The revelers in Cutchogue will have not one, but two examples of philanthropy to follow at the 8th North Fork Chamber of Commerce St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Mattituck residents and owners of Legends restaurant Diane, 60, and Dennis Harkoff, 61, are the grand marshals for this year’s parade which steps off at 2 p.m. March 10.
“We try to pick a different flavor of community member,” said Joe Corso, president of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce. “They are very active in the area, and they use the restaurant to give back to the community.”
Since the Harkoffs founded Legends in 1993, the couple has held fundraisers at their restaurant for community organizations. They’ve also donated to fundraising efforts for the physically disabled, environmentalists and animal rescues.
“Diane has been very supportive of us,” said Barbara Butterworth, vice president and treasurer of the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund which helps preserve waterfront property.
Butterworth described the difficulties the organization has in raising money for its preservation efforts, but said the Harkoffs are a great help with their donations of food and raffle prizes to the group’s fundraisers.
“Diane is always open and willing to pitch in with good ideas,” said Butterworth. “The Harkoffs are great people to have in the community.”
But sometimes, offering a barstool and a familiar face is the greatest kindness.
“We always stay open during the bad weather because we want to have a place where everyone can go,” Diane Harkoff said.
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