By Sofia Levorchick
On the hot, sunlit, summery day of Sunday, June 11, many gathered at the Wading River Duck Pond on North Country Road to partake in the annual Duck Pond Day hosted by the Shoreham-Wading River Chamber of Commerce.
People from all across Long Island browsed a diverse array of vendors ranging from small businesses to nonprofit organizations while also getting a bite to eat at local restaurants or food trucks. As many as 80 vendors attended throughout the event.
The head coordinator, Samantha Nagorski of R.E.N. Design Company, a store situated just in front of the duck pond, has managed this event for six years, devoting six months to its organization annually.
The primary purpose of Duck Pond Day is “to get the community together to just celebrate the beautiful pond,” Nagorski said. And it has consistently drawn a significant turnout every year.
“Even with rainfall,” she added, “we still have our community come out in droves.”
The success of Duck Pond Day can be attributed to its tradition, Nagorski explained.
“People love the deep history and grew up with it over the 30 years of it going on. You came here as a kid, and now you’re bringing your kids to it.”
The tradition initially stemmed from the community’s search for resources to clean up debris from the pond. After gaining town approval and support approximately 15 years ago, the event has expanded and flourished into what it is today. As attendees strolled around, smiles spread across their faces as they caught the delectable aroma of funnel cakes and enjoyed the sounds of live music. The vendors enthusiastically engaged with customers, diffusing joy with every transaction.
‘Even with rainfall, we still have our community come out in droves.’
— Samantha Nagorski
However, the vendors’ roles extended beyond selling products. For instance, the Shoreham-Wading River Special Education PTA used the opportunity to promote awareness for the organization’s cause, encouraging volunteer sign-ups and donations.
This year was their first time at Duck Pond Day, and one of the PTA volunteers expressed her appreciation. “This is an amazing community event, and everyone has been so friendly and happy,” she said.
The event puts a substantial emphasis on supporting small businesses, such as Etsy shops, community businesses and student-run shops, generating opportunities to promote and sell products, build clientele and strengthen the local economy. The festival also allows for much more as community connections often emanate from Duck Pond Day.
The event works to catalyze collaboration, networking and support within the community, empowering entrepreneurs and encouraging a sense of pride in the unique offerings and talents of Long Island.
“Duck Pond Day is something where the community really comes together,” a graphic designer from True Artistic Media (T.A.M) said. “It’s just a great event for everyone. Everyone is so pleasant, and everyone is having fun.”
Duck Pond Day at the Wading River Duck Pond has established itself as a cherished and highly anticipated annual tradition for showcasing the strong sense of community within Shoreham-Wading River and across Long Island. This vibrant event not only supports local businesses and offers a platform for various vendors but also fosters meaningful connections among community members.
By celebrating the beauty of the pond and bringing people together, Duck Pond Day has transcended its role as a simple gathering, serving as a reminder to locals of the importance of cultivating a strong community spirit and coming together to celebrate and promote small businesses.