By Connor Beach
Huntington village merchants are thrilled with a move to schedule the 2017 Town of Huntington Holiday Parade and Festival for a Sunday.
The event, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving each of the past seven years, has been criticized by merchants for slowing down business. This year it’s slated for Sunday, Nov. 26, with the electric light parade scheduled to kick off at around 5 p.m., hours earlier than past years.
“A lot of merchants asked that the parade be moved to Sunday,” A.J. Carter, town spokesman, said. “Everybody was listening to their concerns.”
Jack Schechter, owner of Just 4 the Home at 12 Wall St. for 21 years, said he’s happy with the change.
“Saturday is much better for commerce,” Schechter said.
He added that, in past years, streets were closed early, hurting his ability to do business on one of the most important business days of the year, observed nationally as “Small Business Saturday” since 2010.
Hugo Garcia, manager of Café Buenos Aires at 23 Wall St., said Sunday is a more appropriate day for families to enjoy the holiday festivities.
“It’s a family day,” Garcia said, adding that previous events “paralyzed the town on Saturday night.”
Huntington Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen O’Brien praised the efforts of town officials and the holiday parade committee, made up of representatives from the town, The Chamber and Huntington Business Improvement District The Paramount, and members of the Huntington and Huntington Manor fire departments, to make the change.
They “really made an effort to accommodate the businesses,” O’Brien said. “Everyone is trying to help each other.”
Carter added that the parade and festival are expected to draw 5,000-10,000 people from all over Long Island to Huntington.
He added, “It’s still going to be a major day.”