Authors Posts by Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton

Heidi Sutton

The Smithtown Historical Society’s Frank Brush Barn will be decorated for the holidays during the Society’s Heritage Country Christmas on Dec. 5. File photo

Join the Smithtown Historical Society, 239 E. Main St., Smithtown for their annual Heritage Country Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 4 to 8 p.m. Enjoy holiday caroling, historic cooking, s’mores, ornament decorating, tree lighting, a winter hayride, and a visit with Santa Claus! Rain date is Dec. 6. $5 for an hour time slot. Tickets are available through Eventbrite. For more information, call 631-265-6768.

Lorelai Mucciolo and Jae Hughes reprise their roles as Emily and Amos the Mouse this year. Photo by Carmen Barbosa

By Heidi Sutton

While the doors of the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts (SPAC) on Main Street remain shuttered, the theater continues its partnership with the Smithtown Historical Society to present the magic of live theater for young audiences. Following in the footsteps of sold-out performances of Moana Jr. in the summer and Spookley the Square Pumpkin in the fall, SPAC now brings the community a socially distant outdoor production of Ken Ludwig’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The show will run on various Saturdays and Sundays on the grounds of the society through Dec. 24.

It’s Christmas Eve and Uncle Brierly (Evan Donellan) attempts to read his favorite poem, Clement C. Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to the audience. He gets as far as, “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” only to be interrupted by a mouse who is in fact stirring batter to make cookies for Santa in hopes that he’ll show up this year.

The mouse, named Amos (Jae Hughes), insists that Santa skipped the house the year before, a claim backed up by Emily (Lorelai Mucciolo), Brierly’s niece and Amos’ best friend. An elf named Calliope (Gabrielle Arroyo) suddenly appears and confirms that Santa’s naughty-or-nice list went missing last year and other families suffered the same fate.

With only a few hours left until Christmas Day, Calliope, Emily and a very reluctant Amos set off on a plane to the North Pole on a quest to prevent this from happening again and to save Christmas.

When they arrive at Santa’s workshop, they overhear a former elf, Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Donellan), tell his sidekick Mulch (Anthony Panarello), how he sold the children’s Christmas wish list to retailers last year and plans to do it again this year. What follows is a madcap rush to retrieve this year’s list with a surprise appearance from Amos’s brother from Kansas (the incredible Hughes in a dual role), a hysterical case of mistaken identity, an exciting sword fight, an elf cheer, a visit from Santa Claus (Panarello) and a hilarious chase scene around the stage to the Benny Hill theme song.

Will Emily, Amos and Calliope succeed in their quest? Will all the boys and girls receive presents this year? Was it all a dream? With the underlying holiday message that the best Christmas presents don’t come in packages and to make life an adventure, this show is truly a joyful tribute to the holiday season!

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts presents Ken Ludwig’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in the open air outdoor performance space behind the Smithtown Historical Society’s Roseneath Cottage, 239 Middle Country Rd., Smithtown on Dec. 12, 13, 19, 20 and 24 at 11 a.m. Running time is one hour with no intermission. Masks are required. Tickets are $18 per person.

For an additional $7 per family (5 person maximum), guests are invited to stay after the show for a distanced photo opportunity with a live Santa followed by photo opportunities at other locations on the property with Santa’s elves, field of snowmen, lighted Christmas tree, etc., all outside and safely distanced, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Bring your own camera.

To order tickets for either event, please visit

Stock photo

Books & Things Christmas Sale

St. James Episcopal Church, 490 North Country Road, St. James hosts a Books & Things Christmas Sale on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring an extensive collection of Christmas decorations and collectibles, books, CDs, china and household items. Face masks are mandatory. For more information, call 631-584-5560.

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport presents Bright Lights, a month-long holiday celebration on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through December 20 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Evenings will include holiday lights, themed light-up displays, festive foods, music, and Santa Claus and his friends — reindeer, snowmen, gingerbread people, nutcrackers, and elves — all portrayed by costumed actors. The Vanderbilt Mansion gardens will be decorated for the season. The Museum is presenting the event in collaboration with Redmax Events.

“We’re thrilled to invite everyone to kick off the holiday season and celebrate with us. The decorated Estate grounds will become a winter wonderland,” said Elizabeth Wayland-Morgan, executive director of the Vanderbilt Museum. “Bright Lights is our first-ever holiday winter walk and will offer evenings of family fun for all.”

For everyone’s safety, all visitors must adhere strictly to all current public health and safety guidelines and practices, including social distancing. All guests must wear a mask when unable to maintain six feet of social distance.

Tickets to the event are $25 adults, $20 members; $15 children under 12, $10 members. Children under the age of 2 are free. To order, visit

*Video is from Vanderbilt Museum’s Facebook Page

The Reboli Center
A hand fabricated cuff bracelet by Jessica Randall

During this holiday season, The Reboli Center for Art and History, 64 Main Street, Stony Brook welcomes Jessica Randall and Renee Fondacaro to set up Pop Up Shops on Dec. 5 from 11 a m. to 6 p.m. and Dec. 6 from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. All are welcome to visit and shop for something original and handmade.

Jessica Randall is an artist, silversmith and jewelry designer whose studio is located in Setauket, NY. She has been designing and making jewelry for over 20 years, and is inspired by found objects and nature, particularly the sea. Her pieces are designed to be worn everyday as wearable artwork. Jessica’s jewelry is 24K gold.

A candle from Old Field Apothecary

Renee Fondacaro, founder of Old Field Apothecary, creates hand poured, small batch candles, wax melts and home accessories. All products are made from a vegan wax blend of natural coconut and apricot. The waxes are gluten-free, toxin free, paraben free, phthalate free, and come from renewable sources.  The entire blend utilizes only FDA approved waxes.

While there, visitors are welcome to enjoy the Center’s current exhibit, Celebrate the Season, with artwork from local artists, and the Center’s Design Shop. Masks must be worn, and social distancing is required. For further information, please call the Reboli Center at 631-751-7707.

Seven the Barred Owl, pictured with raptor volunteer Scott Bloechle, was the star of Sweetbriar Nature Center’s Holiday Party for Wildlife and Craft Market in Smithtown Nov. 27 and 28. The well-attended event, which featured local handmade craft and artist vendors, food trucks, animal presentations and story time for the kids, raised well over $1,000 to help take care of the injured wildlife at the center. “We were very happy with the great turnout and thankful for the community support,” said Sweetbriar’s program coordinator Veronica Sayers.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

By Daniel Dunaief

Children may not be able to sit on Santa’s lap this holiday season, but they will have a chance to chat with him.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization has announced a Holiday Program for the Stony Brook Village Center to be held December 6, 2020. WMHO will be bringing Santa Claus direct from the North Pole live over Zoom. 45-minute free sessions will run at  2, 3 and 4 p.m.

Santa will speak to 100 children during each hour. Residents can sign up to share their holiday wish list through Eventbrite, which will have a description of how each session will run.

A special mailbox just for letters to Santa will be at the Stony Brook Post Office, 111 Main Street in Stony Brook starting on Dec. 6.

Parents and their children eager to connect with Santa can go to, which will have a link to the Eventbrite registration. Each child will have between one and two minutes with the bearded wonder.

“Our organization does distance learning for schools and we are excited to use our technology pieces to bring Santa Claus to the children,” said Gloria Rocchio, President of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization. “With this approach, we can make children happy and the families safe.”

Eventbrite is also providing a link for the public to make a suggested donation to the 25th annual Santa Fund, which provides people in need with clothing, food, essential items and gifts.

Guests can also place their holiday present requests with Santa in the Chat Box during their zoom session or mail it physically at the Santa Mail Box in front of the Stony Brook Post Office, which will also start receiving wish lists on Dec. 6.

After the Santa interactions on Zoom, residents can watch the Stony Brook Village Center Facebook Page which features a tree lighting on the Village Green at 5:30 pm.

To reserve a virtual spot to visit with Santa in the North Pole on Sunday, December 6th 2020 visit the WMHO’s Eventbrite page at

For further information, please call 631-751-2244.

Photos courtesy of WMHO

Thanks to all the children who entered Times Beacon Record News Media’s Thanksgiving Coloring Contest! The second annual event had creative kids across our coverage area sharpening their colored pencils and breaking out the markers. Congratulations to 7-year-old Emily C. of Port Jefferson Station and 5-year-old Charlee H. of Sound Beach for being this year’s winners. They both received a $25 gift certificate to Chocolate Works in Stony Brook. Special thanks to Chocolate Works for sponsoring our contest! Happy Thanksgiving!

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Reichert Planetarium, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport presents The Little Star That Could on Nov. 28 and 29 at 12:15 p.m. The Little Star That Could is a story about Little Star, an average yellow star in search for planets of his own to protect and warm. Along the way, he meets other stars, learns what makes each star special, and discovers that stars combine to form star clusters and galaxies. Eventually, Little Star finds his planets. ages 4 to 8. Tickets, which include admission to the museum and access to the grounds, are $13 for children, $16 adults, $15 seniors at the door. To order, in advance, visit

Suzie. Photo from Smithtown Animal Shelter


This week’s shelter pet is Suzie, a 12-year-old Border Collie waiting at the Smithtown Animal Shelter to be adopted in time for the holidays. She and her two senior siblings sadly lost their dad and want to live out their golden years showered with love.

Suze does have significant arthritis and a chronic skin disease. She is available for adoption or forever foster in a home that can manager her medication. She has a young and playful spirit, even if her body isn’t always up to it. She loves to be petted, to be outside exploring and FOOD! She can live with another calm dog and children ages 12 and up. She is spayed, microchipped and up to date on her vaccines.

If you are interested in meeting Suzie, please call ahead to schedule an hour to properly interact with her in the shelter’s Meet and Greet Room.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Operating hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the weekend. For more information, please call 631-360-7575 or visit