"Everyone is more social," Goode said. "The food is 10 times better, and I love seeing the young people; it warms my heart."

The grassy fields and basketball courts at Mack Park were covered with smiling faces and children at play. Young children slid down an inflatable waterslide and jumped inside a castle-shaped bounce house. Teenage boys played pickup games of basketball while teen girls watched from bleachers and pecked at their cellphones. Along the park's perimeter, about 25 vendors sold food, clothing and jewelry. 

One of those vendors was Amityville resident Lavonia Wills-Hicks, who owns  Centric Boutique. Wills-Hicks said she has been a vendor at the event for eight years, and the trip is always profitable. 

"My biggest [selling] item is the one-dollar costume jewelry," she said. 

During the event, organizers gave college scholarships to the valedictorians of Amityville and Copiague high schools.

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