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Girl Scouts of Suffolk move Holiday Light Show to a county park

Girl scouts from troop 159, scout unit 48

Girl scouts from troop 159, scout unit 48 of Mastic Beach gather under an archway decorated in Christmas lights as part of their annual holiday light show at Smith Point Park on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Girl Scouts of Suffolk County are bringing their famous Holiday Light Show to a new venue.

The seasonal light show has been held at the Girl Scout facility Camp Edey in Bayport for the past 12 years. But residents on Lakeview Avenue — a dead-end street and the sole entrance to Camp Edey — have long complained about increasing traffic and the impact of thousands of visitors descending on their neighborhood each winter.

This year’s show was moved instead to Smith Point County Park in Shirley after Suffolk County Legis. Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) and William Lindsay III (D-Bohemia) sponsored a resolution in June to move the event.

“This is a great opportunity for them to expand in a way they weren’t able to where they were before,” Calarco said at a news conference announcing the new location.

Lindsay said the show’s growing audience made it “a victim of their own success” and called Smith Point County Park “the perfect place” for the drive-through lights display featuring scenes of holiday decorations, famous landmarks and animals.

“It has outgrown itself and it did need to move,” said Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley) of the light show.

The show begins in the evening of Dec. 1 and runs through Dec. 23. Tickets are $20 per car, $40 for minibuses or recreational vehicles, and $70 per school or coach buses. Santa can still be found at Camp Edey during a new Cookies with Santa event on Dec. 10 and 17.

The light show is an important fundraiser for the Girl Scouts, with $100,000 raised last year from 24,000 visitors for programs and running Camp Edey and Camp Sobaco in Yaphank.

“Proceeds from the light show will benefit girl programs and our outreach services while helping to maintain the stewardship of our two camps,” said Girl Scouts of Suffolk County president and chief executive Yvonne Grant.

The displays were built by 30 volunteers from PSEG Long Island, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1049, and the Long Island chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association.

The new coastal location brings new challenges, as was evident at the news conference last week where strong gusts of wind lashed attendees.

About a dozen cadettes from Girl Scout Troop 159 of Mastic, Shirley and Mastic Beach shivered in the bracing wind at the news conference, but said they were looking forward to the event.

Despite the weather, the 60 light displays were fixed in place, noted Suffolk Parks Commissioner Philip Berdolt. “These are 50-mile-per-hour gusts, but the lights are holding up fine, which is a plus and we’re happy about that,” Berdolt said.

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