The third annual holiday parade and street festival went off without a hitch Saturday night, kicking off under cold clear skies promptly at 7 p.m. Saturday, and bringing a rousing end to Small Business Saturday.
It was billed as Long Island’s biggest electric light holiday parade and float contest.
As in previous years, the treelighting ceremony associated with the parade included simultaneous lighting of trees on the Village Green and at Town Hall. This year, the tree downtown was located at the Shore 8 theater on the corner of Wall and Gerard Streets.
"Our tree from last year is gone," said Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, prior to leading the countdown to the tree lighting ceremony. "But we were fortunate to have one of our fire departments find a tree which had come down during Hurricane Sandy, and the Shore theater was gracious enough to let us put it up there."
Numerous fire departments, scouts, and veterans and civic groups participated in the parade, which began at the Big H Shopping Center and proceeded north on New York Avenue to Main Street, where it continued west along Main Street past the reviewing stand at Wall Street.
Winning the parade competition were Huntington Jeep, the Girl Scouts, and the Huntington Manor Fire Department. "We won last year, which is why we got to bring Santa into town in this parade," said a chief from Huntington Fire Department. "But we're happy to congratulate Huntington Manor, who will have that honor next year."
As in previous years, Wall Street was closed to traffic from Main Street to Gerard for the festival. The area was used to stage a number of performances -- including a rousing set of dance numbers from Dancing Feet -- and promotions from local merchants.
Horse and buggy rides were offered evening-long, a number of figures from the floats 'worked the crowd' on Wall Street after the parade -- including the Grinch, Toy Story's Woody and Buddy the Elf.
And to top it all off, Santa and Mrs. Claus set up shop on the north end of Wall Street after the parade to hear holiday wishes from the kids.
“This is only the parade’s third year, but already it has become an institution and an integral part of the holiday season in Huntington,” said Petrone.
Added Chad Lupinacci, “This is my first year doing this, as a newly elected New York State assemblyman. It's very exciting to be part of it -- particularly after what the area experienced during Sandy. This parade and the turnout shows the endurance and resilience of our community."
The parade and festival’s sponsors include the Town, the Huntington Village and Huntington Station Business Improvement Districts, the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, the Huntington and Huntington Manor Fire Departments and the Huntington Chiefs’ Council.