By Carl Corry
It was a damp, drizzly Saturday, and many wondered how big the crowd would be at the annual Huntington Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting. But then the rain let up just in time and thousands of people poured onto the sidewalks of the parade route along New York Avenue and Main Street.
Jaclyn Larkin, of Huntington, brought her children, Cameron and Mia Miller.
“We were debating whether to come, but she wouldn’t let us not come,” she said of Mia, 7. “They look forward to this.”
Huntington Town spokesman A.J. Carter said it appeared as though this year’s parade and tree lighting, now in its sixth year, was the best attended so far, and that people seemed to have gotten the message that there would be pre-parade activities, such as crafts at the Huntington Public Library and Panera Bread, a bounce-house obstacle course and a bounce slide. There were also performances by local dance groups.
Samara and Rayna Kolodny, of Smithtown, were among the 50 or so kids to attend the crafts event at the library, where there was a reading of two books and six different crafts stations.
“It’s really fun,” said Samara, 7, who wants to be a ballerina and a chef.
“I want to be an artist,” added Rayna, 9.
The parade, which started at 6 p.m., drew many colorful floats. Crocco Landscaping of Huntington won best float in the business category, matching the Huntington Holiday Parade’s “Candy Land” theme. The Greenlawn Fire Department won best float in the fire department category. The department gets bragging rights and the honor for someone in the department to play Santa in next year’s parade. And the Huntington YMCA won best float in the nonprofit category.
In the first-ever gingerbread contest, Fanny Cakes of Greenlawn was the winner.
Kristyn Weiser, the 26-year-old owner of Fanny Cakes, said “it was so much fun to create that house and put our spin on the gingerbread,” adding that it was the first gingerbread house she and employee Gia Gatien had ever made.
The five gingerbread houses that competed will be on display at Town Hall at 100 Main St. in Huntington until just after the New Year.