On Sept. 22, visitors to the Smithtown Heritage Society had the opportunity to explore the organization’s grounds during its annual Heritage Country Fair.
Attendees enjoyed live music, traditional dancing, crafts, pumpkin painting, horse riding demonstrations, a petting zoo and more.
Visitors also had the opportunity to learn about fire engines and work trucks, see a blacksmith at work, climb into a DeLorean inspired by the “Back to the Future” car and explore the historic homes found on the property.
Save the date! The Smithtown Historical Society will host a Community Yard Sale at the Frank Brush Barn, 211 East Main St., Smithtown on Saturday, Aug. 17 from noon to 4 p.m. Come see the treasures your neighbors have to offer! Proceeds will help fund the society’s educational and farm programs. Questions? Call 631-265-6768.
The Suffolk County Kennel Club hosted the 12th annual AKC Canine Experience on the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society on Aug. 3. The event featured a day of activities for dogs and their owners including competitions in conformation, obedience and rally, plus agility demonstrations and run-thru’s.
Judges Toby Frisch and Samantha Keeler were tasked with choosing the top three winners of the day. Cooper, an Akita owned by Steve Lisker of East Rockaway, captured the Best Puppy in Match title; and River, an English Springer Spaniel owned by Tracey Monahan of Kings Park, won for Best Adult in Match. Holly, a long coat Chihuahua owned by Kerri Kimpel of Smithtown, captured the titled of Best in All Breed Sweeps in Match.
Attendees were also able to test their dogs for Canine Good Citizen titles, attended handling classes and received grooming tips. Join the group for its annual AKC Point Show at that same site on Sept. 28 with over 700 dogs participating. For additional information, visit www.suffolkcountykennelclub.org.
Photos by Heidi Sutton
By Leah Chiappino
“Smile!” A goat named Dash steals the show as he is placed on each attendee’s back for a photo-op as they are in a table top position. When my turn comes around, Dash has a hard time staying put on my back due to my inappropriate attire of work clothes, causing him to continually adorably slip off until he is able to steady himself for the shot.
It’s early June and I’m attending a Goat Yoga class at the Smithtown Historical Society. The session, which features 10 to 15 goats of all ages, is taught by yoga instructor Kelly Mitchell of the Buddha Barn in Bellmore, who after being inspired to begin animal activism by a dog fundraiser at her yoga studio, partnered with Karen Bayha from Steppin’ Out Ponies and Petting Zoo to begin teaching these outdoor sessions.
The classes may be more sought out by those looking for an Instagramable shot that is sure to get a surge of likes than die-hard “yogis” but manage to encompass the main benefits of yoga, which are, according to Mitchell, “love, connection, and union.”
The trend is growing. According to CNBC, Lainey Morse, founder of Original Goat Yoga classes in Corvallis, Oregon, made $160,000 in just her first year of business.
Since she started last summer, Mitchell said that her classes “usually always fill and sell out fast.”
Its rise in popularity reaps benefits for the Smithtown Historical Society, which has hosted Goat Yoga since 2017 after former director Marianne Howard started it with a friend, according to its executive director, Priya Kapoor. “I’ve seen people come from as far as Queens just to do this, people who normally wouldn’t know about the Smithtown Historical Society. [Goat Yoga] has been great for community exposure,” she said.
While its popularity may be due to its appearance on shows like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” Mitchell feels Goat Yoga is a unique opportunity to raise awareness for the goats themselves, most of whom are rescued by Bayha from slaughterhouses and neglectful pet owners.
Mitchell also hopes to bring to light the importance of animal welfare and abuse prevention. “I hope this makes people think differently about the choices they make,” she said.
On her website, www.buddhabarnyoga.com, the yoga instructor further discusses the impact Goat Yoga is having on her mission and newfound passion for animal welfare. “[Goat Yoga] has changed me as a human being. I wasn’t a big meat eater, but I am now a proud vegan. I wish my eyes were open sooner. But I will spend the rest of my life as an animal rights activist, not just a pet lover. With that being said, many practitioners left with a heightened awareness regarding animals in need. If just one person decides to reduce their meat consumption, then I’ve done my job,” she states.
Mitchell admitted that the yoga community sometimes “turns their nose up” to Goat Yoga, but she herself sees the beauty in it because “yoga itself is about connection; it’s about love. Just looking at the goats, you can see they’re so kind, friendly and silly. It’s just a beautiful way to not take life so seriously, get outside, and have fun with family and friends.”
This was evident throughout the session. From the goat that stayed put on one woman’s yoga mat to the beams across faces as a goat walked by, to the laughter when one goat relieved himself on an innocent yoga mat, the field where the class took place was filled with nothing but joy.
Perhaps the most touching aspect was the bond between Bayha and Dash, a goat whom she bottle fed and raised him “as his mother,” according to Mitchell. Now, when Bayha calls his name, he comes running with the same elation a human child would upon greeting his mother after being away from them for a weekend. The difference in this case was that Bayha was not away from Dash for even five minutes. People were in awe.
“It’s moments like this, when I see the excitement on people’s faces, that make me feel like I’m making a difference,” Mitchell said. She also feels this is a great way to introduce people to yoga. “It’s not scary. A lot of people that come into my studio are very intimidated. They don’t know what to expect, they think everybody will be twisting up in pretzels. This is a great way to get people to say ‘Wow, I might want to take a yoga class.’
IF YOU GO:
The Smithtown Historical Society hosts Goat Yoga classes for ages 18 and up in the field behind the Frank Brush Barn, 211 East Main St., Smithtown throughout the summer. All levels welcome. Please bring a mat, towel and a bottle of water.
Upcoming classes include July 19, July 26, Aug. 13, Aug. 19, Aug. 20, Sept. 5, Sept. 9 and Sept. 17. A 45-minute session is held at 5:30 and again at 6:45 p.m. Each session is $25 per person and must be paid in advance through www.eventbrite.com. For more information, call 631-265-6768 or visit www.smithtownhistorical.org.
By David Luces
Over 500 school kids from six different schools gathered on the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society on May 17 as they were brought back to a pivotal time in our country’s history.
The Smithtown organization hosted its annual Civil War re-enactment as visitors were taken back to the 1860s and got a chance to experience how life was for soldiers and civilians during this time period.
Re-enactors and living historians from the 67th New York Company, 9th Virginia Infantry, Company C and 30th Virginia Infantry, Company B, dressed in authentic wool uniforms, spoke to the students about life during the 1860s, showed them how meals were prepared, ran military drills, displayed different types of weaponry from the era and demonstrated a skirmish between Union and Confederate troops.
Guests were also able to visit and talk to a battlefield doctor and were shown a cavalry demonstration by Boots and Saddles Productions. The cavalry showed students how different types of weapons were used while riding into battle and members took turns slashing at balloons tied to a wooden pole with a sword and then showed the difficulty of shooting a firearm while on a horse.
“I think it’s great that the students are here and they seem really excited,” said Smithtown Historical Society trustee Brian Clancy. “It’s a day off from school for them and they are learning something.”
For more information on the Smithtown Historical Society and its educational programs, visit www.smithtownhistorical.org.
The Smithtown Historical Society hosted a Spring Farm Festival in celebration of the season May 4. The family event included children’s games and crafts, pony rides and a petting zoo.
Artisans demonstrated traditional farm skills, such as sheep shearing, yarn spinning and weaving, wood-working and ironworking. The barn and carriage house were also open for the public to view.
All photos by David Ackerman.
Join the Smithtown Historical Society at the Frank Brush Barn, 211 East Main St., Smithtown for an evening of Supermarket BINGO on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. This is not your grandmother’s BINGO! Come for the fun and leave with a bag or two of groceries. Entry fee of $15, $10 members, $5 kids 12 and under and includes two sets of game cards, daubers, snacks and refreshments. Additional cards are available at $1 each. Reservations are suggested. Call 631-265-6768.
Celebrate Irish heritage with Irish Night at the Smithtown Historical Society’s Frank Brush Barn, 211 East Main St., Smithtown on March 11 at 7 p.m. Featuring corned beef and cabbage from Faraday’s of Smithtown, dancing by the Mulvihill-Lynch Studio of Irish Dance, live traditional Irish music by John Corr, raffles and a limerick contest. Tickets are $30, $25 members. Call 631-265-6768 for more information or to RSVP.