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Spooky guests visit Port Jeff Harvest Fest

Actors from the Darkside Haunted House in Wading

Actors from the Darkside Haunted House in Wading River walked among the crowd at the Port Jefferson 'Spooktacular' Harvest Fest. (Oct. 23, 2011) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

The streets of Port Jefferson Village were full of visitors for the second annual “Spooktacular” Harvest Fest, and while most moved from store to store with an enthusiasm that fueled the festival vibe, others dragged.

Among the children dressed as cartoon characters, insects, heroes and villains -- and the parents that dutifully followed them -- there was a smaller crowd of lurking visitors in torn clothing and with drawn faces.

A contingency of the walking dead -- straight from the Darkside Haunted House in Wading River -- moved about the village, staring down passersby but dutifully posing for photos with children who weren’t scared away.

They stayed mostly silent except for the leader among them, who wore a long black jacket and carried a skull-topped sceptre.

“Are you coming on my tour?” he leered to everyone who passed him as he waited for a following. Throughout the afternoon he gave walking tours to all the haunted places around Port Jefferson Village, giving a “mostly true” history lesson along the way.

The Haunted Walking Tours, new to the event this year, rounded out the myriad activities offered at the festival, including pumpkin decorating, a clam chowder contest, marshmallow roast, pet costume parade, classic car show and cheese and wine tastings.

Cindy Brabrante, a member of the village’s Economic Development Council, which organizes the festival, said the event was an immediate success that drew at least 1,000 people its first year and seemed to do the same this year.

“I can’t explain it,” she said. “I think it’s because there’s a little bit of everything for everyone. A little bit for parents, a little bit for kids.”

The event also kicks off Port Jefferson Restaurant Week, which runs through Oct. 29.

The Orofino family, of Port Jefferson, was taking full advantage of an early trick-or-treating opportunity; many of the stores along Main Street and East Main Street were giving out candy to children in costume.

The Orofino kids -- Angelina, 4, and Nick, 2 -- were both dressed as pirates and made it no secret which part of the event was their favorite.

“Getting candy,” Angelina said.

But with so much to do -- plus an outdoor movie was being screened at dusk -- someone was bound to get tired.

It ended up being Max, the family’s pug, right in the middle of the pet parade. Mom Sharon Orofino carried him most of the way.

“He’s had enough,” she said. “But we’ve had a lot of fun.”

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