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Smithtown Festival Day draws hundreds

Serena Depalo, 6, of Smithtown, has her face

Serena Depalo, 6, of Smithtown, has her face painted during the Smithtown Festival Day. (June 3, 2012) Credit: Arielle Dollinger

Smithtown resident Kelli Seltzer, 49, learned about solar panels Sunday when she was approached by a man advertising his business during Smithtown Festival Day.

Because the man was outside, rather than on the other end of a telephone line or behind a storefront, Seltzer said she felt comfortable asking questions.

“Him putting himself out there enabled me to put myself out there,” she said.

Seltzer attended the annual outdoor celebration on Main Street — the town’s 24th — hosted by the Greater Smithtown Chamber of Commerce with her children, Kiersten, 11, and Ryan, 8, as she has for the past five years.

“It makes Smithtown smaller,” Seltzer said of the festival. “You see people in town, and you see people that you know and you learn about things.”

Seltzer’s daughter, Kiersten, played the violin with the Nesaquake Middle School Fiddle Club during the festivities. According to Seltzer, this part of the festival showcased what’s going on behind the closed doors of school rehearsal rooms.

Among the groups that performed throughout the day was the Selden Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps — a group that formed eight years ago, after members of the original group, which disbanded in 1965, reunited.

The group played the festival for the first time this year, and its business manager, Irene Allan, already sees the importance of the event.

“It’s a terrific community thing,” she said.

Tents of clothing, jewelry and novelty item vendors lined the streets, as well as those of typical fair features like face painting and sand art.

Seaford residents Bob Weidman and his wife, Anita, bring their business, Sand Art Create & Design, to fairs like this one. Ranging in price from $4 to $6, depending on container choice, customers can create their own colorful sand art — a business the Weidmans started 20 years ago.

But Bob Weidman confessed, he likes the festival for the people, too.

“It’s almost a hobby, to tell you the truth,” he said of his business.

He and his wife became a part of Smithtown Festival Day 10 years ago, when Anita Weidman saw the event advertised and called the Smithtown Chamber of Commerce to get an application form.

“My favorite part of it is really meeting the people,” she said. “It’s just a lot of fun to meet a lot of nice people, and they’re all out to have a, you know, happy time.”

Christine Grazia, 42, of Smithtown, attended the festival for the second time. Like Bob Weidman, she sees the financial importance of the festivities, saying that it brings people to the town and is good for commerce.

“Hopefully it’ll turn things around, because we had a lot of empty store fronts for a while,” Grazia said.

Pictured above: Serena Depalo, 6, of Smithtown, has her face painted during the Smithtown Festival Day. (June 3, 2012)

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