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Little Miss and Mr. Mattituck named at festival

Top row: James McKinnon, 11, and Donielle Cardinale,

Top row: James McKinnon, 11, and Donielle Cardinale, Mattituck chamber president; bottom row: Dimitra Pando, Katrina Jones, 7, Jacen Gallo, 6, and Rudy Bruer pose at the Little Miss and Mr. Mattituck contest at the Mattituck Old Fashioned Street Fair. Katrina and Jacen were named this year's Little Miss and Mr. Mattituck. (July 14, 2012) Credit: Alexi Knock

While most of the girls wore sandals with their dresses on the stage during the Little Miss Mattituck contest, 8-year-old Ally Righi showed off her hot pink, sparkly Converse sneakers.

“She doesn’t care if she wins or loses, she just loves to stand out and be with all her friends on that stage,” said Nancy Righi, Ally’s mother. “We look forward to this every year.”

On Saturday, the Little Miss and Mr. Mattituck contest kicked off during the 35th annual Mattituck Old Fashioned Street Fair on Love Lane. The contest had 20 girls and nine boys participate in hopes of being named the winner who will then get the chance to appear in several Mattituck parades throughout the year.

“It’s not a beauty contest,” said Donielle Cardinale, Mattituck chamber president, who has organized the fair for 17 years and was the master of ceremonies for the contest.

She said contestants are judged on poise, grace and personality.

Cardinale participated in one of the first Little Miss Mattituck contests in 1979. Her son and daughter James, 11, and Rileygrace McKinnon, 6, have also participated in the contest.

“It’s something that I remember being a part of when I was a kid, and now stepping up as a member myself and running the contest and seeing my own children in it makes me appreciate what a great community this is and how with generations and generations we all share the same experiences,” said Cardinale.

After being asked their favorite summer activities and future career plans, the winners were Katrina Jones, 7, and Jacen Gallo, 6.

“This is great and I can’t say I’m surprised, she loves this kind of stuff,” said Chris Jones, Katrina’s father.

Ava Cardinale, 20, a former Little Miss Mattituck, watched from the crowd as the next generation of girls waited for their chance at victory.

“I can’t believe I was that little once, they’re so cute,” said Ava, who is home in Mattituck for the summer from college.

In addition to the contest, the Mattituck Street Fair featured over 100 local vendors selling everything from jewelry and purses to pickles. The fair attracted thousands of visitors throughout the day.

“We lead such hurried lives and this is a chance to just sit down with a coffee and talk,” said Nicholas Planamento, president of the Mattituck Historical Society. “We have a country feel in Mattituck and we want to keep it that way.”

The Mattituck Chamber of Commerce held a raffle to raise money for beautification projects and scholarships within the community.

“It supports our local businesses and it’s an opportunity for everyone that lives here to see each other and spend time enjoying this beautiful place that is the North Fork,” said Donielle.

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