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Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce

Dragons will roar on the North Shore once again as The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts the 6th annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The free event will take place at Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson and the village’s inner harbor.

The festival is the brainchild of Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, who attended a dragon boat race festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years ago.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m. and include a performance by the Asian Veterans Color Guard, singing of the national anthem by Peggy Yin, a Blessing of the Dragon and the traditional “Eye Dotting” ceremony to awaken the dragon.

This year’s event will consist of 27 teams with dragon boats provided by High Five Dragon Boat Co. With the first race scheduled for 9 a.m., boat teams will compete on a 250-meter, three-lane racing course. Each team is made up of 20 “paddlers,” one steersman and one drummer. Heats will run all day, culminating in an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. All race teams will have their own “encampment” along Harborfront Park as they are queuing up for their races. Team contests for the best team T-shirt and best costumed drummer will be judged in the middle of the day.

Spectators can easily view the race course from the park’s edge and pier.

In addition to the races, there will be a day-long festival featuring numerous performances including the famous Lion Dance, Taiko and Korean Drum performances, martial arts demonstrations and Asian singing and instrumentals. There will be many cultural and educational vendors and retailers as well. New this year the best “drumming performance” sponsored by Taiko Tides and two new dragon statues.

Six food trucks will be on hand offering American, Italian, Chinese dishes as well as empanadas, smoothies and barbecue options.

Children’s activities will be in abundance with traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, origami, kite making, trick yo-yo demonstrations and face painting. Adults can enjoy free chair massages, as well as free health screenings.

Free shuttle buses provided by the Port Jeff Jitney will make frequent stops on Oakland Avenue next to the Port Jefferson train station, the CVS parking lot on Barnum Avenue and the northeast corner of Belle Terre Road and Myrtle Avenue to bring eventgoers to the Port Jefferson Village Center from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Special thanks to this year’s sponsors, which include Murphy’s Marine Service-PJ Sea Tow, Incorporated Port Jefferson Village, Port Jefferson Yacht Club, Harbor Ballet Theatre, and  the Port Jefferson Ambulance Suffolk County School Crossing Guards, the Confucius Institute of Stony Brook, NY Community Bank-Roslyn Savings Division, News 12, Jet Sanitation, Island Federal Union, TBR News Media, Danfords-Hotel Marina & Spa & The Waterview-Crest Hospitality, The Gitto Group, Peoples United Bank, PSEG and Servpro of Port Jefferson.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities. The event will be held rain or shine. For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffdragonracefest.com.

Schedule of events

7:45 a.m.  Team captains meeting on the Great Lawn at Harborfront Park

8:30 a.m.  Opening ceremonies: Asian Veterans Color Guard; Singing of the National Anthem- Peggy Yin ‘acapella’; Introductions of VIP’s-Blessing of the Dragon and ‘Eye Dotting’ Ceremony

8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Food vendors, cultural crafts, children activities, retail/educational/nonprofit vendor tables

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Continual Dragon Boat races in Port Jefferson’s Inner Harbor

9 a.m.  First races begin

10 to 11:30 a.m. LI Waist Drum, Riprise Music, Tai Chi-Demonstrations-Stony Brook Chinese School & Long Island School of Chinese, Yana Dance Group, Sound of Long Island Chorus

12 to 1 p.m.  Lunch break (no racing)

12:30 to 1 p.m. Parade of the Team T-shirts Contest & ‘Best Drummer’ Costumer Contest

1 to 2 p.m. Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu-Lion Dance, Kung Fu  & Tai Chi Demonstrations

2 to 3:30 p.m. LI Chinese Dance Group, Lingyan Vocal Art Studio; Alice & Emily Dance Duo; North Shore Youth Music Ensemble

3:30 to 4 p.m.  LI School of Chinese Mother’s Dance Team, Stony Brook Chinese School;  Peggy Yin & Claire Yang-Singing ‘My Homeland’, ‘Big Fish’ Ivan Ge-Keyboard; Zekey Huang-Violin

4 to 4:30 p.m. DDKY-2 Traditional Korean Percussion Pieces-‘Youngnam’ & ‘Chil-chae’;  Junko Fisher-Japanese Dance-‘Matsushima’

4:30 to 5 p.m.  United Martial Arts Center-UMAC Marital Arts Demonstration, Yixin’s Dance Center performing Girl’s Love, Picking Osmuda Flower, The Blue and White Porcelain & Auspicious Peacock

4:45 p.m. Last Dragon Boat race of the day

5 to 5:30 p.m.  Closing ceremonies and awards

Photos courtesy of Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce


On May 24, the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for the main Law Office of Heather N. Kaplan, Esq., located at 84 Nesconset Hwy., Suite 2, in Port Jefferson Station. A second office is located in Garden City.

Pictured above, Heather Kaplan, center, with husband Joshua and their three children Julia, Lily and Charlotte cut the ribbon under the business’ sign surrounded by family member Andrea Freundlinger; Chamber President Joy Pipe of East End Shirt Co.; chamber members Tess Son of Digital Marketing Consultant and Nancy Bradley of People’s United Bank; and law firm staff members Brittany Garavelli, Diane Ferrette, Ali Kaplan and Amanda Caponi.

Specializing in New York State worker’s compensations claims, Kaplan is an accomplished litigator and has achieved excellent results at the Workers’ Compensation Board, New York Supreme Court and at the Appellate Courts.

For more information, call 631-574-2624 or visit www.nyinjuredworker.com.

Dressed in purple, runners took to the streets for the newly renamed Jill Nees-Russell Power of One Family Fun Run. Photo by Kyle Barr

A wave of purple flooded through Port Jeff May 18 as the Royal Educational Foundation hosted their sixth annual Family Fun Run, now named in honor of Jill Nees-Russell, an active village resident and foundation member who died last year.

Close to 200 people came out for the yearly event, raising funds for the foundation’s efforts to promote and aid the local school district. As the event went under way, foundation treasurer Laura Zimmerman spoke on the verge of tears about Nees-Russell, a proponent of both the foundation and the school district. She was nominated three times for the Power of One award, but was ineligible for the first time, too sick to receive it the second. Instead of giving her the award posthumously, the organization instead decided to rename the entire event in her honor. 

“We wanted to recognize Jill’s contribution to our village, school and community with a lasting tribute to her amazing spirit,” she said.

In addition to their Power of One award, the foundation awarded $750 to Fred Russell, Jill’s husband, who plans to use the money to create a scholarship in her name.

This year’s Power of One award went to Tony Butera, a teacher in the Port Jefferson School District who the foundation said inspires students and others in and out of the classroom. 

“To even be mentioned in the same space as Jill is an honor,” he said.

Port Jeff Chamber wellness fair showcases the bounty of healthy living

After the run, hundreds congregated at the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School gym for the 10th annual Health and Wellness Festival, hosted by the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.

Visitors could learn more about eating healthy, dieting, exercising and medicine from multiple vendors such as Mather and Stony Brook University hospitals. Participants even had the opportunity for face painting and to participate in goat yoga, doing poses such as “downward kid,” and “stretching goat.”

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Barbara Ransome, front, and journalistic scholars visited Port Jefferson May 10. Photo by Kyle Barr

Something is always new to somebody.

Sixty-three people from 23 different countries were in Port Jefferson village May 10 as the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies surveyed the surroundings as part of its 14th annual conference.

Journalistic scholars visited Port Jefferson May 10. Photo by Kyle Barr

The conference has been held in many other parts of the world, such as Paris, France; Porto Alegre, Brazil and Vienna, Austria, but this is the first event held on the U.S East Coast. Though the conference is being hosted through Stony Brook University and the School of Journalism, the association wanted to emphasize Port Jefferson’s unique flavor of historical significance and modern small-town charm. Members came from as far away as Mexico, Brazil, Poland and all the way to Australia.

Chamber of Commerce Director of Operations Barbara Ransome took the visitors on a tour from Danford’s Hotel, to the Village Center, which was once a shipwright warehouse where shipbuilders constructed masts and other ship parts, and up East Main Street to the Knitting Corner, which was partially the old location of the Bucket of Blood inn. The group then traveled past the Port Jefferson Free Library, visiting the Brewster House and other landmark homes before ending the tour at the Island Christian Church.

This year's event will feature samplings from Danfords Wave Seafood & Steak

Save the date! The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Dan’s Papers, will host its 11th annual The Taste @ Port Jefferson at the Village Center, 101-A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson overlooking the Harborfront Park and harbor on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 6 to 10 p.m.

This year’s event will feature  samplings from Kilwins. 

In celebration, the chamber has reached out to the greater Port Jefferson restaurant community and will highlight over 20 restaurants and purveyors offering top-quality food tastings and desserts as well as samples of premium liquors, wines and beers. The event, for ages 21 and over, will feature musical entertainment by the popular band 1 Step Ahead. 

As of press time, participating businesses include Barito’s, Bliss Restaurant, C’est Cheese, Costco, Danfords Wave Seafood & Steak, Dos MexiCuban Cantina, Kilwins, Flying Pig Cafe, Haikara Sake, Twin Stills Moonshine, L.I. Pour House Bar & Grill, Locals Cafe, Manhattan Beer, MELTology Mount Sinai, PJ Brewing Co., Port Jefferson Frigate, PJ Lobster House, Slurp Ramen, Starbucks, The Steam Room, St. Charles Hospital, Tuscany Gourmet Market, Uncle Giuseppe’s and The Waterview at Port Jefferson Country Club.

Sponsors this year include St. Charles Hospital, Paraco Gas, Harbor Hot Tubs, Haikara, TGIF Rentals and Fenelon Landscapes. BNB Bank is this year’s VIP Lounge Sponsor Dan’s Papers is the media sponsor.

Tickets, which may be purchased online at www.tasteatportjeff.com, are $70 per person for general admission starting at 7 p.m. and $99 for VIP guests at 6 p.m., which includes early access by one hour, a special VIP lounge with a private seating area, speciality spirits, dishes, wine pours and more. For further details, call 631-473-1414.

Photo from PJCC


The Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting in celebration of the grand opening of Ecolin Gift Gallery in the village. The event was attended by, from left, chamber members Mary Joy Pipe, Steve and Suzanne Velazquez, Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant, owner Russell Baker, chamber member Maryanne Douglas and Ecolin’s staff, Gloria Yack, Trisha Pearson and Diane Webb.

Located just two doors down from Ecolin Jewelers at 14 E. Broadway, the Gift Gallery carries handmade Made in America giftware by artists including Annie Nye Glass, Bandana Yardbirds, Cobb Glass, Exotic Sands, Hulet Glass, Sabbath Day Woods, Mikutkowski, Soul Glass, The Glass Forge, Raku Art and much more. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 631-473-1117.

“Eat well, live well” was the tagline for the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce annual Health & Wellness Fest, which was held April 22 at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School in Port Jefferson. Attendees were instructed on how to do both by vendors set up at tables in the school’s gymnasium, featuring representatives from Stony Brook Medicine, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, St. Charles Hospital and many others.

“It’s been growing every year, and in the last two years, we were so fortunate as to have St. Charles Hospital provide us with the healthy snacks, and that’s really helped us boost the attendance,” Chamber President Jim Karras said in an interview during the event.

Chamber director of operations Barbara Ransome was also pleased with the number of vendors who turned out to offer advice to interested community members.

“We had no extra tables this year,” she said. “We had over 80 tables this year…I think there were like 45 individual vendors…All of our local nonprofits, we don’t charge them, so we feel like this is giving back to our community.”

Karras said he is proud of what the chamber has built with the annual event.

“There’s a lot of health and wellness events in the area, but I think we’re the only one that has the three major hospitals sponsoring them,” he said. “That makes a big difference.”

Ransome thanked the district for their hospitality.

“We want to put a shout out to our school,” she said. “Fred Koelbel, who is the superintendent of buildings here for the Port Jefferson School District, and for them to allow us to use this great facility, we have elevated this event.”

Other vendors included Jefferson’s Ferry lifecare community, L.I. Botanical Wellness, Save-A-Pet, Paws of War, Port Jefferson Hearing and many more.

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The third annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival took place Sept. 17 in Harborfront Park and Port Jefferson Harbor. FDNY United won the competition, though more than 300 total medals were awarded to various participants according to the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, who organized the event. Hundreds came out to enjoy the races and festivities, which included performances, food vendors, music and more.

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Port Jefferson’s annual Heritage Weekend celebration took place Aug. 20 and 21 at 19 locations throughout the village. Visitors made stops at the Village Center, Drowned Meadow Cottage Museum, Port Jefferson Village Chamber of Commerce and more to take in historical sights and sounds during the two-day event. Funding for the event was provided in part by a grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.

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The Eckford Base Ball Club is set to play a game with rules from 1864 during Heritage Weekend. Photo from Port Jeff Village

By Rebecca Anzel

Port Jefferson Village’s second annual Heritage Weekend is fast approaching. The event features more than 15 cultural and historical locations for residents and visitors to explore on Saturday, Aug. 20, and Sunday Aug. 21. Each stop is set to include presentations with interesting information, historical photos of Drowned Meadow, as the village was previously known, and fun, interactive activities.

The Port Times Record will preview each of the featured locations around the village leading up to Heritage Weekend. This week includes a look at the pop-up exhibit of community favorite Grammas’ Sweets restaurant; an old-time baseball game at the chamber of commerce; a photograph exhibit and tour of Drowned Meadow Cottage Museum; and a historic schooner available for attendees to explore.

Grammas’ Sweets

Grammas’ original neon sign is being re-created by craftsmen for Heritage Weekend. Photo from Port Jeff Village
Grammas’ original neon sign is being re-created by craftsmen for Heritage Weekend. Photo from Port Jeff Village

The Home Art Gallery on Main Street will soon transform into a pop-up exhibit of cherished town restaurant Grammas’ Sweets.

Jill Russell, Port Jefferson Village media relations and marketing consultant, is the weekend’s chairperson and the woman in charge of the event. She said the right side of the space will be transformed into a re-creation of what Grammas’ looked like, complete with a checkered floor, candy cases and a soda bar.

The left, occupying what now is a gallery space, will be a timeline that tells the story of Grammas’ through photography, stories and anecdotes. There will be soda jerks behind the counter showing off old menus and display cases containing vintage candy around the space.

“What’s really going to get everybody’s attention is the re-creation on the right side,” Russell said. “But for me, the stuff on the left is going to be very, very fascinating. I just love the entire exhibit — I really do — for different reasons, and I think others will too.”

Despite rumors of Grammas’ original sign being used in the space, Russell said it was destroyed. Instead, she is working with craftsmen to create a new sign that will fit over the Home Art Gallery’s. It will be based on a photograph Russell found of the original neon sign.

Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce

The Eckford Base Ball Club is set to play a game with rules from 1864 during Heritage Weekend. Photo from Port Jeff Village
The Eckford Base Ball Club is set to play a game with rules from 1864 during Heritage Weekend. Photo from Port Jeff Village

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce is hosting two attractions sure to draw in a crowd. Parked in front of the building on West Broadway will be several Model A Ford Club of America cars, which Chamber Director of Operations Barbara Ransome said will hopefully bring visitors inside the building, which was constructed in 1682.

The historic building, called Roe House, has ties to the Culper Spy Ring. Descendants of John Roe helped get information to General George Washington to help win the Revolutionary War.

Outside will be a vintage 9-inning baseball game played by rules used in 1864. The umpires will be operating using rules from that time, which Ransome said are “totally different from what we do today.” Village residents will be competing against players from Eckford Base Ball Club of Brooklyn — both teams wearing 19th century uniforms. A quick presentation will precede the game and the Chamber will be giving out ices.

Drowned Meadow Cottage Museum

The Lettie G. Howard schooner, one of the last vessels of its kind in existence, will be available for attendees of Heritage Weekend. Photo from Port Jeff Village
The Lettie G. Howard schooner, one of the last vessels of its kind in existence, will be available for attendees of Heritage Weekend. Photo from Port Jeff Village

Down the road from the Chamber, on the corner of Barnum and West Broadway, sits Drowned Meadow Cottage Museum. Constructed around 1765, the building is named after the area’s original name.

Dr. Georgette Grier-Key, its historian and curator, will have two exhibits ready for Heritage Weekend. The first is called “History Squared,” where artists will use village archives to create artwork with various mediums on a 12×12 inch square. The second, called “Patriots’ Stand” will feature 28 rare prints from the American Revolution. Artifacts from Drowned Meadow will also be exhibited and tours of the building will be offered.

“This event is so exciting because it’s a way to celebrate our role in our nation’s independence,” Grier-Key said. “We take a lot of pride in this crowning jewel for Port Jefferson.”

Historic schooner

A national historic landmark schooner will be docked along the water. The craft, the Lettie G. Howard, was built in 1893 as a commercial fishing vessel and is one of the last vessels of its kind in existence. It will be representing Port Jefferson’s rich heritage of shipbuilding and be open to the public all weekend. Guides will be onboard to share the history of the boat and the village’s relationship with building such crafts.