Families Find Fun At Fall Festival

By Sophia Ricco

In its 25th year, the Long Island Fall Festival in Huntington, presented by the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce was a tremendous time for all who attended.

“We bring all these businesses and residents together in this one great, Heckscher Park, which is full of history,” Brian Yudewitz, co-chair of the festival, said. “And has so many great things going on throughout the year, but this is the best weekend of the year.”

Various vendors lined up on the streets and throughout the park, an international food court could satisfy anyone’s appetite, a massive carnival lit up the night, and live music could be heard throughout the day. With three stages set up, a main stage at Chapin Rainbow Stage, rock central at Scotto’s Carnival Stage and folk performers at Acoustic Stage, there was music that could catch anyone’s ear and make them sit down for awhile.

“By bringing everyone together from the Northeast, not just Long Island, they enjoy everything and it’s a real relaxing weekend for whoever attends,” Yudewitz said.

Yudewitz felt that many people came to the festival because of its “staying power”. Even though, it was contained in the park and its bordering streets, there were endless things to check out and tons of community members to meet.

“We recently moved here and it’s just a great environment and very friendly people,” Ken Gerome of Huntington, said. “It’s great to see everyone out having a good time.”

With over 100 vendors, you could easily spend an entire day shopping.

“Hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders come every year and it’s just a great way to be present in the community, meet new people and spread the word about our brand,” Christopher Vetter, founder of Sail Away Coffee Co. and vendor at the festival, said.

With the Fall Festival come and gone, the Huntington Chamber of Commerce is already preparing for next year’s extravaganza.

“Our festival takes 360 days to prepare for,” Yudewitz said. “So we’ll take a day off on Tuesday and starting Wednesday we’ll prepare for next year’s festival… Our chamber staff works all year round to make this amazing.”


Two-time Meatball Champ Repeats…

The meatball-eating champ has a partner now.

Len Piros of Centerport, for two years in a row the winner of the Long Island Fall Festival Meatball Eating Contest, went for the three-peat Sunday afternoon. Instead of a trophy and the three-peat, Piros now has a co-champion.

Ryan Thomas kept pace through both the competition and a tie-breaking run-off to grab a share of the title.

In all, 10 competitors came to the table where staff from Porto Fino restaurant loaded each plate with 10 meatballs. After three minute on the clock, Piros and Thomas were tied.

They went head-to-head in a one-minute runoff.

They were till tied.

A sudden death runoff was ruled out and the emcee of the event, Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci presented the still-chewing pair to the crowd as co-champions.


Len Piros, left, and Ryan Thomas, third from left, are congratulated by Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Festival Co-chairman Bob Bontempi.

Len Piros, left, and Ryan Thomas, third from left, are congratulated by Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and Festival Co-chairman Bob Bontempi.