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A Christmas Story

The leg lamp is lit at Northport Hardware Co. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Northport residents gathered to see the town’s “award” light up for a 10th straight year.

Northport Hardware Co. has held a leg lamp-lighting ceremony for the past decade, playing off the famous lamp from the holiday classic “A Christmas Story.”

“I think it’s so popular because it’s a hometown event,” said Northport Village Mayor George Doll, who is the master of ceremonies for the lighting. “All the locals thought it was a great idea and it’s just grown and grown every year.” This year, there were more than 100 people gathered outside the hardware store.

Northport residents dance to Christmas music before the leg lamp-lighting at Northport Hardware Co. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Northport residents dance to Christmas music before the leg lamp-lighting at Northport Hardware Co. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

The Reichert family has owned the shop for more than 30 years, and when the leg lamps first began being sold, the Reicherts decided to have an impromptu lighting.

“We pulled a couple of guys from Gunther’s [Tap Room] and had the mayor light it,” Jim Reichert, one of the owners of the hardware store, said of the original lighting. Every year after, it became more elaborate, according to Reichert. A projector outside the store plays the movie, a snow machine adds to the ambiance, and the Northport High School kickline team performs for the crowd.

Reichert said that the event is a village collaboration, with residents volunteering to do the lighting, the sound and more.

“It’s a great family night,” he said. “I never expected it to grow this much.”

Doll said when the event started, there was no intention of making the lighting an annual ceremony, but “the event just took a life of its own, and every year people ask if we’re going to do it again.”

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Mark your calendars for upcoming classic movies at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts Center. Photo by Heidi Sutton

By Rita J. Egan

The year 2015 marked Smithtown’s 350th anniversary and the return of movies to the town. In addition to commemorative events, locals were able to stop by the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts and take in a feature film to enhance their trip down memory lane.

The movie theater that once operated in the building where SCPA stands today opened in 1933 and offered motion pictures until November of 2001. Toward the end of November 2014, the building, which has not been significantly altered aesthetically in over 80 years, once again became home to beloved movies to commemorate the town’s milestone. While the original lineup of films planned for the theater will wrap up on Oct. 30 with “The Sixth Sense” and “The Exorcist,” management has planned to offer more movies in the upcoming months. Tickets for this double feature are $10.00.

Nov. 27 — ‘The Wizard Of Oz’
Dec. 4 — ‘A Christmas Story’
Jan. 8 — ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (1956)
Jan. 9 — ‘Rocky’
Jan. 15 — ‘The Addams Family’
Jan. 16 — ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’
Jan. 22 — ‘Carrie’ (1976)
Jan. 23 — ‘The Silence of the Lambs’
Feb. 5 — ‘Network’
Feb. 6 — ‘Dirty Harry’
June 16 — ‘Hook’
June 24 — ‘Thelma & Louise’
*All movies start at 7 p.m. and are $8 per ticket.

Ian Washington, house manager, hosted numerous movie nights at the theater this year. Washington said while attendance varied, overall the movie nights were well received by local residents. During the year he heard comments such as “we’re so happy you’re doing this again” and “please keep doing it.”

Washington said in addition to theatergoers being pleased to see the films, they also requested that the performing arts center show others. “It was a great experience and a great test run of what we know we can do,” he said.

The house manager said among the over 60 films that the theater offered in 2015, he was excited to see movies such as “Rain Man,” the original “Batman,” “Spaceballs” and “Blazing Saddles.” He said the more popular movies with audiences were “Casablanca,” “Gone with the Wind,” “King Kong” and the most attended of all of them, “A Christmas Story.” Washington said “Jaws” and the “Back to the Future” trilogy also did well.

Like last season, the motion pictures will alternate with the performing arts center’s live stage presentations. After the double feature of thrillers on Oct. 30, the theater has a dozen movies scheduled until the end of June with the possibility of more being added for the last few months of 2016.    

“People love that we’re doing it again,” said Washington.

The new lineup of movies will kick off with “The Wizard of Oz” on Friday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m., and once again, back by popular demand, there will be a holiday showing of “A Christmas Story” on Friday, Dec. 4.

Last year management chose many of the movies based on local residents’ memories of their visits to the theater throughout the decades. This time around, films were selected based on whether they are hitting a milestone anniversary in 2016. Due to this selection process, theatergoers can once again enjoy classics such as “Rocky,” “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “Carrie,” “Dirty Harry” and “Thelma & Louise” on the big screen in the upcoming year.

The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2 E. Main Street in Smithtown. For more information, call 631-724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.