Freeport’s popular Nautical Mile Festival has been moved from its original June date to October, Mayor Andrew Hardwick said.
Due to rising costs and requests from Freeport’s first responders, the Nautical Mile Business Association and its Chamber of Commerce, the village made the decision to hold the festival in October, Hardwick said.
“The summer months are the busy season for the businesses on the Nautical Mile, and the Nautical Mile Business Association as well as the Chamber of Commerce made it clear that hosting the festival in June will hinder their business operations,” Hardwick said in a statement Friday.
Hosting the festival in October “would help and encourage business for the merchants and provide additional savings to the village,” he said.
For more than 25 years, the event, which serves as the traditional kickoff to summer, typically was held in early June. The festival draws as many as 200,000 people to the South Shore village's Nautical Mile, lined with restaurants, shops, seafood markets and docks.
Spiraling costs and safety concerns had led Freeport to reduce the festival from two days to one in 2010. The event costs the village $150,000 to $180,000, mostly in overtime costs, Hardwick has said.
Hardwick said in a letter to village residents in late February that due to public safety concerns, the festival “will not take place this June.” Some 200 residents who attended a forum last month expressed divergent opinions about keeping the festival in June or moving it to September or October.
Hardwick told Newsday after the forum that the festival would go on in June because there was not enough notice to change the date.
But village officials later said they were not committing to any date for 2012 — either in June or the fall. They instead formed a committee along with village department leaders, first responders, residents and members of the business community to examine potential dates.
Those interested in being part of the festival committee can call the Mayor’s Office at 516-377-2252, Hardwick said.