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the great daffodil dash

Photo from Craig den Hartog

The Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce is presenting the Old Town Blooms Daffodil Dash Virtual one mile, 5K and 10K Run/Walk later this month. 

Chamber member and owner of Emerald Magic Lawn Care Craig den Hartog has decades worth of horticultural consultant experience. He and a team of local people began planting daffodils as an effort to clean up the community — an initiative he called Old Town Blooms.

“Me and a few neighbors were noticing the roadside getting more and more litter,” he said. “Instead of complaining about it, we took it upon ourselves to clean it up.”

Along Old Town Road, from Coram to up near Setauket, more than 30,000 daffodils have been planted, brightening things up. The initiative has expanded throughout the years.

“If you clean up an area, it stays clean,” he said.

The daffodils became so beloved by the community that last year, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the group wanted to create a day dedicated to the flower. Unfortunately, thanks to the global virus, that day was cancelled.

So, this year, in a partnership with the chamber, they decided to host a virtual race, that will help support the Port Jefferson Station Train Car, flag fund and community beautification process.

Called The Great Daffodil Dash, funds raised from the race will help keep the flags flying and help repair the train car — a historic spot that the chamber acquired in the 70s — while helping to buy more bulbs for the area.

Den Hartog said the PJST Chamber Train car is one of the last remaining early 1900 electric baggage coach cars. It was put in service around 1914 traveling from Jamaica station to Manhattan. The train car was transported to its current location in the mid-1970’s and is a Suffolk county landmark situated alongside the chamber’s memorial American flag within the Town of Brookhaven. 

The race will begin April 17 and go until April 25. Participants can choose from several different distances, including a one mile, 5K, 10K or simply a walk. Racers then use social media to post their times, and photos, for the event. 

To sign up for the race, or to donate to the cause, visit pjstchamber.com. For questions, contact Craig at [email protected].