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Smithtown Historical Society

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By  Michael Scro

The Smithtown Historical Society presented its Heritage Country Fair on Sunday, Oct. 8, on 20 acres of preserved land within the Village of the Branch Historic District.

The afternoon featured a festive fall atmosphere of live music, children’s activities such as a petting zoo and face painting, demonstrations of spinning and blacksmithing, historical reenactments of old-time baseball and lassoing, fire trucks and army trucks, hayrides and a variety of vendors from local businesses.

The LITMA Contra Band performed lively and friendly music inside the Frank Brush Barn as attendees danced up and down the barn’s charming antique interior. Hayrides were given along the acres of property, lined with local businesses’ vendor tents selling fall decor and fall-themed treats and gifts. Local historic homes were open to the public for touring.

Demonstrations of lassoing a mock bull were set up for children to watch and practice themselves, as well as players who donned 19th-century-era baseball uniforms and equipment from those days and invited kids to join in.

Live music was also heard in other corners of the property, such as individual acoustic guitars and a three-piece band. Families were entertained with petting animals from the farm, spinning and blacksmithing demonstrations, vintage cars, face painting and painting pumpkins.

The historical society has served the Smithtown community since 1955, and the Heritage County Fair is its grandest event of the year.

The cast of 'Seussical Jr'. Photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

By Heidi Sutton 

Written in 2000 by Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Seussical the Musical is a love letter to Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, featuring stories from his  most famous children books including “Horton Hears a Who,” “Horton Hatches an Egg,” “Gertrude McFuzz,” “McElligot’s Pool” and “Oh the Thinks You Can Think!”

Now the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, in partnership with the Smithtown Historical Society, pays tribute to the creative genius by bringing his colorful characters to life in an outdoor production of Seussical Jr. on the historical society’s grounds through Aug. 17.

Acted out entirely in rhyme, the Cat in the Hat serves as narrator and introduces us to Horton the Elephant who one day hears a cry for help and discovers a floating speck of dust containing the town of Whoville. After safely placing it on a clover flower, the Wickersham Brothers steal it and hand it off to Vlad Vladikoff the black-bottomed eagle who drops it in a field of thousands of clover. Horton is then tricked into sitting on Mayzie LaBird’s egg for 51 weeks, is captured by hunters and eventually sold to the circus. When Gertrude McFuzz finds the clover and give it back to Horton, he is put on trial by Sour Kangaroo for “sitting on an egg and talking to a speck.” Will this faithful pachyderm ever catch a break? What will happen to the citizens of Whoville? Only Judge Yertle the Turtle will decide.

During last Saturday’s opening performance, the 13-member young adult cast — Eldan Bazile, Kat Conway, Alexa Gallery, Erin Risolo, Samantha Rubin, Molly Sanges, Ava Ross, Robby Boswell, Alex Eskin, Julia Gallery, Julia Jackson, Caroline Nuzzo, and Lorelai Mucciolo — did a phenomenal job transporting the audience to the Jungle of Nool. Other cast members include Katie Lehmann, Amanda Sidman, Kendall Danley, Allison Heidrich and Medha Rao.

The wonderful songs, including the catchy introduction “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!” by the entire cast, to “Horton Hears a Who,” “Notice Me Horton,” an uplifting rendition of “It’s Possible,” Horton and Jojo’s duet, “Alone in the Universe,” and “Solla Sollew,” are perfectly executed. 

Using limited props, costumes and sets, the summer stock theater show is the perfect way for these young actors to hone their craft, with the audience seated less than 4 feet from the stage, and small children lounging on blankets in front of them. They learn to ignore the distractions such as a car beeping, a plane flying overhead or a child suddenly jumping up to grab a snack, as well as coping with the weather and bugs. Teamwork also plays a major role in this valuable experience of a lifetime. 

In the end, the audience walks away from this musical extravaganza with the inspiring message that “a person’s a person, no matter how small,” to follow your dreams and let your imagination fly. 

Smithtown Performing Arts Center presents Seussical Jr. at their outdoor stage on the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society, 239 E. Main St., Smithtown with no intermission on Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 17. All seats are $18.50. To order, call 800-595-4849 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.

Goat yoga participant Phoebe Barnett with a baby goat on her back. Photo by Colleen Kelly

By Melissa Arnold

Picture this: It’s a balmy summer evening, and you’ve gotten the chance to take a yoga  class on the sprawling grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society. The lush grass springs back under your bare feet as you roll out your mat. The wind blows gently through the trees. As you move from pose to pose, surrounded by nature and gorgeous historic buildings, serenity wraps around you like a blanket.

And then, a baby goat nuzzles against your backside, attempting to climb you like a mountain during Downward Dog.

Scenes like this one play out all summer long at the historical society, which has hosted wildly popular goat yoga classes for the past several years. It’s one of many ways executive director Priya Kapoor is inviting the community to come and explore.

“When I first got here, I fell in love with the community and the property. I’m always thinking about what else we can do and create to make this place as welcoming as it can be,” said Kapoor. “We have a beautiful 22-acre property and we want to be able to showcase this gem that’s in their own backyard.”

Goat yoga originated on a farm in Oregon less than a decade ago and the trend caught on quickly nationwide, largely thanks to social media. When the Smithtown program launched in 2017, the first class had a wait list of more than 700 people.

It’s a joy for Karen Haleiko, owner of Steppin’ Out Ponies and Petting Zoo, to watch her animals interact with people of all ages. The traveling pony ride and petting zoo company focuses on both education and entertainment, as well as animal rescue efforts — they’ve done more than 500 animal rescues in the last eight years.

About 15 goats come to each yoga class. Haleiko said the goats decide for themselves each time if they want to go for a ride.

“My goats are very social, they crave people and genuinely enjoy being a part of this experience,” Haleiko said. “Goats have a calming aura … It’s common to include goats as companions with race horses in between races. They’re also very comical, and being with them makes you laugh, helps you relax and forget about the worries of the world for a while.”

Each 45-minute yoga class is led by Haleiko’s aunt, Doreen Buckman, who’s taught yoga for the last 20 years. Buckman said she admired the strength, flexibility and overall vitality of female yogis in India, where the ancient practice began.

“The environment at the [goat yoga] classes is warm and welcoming. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done yoga before or if you can’t do the poses exactly,” she said. “No one is judging anyone else. We want people to have fun and do what feels most comfortable for them, whether that’s an advanced headstand or spending the time sitting quietly and taking deep breaths.”

The goats are allowed to roam freely and interact with students throughout the session. Bigger goats might cuddle up next to you and let you lean on them for balance, while more spunky goats might bounce around you, climb on you or frolic together. 

This summer’s classes include some animal newcomers, including five baby goats — triplets Punky Brewster, Finn, and Evie; twins Captain America and Loki — as well as an alpaca named Mazie. Once yoga is finished, there’s time to mingle and pet the animals, take pictures and explore the grounds. Keep an eye out for the sheep and chickens that live on the property, too.

Buckman said that many goat yoga attendees are repeat visitors, and she’s not surprised. “One of the things I hear most often is, ‘I really needed this,’” she said. “I call goat yoga a laugh fest — it’s a hilarious time, and laughter really is the best medicine.”

Outdoor yoga will be held throughout the summer at 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. in the field behind the Frank Brush Barn at the Smithtown Historical Society, 211 Middle Country Road. Upcoming sessions include July 7, July 21, Aug. 7, Aug. 21 and Sept. 7. Tickets are $30 per person and pre-registration is required at www.eventbrite.com. Children ages 7 through 17 are welcome accompanied by an adult. Please bring a mat, towel and water bottle. Yoga mats will not be provided. For more information, call 631-265-6768.


The Smithtown Historical Society hosted a Civil War Encampment on Saturday, May 27. The well-attended event featured battle demonstrations, North and South camp life and infantry drills, music and dancing at the Frank Brush Barn, field hospital demonstrations and tours of the Epenetus Smith Tavern and Arthur Farmhouse

Photos from Smithtown Historical Society


Hundreds attended the Smithtown Historical  Society’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt, Saturday, April 8.

The day included two hunts, music by Paul Graf, visits with the Easter Bunny, arts and crafts, and visits with the farm animals. Children and families also enjoyed pony rides, refreshments and the historical society’s grounds.

Participants at Benner's Farm egg hunt in 2022. File photo by Rita J. Egan

By Heidi Sutton

Looking for Easter Egg Hunts on the North Shore? Here is a list of events for the next two weeks so grab your baskets and camera and hippity hop over to these fun springtime celebrations!

Cold Spring Harbor

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery, 1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor will host egg hunts on April 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8 in 20 minute sessions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for children up to the age of 6 years old. Tickets are $12 per participating child, $5 “helper siblings” ages 7 to 12, $6 seniors, and $7 adults. To register, visit www.cshfishhatchery.org. 516-692-6768 


Burr Winkle Park, Harvest Lane, Commack hosts a free egg hunt with over 4,000 eggs on April 8 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with games, prizes, special golden eggs and a free photo of your child with the Easter Bunny. Register at www.commackegghunt.com. 631-486-3811

East Northport

Seasonal ‘Scapes LI, 638 Larkfield Road, East Northport is hosting an egg hunt, craft and petting zoo for children ages 2 to 12 on April 2 from noon to 3 p.m. with a visit from the Easter Bunny. Each child will receive a basket as well. $10 per child. 631-888-3655

East Setauket

Benner’s Farm, 56 Gnarled Hollow Road, East Setauket invites the community to their annual Easter Egg Hunt Weekend on April 8 and 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be craft vendors, baby bunnies and chicks to hold, baby goats and sheep to see and pet, many other barnyard animals to visit with and feed, an egg hunt in the fields every half hour from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (book your time slot online), pictures with the Spring Bunny and more! This is a ticketed event only. Tickets are $12 per person and are sold only online. No tickets will be sold at the door. Visit www.bennersfarm.com. 631-689-8172


Elwood Park, 305 Cuba Hill Road, Elwood will host an Easter Egg Hunt, on April 1. Sponsored by the Town of Huntington and Suffolk County Second Precinct police, the hunt will start at 9 a.m. for children ages 3-4; 10 a.m. for those who are 5-6, and 11 a.m. for  children ages 7-8. The event is free but registration is required by visiting www.tohparks.net under special events.


— Head to the Village Green, 361 Main St., Farmingdale for an Easter egg hunt on April 1 for ages 11 and under at 11 a.m. All are welcome to meet the Easter Bunny at the gazebo and have pictures taken. Free. Sponsored by the Farmingdale Village Cultural Arts Committee.

— Adventureland, 2245 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale hosts an Egg Scramble on April 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Rain date April 2) Kids receive a treat bag with Easter eggs and a coupon book for vendor tables scattered around the property. Tickets in advance online: $31.99 adults, $41.99 for ages 2-24; at the gate: $36.66 and $46.66 for ages 2-24; parking is free and admission ticket includes access to all the rides. 631-694-6868.


Join the Farmingville Historical Society for an Easter Egg Trail Hunt on April 1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Embark on an Easter Egg  Hunt through the Farmingville Hills County Park Trails, 501 Horseblock Road, Farmingville. At the last stop in the 1850 historic schoolhouse, kids can recycle their plastic eggs in exchange for a special gift and take a picture with the Easter Bunny. $15 per child. Preregister at www.fhsli.org.


Friends of the Big Duck present an Easter egg hunt for “duck” eggs and a visit with Mother Goose at The Big Duck Ranch, 1012 Flanders Road, Flanders on April 1 at noon. (Rain date is April 2) For ages 2 to 9. Free. 631-284-3737 or 631-852-3377.


Decker’s Nursery, 841 Pulaski Road, Greenlawn invites the community to come meet Peter Rabbit as he hosts an egg hunt on April 1 where you can win prizes. The hunt is separated by age group. Group hunts start 9 to 9:45 a.m. (for ages 3-5); 9:10 to 9:45 a.m. (for ages 6-8) and 10:15 to 11 a.m. (for ages 9-11). Free, register in advance at eventbrite.com. 631-261-1148.


Take part in an Easter Egg Hunt at White Post Farms, 250 Old Country Road, Melville 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  from April 1 to 9. Visit with the Easter Bunny (take your own pictures) too. Admission is $28.95. whitepostfarms.com, 631-351-9373.

Miller Place

The Miller Place–Mount Sinai Historical Society will host two egg hunts with games and bunny photos on April 2 with the first hunt from 1  p.m. to 2 p.m. for ages 0 to 4 and the second from 2:30 to 3:30 for children ages 5 to 8. $5 per child. Advance registration is required through Eventbrite (2023EggHunt.eventbrite.com). www.mpmshistoricalsociety.org.


The Village of Northport will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt on April 9 at Northport Village Park at 1 p.m. Sponsored by the Northport/Centerport Lions Club. 516-380-6444

Port Jefferson

Join the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce for an Easter Parade and Egg Hunt in the Village of Port Jefferson on April 9 at noon. Enjoy an old-fashioned “Easter Bonnet” walking parade from Theatre Three to the Port Jefferson Village Center (all are welcome to wear their Easter best and march) followed by an Easter Egg Hunt on Harborfront Park’s Great Lawn at 12:15 p.m. for children ages 2 to 8. 631-473-1414

Rocky Point

Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School, 525 Route 25A, Rocky Point will host its annual Easter Egg Hunt for children ages 6 and under on April 1 at 11:30 a.m. with free Easter candy for all participants. Sponsored by the Rocky Point Lions Club. 631-744-1600


St. James Chamber of Commerce presents a free Spring Egg Hunt at Deepwells Farm Parking Field, Route 25A and Moriches Road, St. James on April 1 at 1 p.m. for children 1 to 10 years of age with prizes and fun galore plus pictures with the Easter Bunny. Event will be canceled  if rain or inclement weather. 631-584-8510


Caroline Church of Brookhaven, 1 Dyke Road, Setauket will host a free community Easter Egg Hunt with the Easter Bunny on April 8 at 10 a.m. with face painting, crafts and more. 631-941-4245


Join the Smithtown Historical Society, 239 East Main St., Smithtown for Egg Hunts on April 8 at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Enjoy refreshments, hanging out with the farm animals, and a special guest appearance from the Easter Bunny in between hunts. Event runs through 1 p.m. Admission to the farm is $5 per person via Eventbrite. 631-265-6768.

Wading River

No egg hunt here but The Shoppes at East Wind, 5768 Route 25A, Wading River will host an Easter Celebration on April 1, 2 and 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with craft vendors, bounce house, a visit with the Easter Bunny and more. $10 per child in advance, $15 on day of; adults free. Additional fees apply for a carousel ride and face painting. www..eastwindlongisland.com, 631-929-3500

Winter Lantern Festival

The Smithtown Historical Society, 239 East Main St., Smithtown will light up the holiday season with Suffolk County’s FIRST immersive Winter Lantern Festival from Nov. 4 to Jan. 8, 2023. The walk-through holiday light show will feature lanterns and displays in the shape of flowers, mushrooms, farm animals, dinosaurs and many more, all handmade by artisans with decades of dedication to their craft.

The event will be held on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Be ready for photo ops with friends and family, as this will be an unforgettable experience! Tickets are $22 per person, $12 ages 3 to 12. For tickets, visit https://www.showclix.com/tickets/suffolk-winter-lantern-festival. For more information, call 631-265-6768.

In the heart of Smithtown is a 22-acre pastoral oasis bordered by barns and cottages. The Smithtown Historical Society hosts a diversified array of events. Programs include an annual heritage fair, summer camp for children, old-time baseball, goat yoga, technology help for seniors, and most recently, a cooking series.

On Tuesday, August 16, at 6 p.m, Chef Stephen Gallagher of The Trattoria in St. James will perform some Long Island summer harvest magic as attendees will get to experience a taste, tips, and techniques, This program will be veggie-centric and the final program of the Cooking with the Stars series in 2022.

“I underestimated the power of food and how it brings people together,” said Priya Kapoor, Executive Director of SHS.  “We were pleasantly surprised by the success of Cooking with the Stars.”

During the height of the COVID pandemic, most 501-C non-profit organizations were faced with fundraising challenges.  A pivot to the great outdoors was made. “The Smithtown Performing Arts Center constructed our outdoor theater during the pandemic for rehearsals and performances. Once they could resume indoors, the outdoor theater became available for use by others,” explained Kapoor.

Kapoor and local food writer, Nancy Vallarella entertained hosting cooking classes at the Smithtown Historical Society years before the pandemic.  Vallarella explained, “We weren’t sure who, what, or when, but once the outdoor theater became available, we had a special where.  Cooking with the Stars was born and the rest fell into place.”

The series was launched in June 2022, and features local culinary businesses and accomplished cooks.

First up, Myra Naseem (Elegant Eating) and Nancy Vallarella (Long Island Locavore) demonstrated Board and Platter recipes and techniques. Chefs Marco Pellegrini and Sabrina Vallorini (Osteria Umbria) followed in July with Italian favorites. A special program in late July honored Smithtown Town Historian, Brad Harris.  Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim and his wife Diana demonstrated a favorite family tradition, Mussels in White Wine sauce, in his honor.

The Smithtown Historical Society pays tribute to Long Island’s rich history while creating new traditions for the present community.

Tickets for Chef Gallagher’s presentation of Cooking with the Stars at the Smithtown Historical Society, 239 East Main Street, Smithtown are $25 in advance here, $35 at the door (cash or check). For more information, call 631-265-6768.

The cast of 'Elephant & Piggie's We're In A Play!', from left, Victoria Acquavita, Lorelai Mucciolo, Aubrey Gulle, Ryan Van Nostrand, Kat Conway and Gabriella Fugon. Photo by Heidi Sutton

By Heidi Sutton

While my daughter and I enjoyed reading Mo Willem’s Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny series, she was already seven years old when his Elephant and Piggie series came out in 2007. What a shame. Geared for younger audiences, the award-winning and best- selling children’s books are filled with the many fun adventures of Gerald the Elephant and his ‘bestus’ friend Piggie.

A sign on Main Street in Smithtown welcomes ticket holders to the show. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Now several of those stories make their way to the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society for an outdoor musical titled Elephant and Piggie’s We Are in a Play! Presented by the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts (SPAC), the adorable show runs through July 29. 

With script and lyrics by Willems and music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, the show centers mostly around Elephant and Piggie’s We are in a Book! but draws from other stories including I Am Invited to a Party!, Elephants Cannot Dance!, Should I Share My Ice Cream?, Listen to My Trumpet! and I Love My New Toy!

Featuring six extremely talented young adults, the production is performed in vignettes as Gerald and Piggie solve problems throughout the day and learn friendship etiquette with the help of The Squirrelles, Ice Cream Penguin and Delivery Dog.

They go to a party hosted by the Squirrelles, wear silly hats, learn a new dance, and share ice cream. Their perfect day turns sour when Gerald accidentally breaks Piggie’s new toy and her feelings get hurt. Will their friendship end? Will The Squirelles come to the rescue?

Children have their photo taken with the cast after last Sunday’s performance. Photo by Heidi Sutton

The whole experience is very relaxed and informal and you can bring your own lawn chairs or sit on folding chairs under tents. For many of the children it is their first experience at live theater and they have the option of sitting on a blanket in front of the stage or sitting with their family. Many at last Sunday’s performance danced along to the music and giggled at all the jokes. Snacks and drinks are also permitted.

Towards the end of the show the cast suddenly realizes they are in a play with a captive audience. In a grand finale, they invite the crowd to join in the fun by clapping, shouting out “banana” and doing the “Flippy Floppy Floory” dance, a perfect ending to a wonderful afternoon.

Don’t forget your camera! – Stay after the show for a keepsake photo with the cast.


Gerald: Ryan Van Nostrand

Piggie: Aubrey Gulle

Squirelles: Kat Conway, Gabriella Fugon & Lorelai Mucciolo

Delivery Doggie/Ice Cream Penguin: Victoria Acquavita

Elephant & Piggie’s ‘We’re In a Play’! will be held on the grounds of the Smithtown Historical Society, 239 E. Main St., Smithtown through July 29. Running time is one hour with no intermission. Tickets are $18 per person. To order, visit www.smithtownpac.org.


From left, Nancy Vallarella, Myra Naseem and Priya Kapoor. Photo from SHS

The Smithtown Historical Society is cooking up something new. 

Beginning on June 9, the Society will launch a new cooking series titled Cooking with Stars featuring local culinary professionals sharing their tips, techniques and skills while presenting trending foods, recipes and offering a taste to bring the community together. 

The cooking classes will be held outside on the property’s outdoor theater (in the case of inclement weather, presentations will be moved indoors in SHS’s Roseneath Cottage) and will run through September.

According to Priya Kapoor, Executive Director of SHS, the series was inspired by the Society’s 2021 series, Interview with the Stars. “One of our most popular interviews was with Chef Marco Pellegrini of Osteria Umbra,” said Kapoor.

Just in time for summer entertaining, the first presentation on Thursday, June 9 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. will be on platters and boards. Myra Naseem, co-owner of Elegant Eating in Smithtown, will be joined by recipe developer and food writer Nancy Vallarella, Long Island Locavore. 

“Outdoor entertaining is here. This presentation will cover three themed boards/platters that will require little to no cooking freeing hosts from the kitchen and grill. Elegant Eating has been doing that for over 35 years,” said Vallarella. 

Tickets are $20 per person in advance at Eventbrite.com, $30 at the door (cash or check).

The series continues on Tuesday, July 12 when Chef Marco Pellegrini returns to SHS to share his cooking techniques showcasing Italian favorites. 

Further cooking classes will be posted on the Smithtown Historical Society’s website, www.smithtownhistorical.org, under Events. 

The Smithtown Historical Society is located at 239 E. Main St., Smithtown. For more information, call 631-265-6768.