What I love most about small towns on Long Island are the amount of small unique festivals, shows, concerts, and farmers markets that come to the towns once every weekend or season. Spring, Summer, and Fall are the prime times that these sort of events take place.
Since I’ve been working as a counselor I’ve been assisting in finding, coordinating, and joining volunteer opportunities on Long Island with a few international students in my program. By participating in these opportunities I have had the joy and pleasure of becoming more involved within Long Island local communities and towns. Just this past month I was able to coordinate a number of great Fall-themed volunteer events as the main counselor of community service activities. Some of my planned events included: participating in a cancer-awareness car show, helping out at a local church’s food pantry, and signing up to work at a fall festival. Out of all these events one that I would like to discuss more in-depth is the annual Long Island Fall Festival, which is held every year in my hometown of Huntington.
Already in its 23rd year the Fall Festival is a great family friendly event I had hoped to volunteer at with my international students. Unfortunately, the day in which we were scheduled to go turned out to be a very rainy and windy day. Due to the heavy rain the park where the festival was being held was closed, vendors tents were absent, and the food court area delayed opening. Fortunately, none of my students needed to attend, however, I decided to travel into town myself to see what sort of festivities the festival had.
It must have been close to 15 or 18 years since I last stepped foot in the town of Huntington’s Heckscher Park. My only memories there are with my dad and older sister when we were much younger. Due to my town having many parks and living further south we rarely traveled into the center part of town to play at Heckscher. So, it was no surprise to me that the park may have gone through an ample amount of changes in the last decade or more.
As soon as I entered Heckscher Park’s main gate I decided to stroll around first by the park museum, 9/11 memorial (*honoring town residents who lost their lives), and concert stage area. Afterwards, I passed by a new playground area I could not recall and into the open field where all of the festival rides and food court area & shops were lined up adjacently. It felt nostalgic seeing carnival rides such as pharaoh’s ship, zipper-cage, big pink bag-slide, bumper-cars, and a ton more.
After walking around for a while I continued my park tour by walking over to the park’s main central pond where former stone bridges once constructed to connect the small inlet islands in the pond stood. In replace wooden bridges were made to connect the inlet islands that were covered by giant willow trees. In two words the area was ‘simply romantic.‘ I ended up spending some time relaxing underneath the willow trees before leaving to complete a full 360 walk around the park.
Even though the weather was not so great and the Fall Festival was cancelled for that day, leaving volunteers to no longer be needed, I still went to see what type of festival activities were present. I was happy to also be able to visit my town’s main park and familiarize myself around my own town once again. With that said I still have so much to see and do when I have more time (*´∀`*)
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