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Huntington officials cite COVID-19 in first-ever cancellation of annual Long Island Fall Festival

Children ride the tea cups during the Long

Children ride the tea cups during the Long Island Fall Festival at Heckscher Park in Huntington Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. Credit: Barry Sloan

For the first time in its 27-year history, the Long Island Fall Festival at Heckscher Park in Huntington will not be held. 

The Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event, cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the cancellation. The four-day festival spans 25 acres of Heckscher Park and the surrounding areas and draws more than 100,000 visitors from across New York State, according to chamber officials.

“It was a difficult decision, but the health and welfare of the Long Island and New York community is our top priority,” chamber chairwoman Vita Scaturro wrote in an email. “We will be back, bigger and better in 2021. In the meantime, we are doing whatever we can to support our local businesses and encourage everyone to ‘Shop Local.’ ”

Officials said the event, which is held in October, does not require an admission fee and does not have checkpoints at the park’s several entrances, so it is not possible to limit the crowds. Because of this, chamber officials decided to cancel the festival due to the potential risk caused by the ongoing pandemic and threat of a resurgence.   

The event features more than 300 vendors, three stages of live entertainment, a carnival, international food courts and a beer and wine tent. 

Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said he looks forward to helping the chamber plan for next year’s event.

“While it is an unfortunate turn of events and we will miss the Fall Festival’s annual exhibit of what Huntington has to offer spread throughout Heckscher Park, the crown jewel of all of Huntington’s great parks, with the unknowns COVID-19 presents as we get closer to the seasonal cold and flu season, we support the chamber’s decision to play it safe this year," he said. 

Organizers of another venerable event held in Huntington announced in June that they were canceling because of COVID-19.

The Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society will not hold its annual Huntington Lighthouse MusicFest, usually held on the Saturday preceding Labor Day. 

Pam Setchell, president of the group, said there were just too many hurdles to overcome to keep everyone safe, including making sure people social distance on the lighthouse grounds and on boats. The event would have featured bands performing atop the 108-year-old guidepost in Huntington Bay.

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