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Smithtown celebrates its 350th anniversary and dedicates a statue to its founder

A statue of Smithtown founder Richard Smith is

A statue of Smithtown founder Richard Smith is unveiled near the intersection of East Main Street and Route 111 in Smithtown Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Credit: Barry Sloan

Residents marking Smithtown's 350th anniversary said the sprawling Long Island community still feels like a small town.

Hundreds of visitors filled Sunken Meadow State Park's beach and fields Saturday as the town kicked off its anniversary celebration.

Festivities included fireworks, vendors and face painting as families picnicked and listened to music from cover bands.

The town earlier dedicated its statue Saturday morning of Richard Smith at Route 111 and Main Street. It was donated by the Damianos family of Smithtown.

Town Supervisor Patrick R. Vecchio said Friday that the statue will be an icon that honors the town's history and its 117,000 residents.

"I think the town has good people who live here and Richard Smith would be very proud of what the town became," Vecchio said. "This recognizes someone who founded the town with a charter from the king and it's grown into a great community."

Sherine and Sam DeJesus came to watch fireworks with their two daughters, Mia, 5, and Yasmin, 3, who ran and played in the park. They said they grew up in Hauppauge and always had a strong community feeling growing up.

"This is definitely a historic moment in our town and we should be proud that we have a lot of history," Sherine DeJesus said. "It's been one of the most important towns on Long Island for a while. It has community feel even though it's growing."

Other residents said Smithtown needs to do more to develop its communities. Dana Delvalle, 52, of Kings Park said she wants to see places like the Kings Park commercial district grow.

Lisa Froehlich, 52, of Kings Park attended last night's festivities with her son, Nicholas, as she does just about every week for summer concerts.

"It's a small-town community where everyone knows each other and it's a great place for families," Froehlich said.

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