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Friday night fun returns to Northport

Local band Miles to Dayton rocks out during

Local band Miles to Dayton rocks out during a 2010 Happenings on Main Street event in Northport. The program, which was started by a local businessman in 1999, is kicking off its 13th season Memorial Day Weekend. Credit: Photo by Handout

After enjoying live music while pulling into a port during a sailing excursion, Fred and Susan Richtberg dreamed of a similar atmosphere on the streets of Northport.

The couple made their dream a reality in 1999 with the first “Happenings on Main Street,” a collage of live music and art on Friday nights during the summer. The 13th season kicks off at 6 p.m. on May 27.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day the weekly event draws between 300-500 people, according to Fred Richtberg, who once co-owned the downtown store, Barefoot Image, with his wife. He said the free program stimulates local businesses and gives amateur and experienced artists an opportunity to showcase their work.

For Richtberg, though, the event is about more than just economic stimulation. It’s about sharing the village with Long Island.

“We’ve always been interested in the village,” said Richtberg, who was president of the Northport Chamber of Commerce when he helped found the event. “My wife’s granddad was captain of one of the tugboats for the sanding gravel operation here. Northport is one of the villages where people stay. You sort of get attached to it.”

The program, which costs about $4,500 each year, is funded by the Northport Kiwanis and local businesses.

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