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The Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Port Jefferson celebrated its 57th Port Jefferson Greek Festival from Aug. 23 to 26. This year’s event featured carnival rides, traditional dance performances, live music, games and culinary delights.

East Northport residents and their families flocked to the East Northport Fireman’s Fair this past weekend.

The East Northport Fire Department kicked off its annual community fair Aug. 1 with a parade. The four-day festival featured rides, carnival games and live music to entertain all ages. Click through the gallery above to see if TBR News Media caught your family having fun. 

The Boater’s Maritime Festival returned to Port Jefferson on Saturday and Sunday, bringing boats of all shapes and sizes as well as fun harborside activities for kids.

A pirate gives a young boy a high-five after a treasure hunt during Port Jefferson's annual Boater's Maritime Festival on June 7, 2015. Photo by Bob Savage
A pirate gives a young boy a high-five after a treasure hunt during Port Jefferson’s annual Boater’s Maritime Festival on June 7, 2015. Photo by Bob Savage

In celebration of its rich maritime heritage, the Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson in partnership with the New York Marine Trade Association, will present the 5th Annual Port Jefferson Boater’s Maritime Festival on June 11 and 12 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The festival will take place throughout the entire village and will specifically showcase Port Jefferson Harbor, one of the most popular deep-water harbors on Long Island.  Boaters appreciate the prime location with easy access, deep draft local shops, restaurants and entertainment just a short walk from the marina docks. 

This two-day festival will host the Port Jeff Boat Show with over 50 boats on display and dozens of fishing vendors at one of the island’s only outdoor shows. Sailing demonstrations will take place on the harbor as well as a  regatta planned on Sunday afternoon. Maritime-related attractions, museums and organizations will be present along with free open demos of kayaks, inflatable boats and paddle boards. 

New this year and kicking off the weekend is an outdoor Crossfit Throwdown sponsored by Crossfit Hidden Pond Park. Crossfit participants will gather for the Throwdown on the Sound scheduled for Saturday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park. 

Also debuting this year is Chick-Fil-A’s family-friendly addition to the event … the Eurobungy!  Up to three participants can experience the thrill of bungee jumping in this ultimate interactive entertainment feature.

Returning this year is the Paddle Battle Long Island Port Jefferson Race on Saturday, June 11. The 2.5-mile recreational race includes kayak and stand-up paddle boards, each in separate categories. This fun-filled day of races helps raise money for not-for-profit organizations such as United Way of Long Island’s VetsBuild program, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation and the East End Tourism Alliance. Registration will take place at the Village Center on East Broadway from 10 a.m. to noon.

Saturday night offers After Hours at the festival from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., featuring a Sunset Paddle, live music and food and beverage at the Harbor Bistro.

A paddleboard race takes off in Port Jefferson Harbor during the annual Boater's Maritime Festival on June 6. Photo by Bob Savage
A paddleboard race takes off in Port Jefferson Harbor during the annual Boater’s Maritime Festival on June 6, 2015. Photo by Bob Savage

In addition to exhibitors from the Maritime Explorium, Riverhead Foundation and the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, the festival will feature art and photo exhibits,  craft vendors and live music.

Sailing demos (from noon to 5 p.m. on both days) and clam eating contest (on June 11 at 2 p.m.) are among the exciting and interactive events taking place at the Port Jefferson Boater’s Maritime Festival along with food and drink at the Harbor Bistro food court offered by local eateries, Fifth Season, C’est Cheese, Gourmet Burger Bistro, LI Pour House and Junior’s Spycoast.  Pirate shows and treasure hunts will round out the entertainment for the entire family. Best of all, admission is free!

For a full schedule of events and more information, visit www.portjeff.com/featured-events.

The Long Island Museum will unveil a new traveling exhibition organized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland on May 20. Photo from LIM

By Melissa Arnold

There’s something especially memorable about going to a concert. Showing up with hundreds or even thousands of music fans creates an energy that’s hard to find anywhere else, and hearing a favorite song performed live can be pretty emotional and even lead to societal change.

This summer, the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook will celebrate the global impact of music festivals on culture with an exhibit called Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for us here (at the museum),” says Joshua Ruff, director of collections and interpretation. “It gives us a chance to display some material that people wouldn’t normally associate with the museum.”

Common Ground is a traveling exhibit that was developed in 2014 by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. The Long Island Museum will be the only East Coast venue for the exhibit, which will move on to Austin, Texas, this fall.

Visitors will be taken back in time to some of the biggest music festivals in the world, including the Newport Festivals, Woodstock, Live Aid, Coachella and more. Ambient sounds of bands tuning up, people chatting and even radio ads from each era will provide a true “you are here” feel.

Additionally, you’ll be treated to music and video footage from each festival, along with some special artifacts. Some noteworthy items are guitars from Davey Johnstone of the Elton John Band, Muddy Waters and Chris Martin of Coldplay; a guitar pick from Jimi Hendrix; and a corduroy jacket from John Mellencamp.

“The festival experience is one that brings people together from all walks of life. They’re memories that last a lifetime,” Ruff said. “This exhibit has items that will appeal to everyone, from baby boomers to contemporary concertgoers.”

A corduroy jacket from John Mellencamp will be just one of the many items on display at the exhibit. Photo from LIM
A corduroy jacket from John Mellencamp will be just one of the many items on display at the exhibit. Photo from LIM

While the exhibit will honor many musical superstars, the LIM is giving special attention to Bob Dylan this weekend as it marks his 75th birthday.

On Sunday, they’ll host musicians from all over the country who will play nearly 20 songs from Dylan’s career, which began in the 1960s and continues today. Dylan’s new album, “Fallen Angels,” drops tomorrow.

The concert is one of the final events for this year’s Sunday Street Concert Series. The series has its roots in a radio show of the same name on Stony Brook University’s WUSB-FM.

Radio personality Charlie Backfish has hosted the show since the 1970s, and was a part of launching similar live events at the university’s UCafe in 2004.

“Dylan is such a monumental figure in the acoustic world — he caused quite a controversy when he used an electric guitar and a full band at the Newport Folk Festival in the 1960s,” Backfish explained. “We thought it would be cool to make our last concert of that first year all Bob Dylan music.”

The Bob Dylan concert has since become an annual tradition for the Sunday Street Concert Series, which relocated to the Long Island Museum in January due to upcoming university construction, but Backfish is thrilled with the move’s success.

“We’ve had a tremendous welcome from the LIM, and we’ve had sold out audiences for most of our shows since we’ve moved there,” he said. “It’s very exciting that we’ll be able to celebrate Dylan’s 75th birthday the same weekend as the opening of Common Ground. The timing couldn’t be more perfect.”

Backfish hosts “Sunday Street Live” from 9 a.m. to noon each Sunday on 90.1 WUSB. This Sunday’s show will feature all Bob Dylan hits. Listen online or learn more at www.wusb.fm/sundaystreet.

Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience will be on display at the Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook, through Sept. 5. For hours and admission prices, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org. The Sunday Street Concert featuring covers of Bob Dylan will be held at the museum on Saturday, May 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 and extremely limited. To order, visit www.sundaystreet.org.

Last year's second-place winner, ‘Tulip Rhapsody,’ by Steven Selles of Huntington

What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than with a Tulip Festival? The natural beauty of the historic Heckscher Park will once again serve as the backdrop for the Town of Huntington’s highly anticipated signature spring tradition this Sunday, May 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Amanda Camps of Medford won first place in last year’s Tulip Festival photography contest with ‘Peach Princess.’
Amanda Camps of Medford won first place in last year’s Tulip Festival photography contest with ‘Peach Princess.’

Now in its 16th year, the event was the brainchild of Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D).

“From its inception, the Huntington Tulip Festival has been a free, family-oriented, floral celebration held in Heckscher Park. There is live entertainment for all ages on the Chapin Rainbow Stage,  dozens of booths with fun activities for the kids and thousands of bright tulips planted in beds throughout the park,” said Cuthbertson in a recent email, adding “So come out, bring your camera, and enjoy the day!”

In addition to the more than 20,000 tulips to admire throughout the park, cut tulips will be offered for sale by The Flower Petaler with proceeds benefiting the Junior Welfare League of Huntington and there will be a student art exhibit on display near the Chapin Rainbow Stage.

Volunteers are needed to distribute festival programs to visitors. Any person or community group is welcome to volunteer by calling 631- 351-3099.

Photo Contest
Since its inception, Huntington’s Tulip Festival has included an annual photo contest. Entries by amateur and professional photographers will be juried to select the images most evocative of the beauty and family orientation of the festival and must be postmarked or received by July 31, 2016.  Prize-winning images will be used in festival publicity. For details, visit http://www.huntingtonny.gov/TulipFestival PhotoContest.

Entertainment schedule

‘Water for Tulips,’ last year's third-place winner by Frank O’Brien of Huntington Station
‘Water for Tulips,’ last year’s third-place winner by Frank O’Brien of Huntington Station

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Explore the Heckscher Museum. During this annual collaboration with the Town of Huntington, docents will be in the galleries beginning at 2 p.m.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ­— Student Art Contest: Building up to the festival was an art contest for area students organized by the Huntington Arts Council.  Award-winning work will be displayed near the Rainbow Chapin Stage.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Children’s Activity Booths — A diverse selection of free activity booths with creative, hands-on projects for children of all ages will be active in Heckscher Park throughout the festival. Design pasta necklaces, get your face painted, make a windsock, make a handprint Mother’s Day craft, get a tattoo, create a rainbow fish and much, much more.

Noon to 12:45 p.m. — Jazzy Fairy Tales with Louise Rogers on the Rainbow Chapin Stage. The show combines jazz music, storytelling and improvisational theater techniques to teach young children music, literature and social skills.

‘Resting Among the Tulips,’ Honorable Mention last year, by Mary Ruppert of Huntington
‘Resting Among the Tulips,’ Honorable Mention last year, by Mary Ruppert of Huntington

Noon to 4 p.m. — Mask making art activity at the Heckscher Museum. Children of all ages are invited to create a colorful, mixed media mask to celebrate spring and wear at the festival. Free on Museum Terrace.

1 to 1:45 p.m. — Casplash, a Caribbean splash band with Steelpanist Rudi Crichlow, on the Chapin Rainbow Stage. Casplash, a.k.a. Caribbean Splash, plays music made for dancing — from calypso, soca and reggae to pop, funk, R&B and more.  Casplash takes audience members on a fantastic musical escapade via the beautiful sounds of the steel pan, soulful singing and hot tropical rhythms. The band leads audiences in familiar dances such as the electric slide, hokey pokey, conga line and limbo; they also teach a traditional  West Indian follow-the-leader style dance called brown girl in the ring.

2 to 3 p.m. — Songs & Puppetry with Janice Buckner on the Rainbow Chapin Stage. Janice has appeared on radio and television, as well as over 4,000 schools and concert halls.  She entertains audi.ences of all ages with her voice, guitars, puppets and her knowledge of Sign Language for the Deaf.  She is noted for her voice, her creativity and the outstanding quality of her lyrics.

4 p.m. ­— Festival closes (Museum exhibits on view until 5 p.m.)

Dondi Rollins, Jr. leads the entire cast in ‘Flying Low.’ Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

Fighting co-workers, a murder mystery and the future rituals of dating — Theatre Three’s shining jewel, the annual Festival of One-Act Plays, delved into all that and more as it opened last Saturday afternoon for a nine-performance run.

Now in its 19th year, the festival, under the direction of founder Jeffrey Sanzel, showcases six wonderful, original works selected from nearly 400 submissions. The actors take the audience on a marathon, performing the plays back to back.

From left, Steve Ayle, Joan St. Onge, Hans Paul Hendrickson, Amanda Geraci and Linda May star in a scene from ‘OK Computer.’ Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions Inc.
From left, Steve Ayle, Joan St. Onge, Hans Paul Hendrickson, Amanda Geraci and Linda May star in a scene from ‘OK Computer.’ Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

The new plays go “from page to stage; from blank slate to fully realized production,” Sanzel explained. “These are premieres; they are ‘firsts.’” Raw themes such as depression, murder, love and work relationships are all explored on an equal playing field in the intimate setting of The Ronald F. Peierls Theatre on the Second Stage.

The festival kicks off with John Kane’s “Ben and Rachel Go to the Movies,” starring veteran actors TracyLynn Conner and Brian Smith, whose relationship is revealed to the audience only by visits to the cinema over a span of more than 40 years. From their first date watching “Dr. Zhivago” (1965) to “Titanic” in the 1990s and beyond, we watch them grow old together.

Alex Dremann’s comedy “A Clean Dislike” introduces the audience to Annie (Linda May) and Marjorie (Joan St. Onge), co-workers who try, with hilarious sarcastic banter, to figure out why they don’t like each other, an issue that many can relate to. May and St. Onge tackle their roles with zeal and stay in character long after the play.

From left, Brett Chizever, Sheila Sheffield and Brian Smith star in ‘Bro.’ Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions Inc.
From left, Brett Chizever, Sheila Sheffield and Brian Smith star in ‘Bro.’ Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

The most emotionally draining play is presented right before intermission with Jules Tasca’s “Flying Low,” which was inspired by the crash of A320 Airbus Flight 4U 9525 last March. The plane, which was traveling from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, plunged into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board. It was later discovered that the Germanwings co-pilot had deliberately crashed the plane. Dondi Rollins Jr. gives a powerful performance as the story dissects the sequence of events leading up to the tragic event, from the co-pilot breaking up with his girlfriend to suffering acute depression and not taking his medicine, to locking the pilot out of the cockpit and, finally, making his deadly decision. At the end of Saturday’s performance, there was not a dry eye in the room and the silence was deafening.

The festival continues after intermission with Robb Willoughby’s delicious dark thriller, “Bro.” After seeing his mother put white powder in his father’s coffee and then finding him dead shortly after, Mitchell, played by Brian Smith, is convinced that his mother is a murderer. The incident has left him so shaken that he has lost his job and has become paranoid about everything. His mother (Sheila Sheffield) insists the powder was just sweetener and that her husband died of a heart attack. She summons Mitchell’s brother Morgan (Brett Chizever) to help stage an intervention and get Mitchell psychological help. Is Mitchell crazy or isn’t he? Is his mother a murderer or isn’t she? And what’s this about a life insurance policy? The plot thickens.

A scene from "A Clean Dislike." Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions Inc.
A scene from “A Clean Dislike.” Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions Inc.

Steve McCoy shines in his solo performance of “Why This Monologue Isn’t Memorized: A True Story” by Kurt Sass, which offers the audience a glimpse into one man’s struggle with memory loss after receiving shock treatments for his depression. In coming to terms with his fate, he concludes, “I will not remember your faces after today but I hope some of you will remember mine.”

The show closes with Tom Moran’s “OK Computer” to explore marriage and mating rituals in a futuristic dystopian world, a world in which a computer named Big Data plays matchmaker, choosing life partners for willing and unwilling bachelors. “No more guesses means no more messes” is the system’s motto. Hans Paul Hendrickson plays hapless victim Colin 3912, whose fate seems to be sealed as he is matched up with the mirror image of himself, Jillian 1293, played by Amanda Geraci.

The entire cast is superb, with notable mentions to the veteran one-act performer Smith, who has appeared in nearly three dozen plays, and newcomer Rollins who we simply must see more of.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present The 19th Annual Festival of One-Act Plays through May 14. Features adult content and language. Parental discretion is advised. Running time is two hours with one 15-minute intermission. Tickets are $18. For more information, call the box office at 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

Kirsten Maxwell recently won a singer-songwriter competition in Florida. Photo by Ken Farrell

Huntington High School graduate Kirsten Maxwell, 23, was like all other high school students at the end of her senior year. When she graduated in 2010, the singer-songwriter didn’t know what she’d pursue at SUNY Potsdam in the fall.

“Both of my parents majored in music, but it didn’t occur to me that that was a path,” Maxwell said in a phone interview.

Her high school music teacher, Jason Giachetti, encouraged Maxwell to capitalize on her musical talent for a career.

She said Giachetti helped her put together a repertoire of songs and gave her music theory lessons every day at 7 a.m.

The hard work put into her foundation has paid off. After graduating from SUNY Geneseo in 2014 with a creative writing degree, she was a winner at the annual South Florida Folk Festival Singer-Songwriter competition in Fort Lauderdale in January.

That win may not come as a surprise to those familiar with her abilities. Giachetti, who is in his 16th year at Huntington High School, said he heard Maxwell sing for the first time during a vocal contest. Maxwell was in the chorus, but he said he didn’t know how talented she was until then, and told her she had to pursue a career in music.

“I’m just unbelievably proud of her,” Giachetti said in a phone interview. “For an educator of any sort, seeing one of their students really follow their dreams, it’s a dream come true.”

Maxwell’s path to a music career began long before high school, however. Her mother was an opera singer and her father was a conductor, and Maxwell said she grew up singing. When she was 12, she learned how to play the guitar and started writing some of her own songs.

“I’ve been writing ever since,” Maxwell said. She released her first album, entitled “Crimson,” independently in 2015. The album was part of a “healing process” following a particular relationship, she said, and its tone has a distinctive contemporary folk sound.

She is touted on her website as the “love child” of “Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot … raised with the help of godmothers Judy Collins and Maria Muldaur.” In her quest to make a living out of music, Maxwell said she’ll define her success by being not only financially stable, but also by being mentioned in the same breath as some of the iconic 1960s folksinging women.

“Things have changed, but I’d love to have the kind of career and image and respect that they’ve gained over the years,” she said.

Those who have heard her don’t hesitate to heap praise on the up-and-coming artist and her talent.

Jon Stein, who hosts a folk music-focused podcast called “The Hootenanny Cafe,” is a fan of Maxwell, according to her website.

“I never thought I’d ever hear a voice as angelic and mesmerizing as I did when I first listened to Joan Baez some 50 years ago, but then I heard the voice, songs and melodies of Kirsten Maxwell,” Stein said.

Maxwell credits her upbringing in Huntington as building a foundation for her music career, and now she will get to perform for the community that raised her. She is slated to perform a live show at the Huntington Public Library on March 25.

“It’s definitely significant in the fact that I have sort of a hometown pride and connection, growing up [and] being in the area,” she said.

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Port Jefferson was crawling with costumed characters and Christmas spirit on Saturday and Sunday for the 20th annual Charles Dickens Festival.

Residents and visitors took rides on horse-drawn carriages, met Santa Claus, heard music from the 19th century and checked out a puppet parade.

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Festival of Trees returns to the Village Center

A scene from a previous year’s Charles Dickens Festival. Photo by Bob Savage

The Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council, in conjunction with the Village of Port Jefferson, will host the 20th Annual Charles Dickens Festival this weekend, Dec. 5 and 6, throughout the Village of Port Jefferson. The Village will magically transform into the Dickensian era, with streets filled with roaming characters such as Father Christmas, the Dickens Mayor, Scrooge, the Town Crier and the beloved chimney sweeps.

A scene from a previous year’s Charles Dickens Festival. Photo by Bob Savage
A scene from a previous year’s Charles Dickens Festival. Photo by Bob Savage

All events are open to the public and most attractions are free of charge. Begin your Dickens adventure with a Grand Opening Celebration Parade on East Main Street, Saturday morning at 11 a.m.

The festivities will feature many returning favorites, including ice skating at the Village Center, a cappella performances by choirs and harmony groups, Nutcracker performances, magic shows by The Great Wizard of the North, and many fine musical performances by area musicians. In addition, this year’s festival will feature Theatre Three’s 32nd annual production of “A Christmas Carol.”

Returning for its second year is the Festival of Trees, located on the second floor of the Port Jefferson Village Center. The festival was the brainchild of Jill Russell, who handles public relations for the Village. “I first saw it years ago in Oklahoma City, where I grew up. They [also] had something called Festival of Trees. It was almost like an international festival of trees. Different countries were represented,” said Russell in a recent phone interview.

Eighteen beautifully decorated trees will grace the second floor, decorated in various themes. New entries this year include the First United Methodist Church, Ace Hardware, the Fox and the Owl Inn, The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, Antique Costumes and Prop Rentals by Nan, Theatre Three and Olde Town Gardens, whose tree will feature a train.

Returning favorites include, among others, Jolie Powell Realty, Port Jefferson Rotary, Stony Brook Confucius Institute, Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Bridgehampton National Bank, Danfords Hotel and Marina, Friends of the Port Jefferson Free Library, the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council and Red Sled. In addition, top sponsors Empire National Bank and Maia Salon Spa and Wellness will also showcase a tree in the festival.

The trees were set up last weekend and the designers came in on Sunday and Monday to decorate. The event has really taken off. “We still get people asking ‘How do you get a tree?’ It is wildly popular,” said Russell. “It goes through the month of December, and it is so beautiful and people enjoy it so much because they come to ice skate, they come to see the trees — both things feed off of one other; they go look at the gallery exhibit. It just breathes a whole new life to the Village Center. With the ice rink and the Festival of Trees, it has been really incredible.”

“Already, in year two, it has become competitive — with not what you do to your tree but how you embellish the tree and the surrounding area and how you create a theme,” she laughed. “It’s been fun.”

New to the Dickens Festival this year will be an event titled Let There Be Light, a dazzling light show projected on Village Hall. Animated characters will appear in the front windows surrounded by swirling Christmas decorations, giant snowflakes and sparkly stars. The presentation will be available for viewing during the weekend from 6 to 7:30 p.m., on the half hour, for 15 minutes of dazzling fun and will be shown each weekend leading up to Christmas — weather permitting. The Harbormaster building will be transformed into Cookieland, where children can decorate their own holiday-oriented cookies and houses.

As in past years, East Main Street will become Dickens Alley, and Fezziwig’s Ball, featuring live music on traditional instruments led by a dance caller, will take place at the Masonic Lodge. An impressive model train display will be featured on the corner of East Main and Main on Dec. 5, from noon to 5 p.m. and Dec. 6, from noon to 4 p.m., while the Port Jefferson Free Library will feature new programming and the fabulous Dickens Cottage next to the main building.

Horse and carriage rides will thrill the young and young-at-heart, and the trolley will help transport visitors to various venues throughout the Village for the entire weekend. The Port Jeff Jitney bus will transport visitors to and from downtown, from the free parking areas found outside the Village.

 This year’s honoree is Pat Darling Kiriluk, the creator of a holiday tradition and highlight of the festival — Santa’s Workshop, located at the corner of W. Broadway and Barnum Avenue. Join Santa and his elves and wind through three whimsically decorated rooms. Twinkling white lights, elaborate confection displays, and giant nutcrackers are just a few of the signature elements that bring the magic of Christmas to life. The workshop will be open weekends from 1 to 5 p.m. through Dec. 14.

The 20th Annual Dickens Festival will conclude with a Parade of Puppets and a ceremony at Village Hall on Sunday evening. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.pjdickens.com.

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