The holidays may be over, but members of the Grand Patchogue Chamber of Commerce are set to sit down to plan and refine events and initiatives for 2022.
This includes changing the aura of Alive After Five to reflect the era, said executive director David Kennedy.
âIn 2021, we offered the Sundown Festival,â he said. âIt was a scaled-down version of Alive After Five celebrating families and young children. In my nearly 10 years as CEO, I have never received more positive feedback than with this event. people stopped by our booth or emailed us saying “thank you”.
The family-oriented Sundown Festival took place over several consecutive Thursday evenings from mid-July to August from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with five musical stages, alfresco dining, but no refreshments. Main Street was closed from Maple Avenues to West, Railroad and South Ocean Avenues.
âWe are discussing with the restaurant committee about having two nights with a sunset festival and two nights of a regular Alive After Five,â Kennedy said.
Alive After Five has been around for 20 years, he said. âWe don’t always have to do the same and can respond to the new normal,â he added. âTo organize these events and bring people to our main street, we have to make people feel normal. “
He praised the Patchogue Young Professionals Committee, which presented the idea in place of the Alive After Five which had evolved with drinking pens.
âAlive After Five exploded to such an extent that a lot of young people were drinking excessively and that caused a problem,â Kennedy explained. âWhen we started we had two or three bars. Now it’s 30.
“That was Tiffany Rivera’s idea and she introduced it to us,” said Patchogue Young Professionals recording secretary Michele Cayea of ââthe Sundown Festival. (The Patchogue Young Professionals team includes President Stephen King, Cayea, Treasurer Benny Migliorino, and Corresponding Secretary Rivera.) âAnd we decided that was something we wanted to do. Thanks to the main actors of Alive After Five, we used their setting and brought back people who loved the train and the petting zoos, and brought the restaurants to the open air.
Cayea explained that COVID cases had declined by that time, allowing for outdoor events.
As the Community Relations Manager for the Patchogue-Medford Library, she also cited the success of the outdoor events the library has experienced. The library jumped straight into the Sundown Festival.
âWe set up on the front lawn of the Carnegie Library and made the talent show and brought back some really nice ways to illustrate our community,â she said. âKeeping the vendors on Main Street gave them a different audience than the station. We did it in just a few weeks, but we got sponsorships from the Blue Point Brewery and the Long Island Community Hospital, which sponsored the farmers market. We had very good numbers for a turnout and there was no chaos after that. ”
âThe biggest benefit,â Kennedy said, âwas using the sidewalks, allowing restaurants to set up their businesses. Only outdoor dining was allowed. We suspended the food trucks.
Kennedy said the Young Professionals Committee, which also created an outdoor movie night last year to attract more crowds, hosted the Sundown Festival, but handed the model to the chamber for it. uses in the future. âThey want to have a well-known motivational speaker to encourage young people to get involved,â he said of their plans for 2022.
âAlive After Five started out as a community event,â Kennedy added. âWe like to present our village. But first of all we need to be aware of our base here. “
âOur soul is retail,â Kennedy said. âAt our peak, our success was still in retail, and a lot of those companies are still there. The Retail Association held a raffle in November and our Elf on a Shelf promotion in December was very successful. There are as many retail businesses here as there are restaurants, so we are looking throughout the year to do a lot more promotions to showcase our retail stores. Thanks to Merav Shiloni, owner of Thred, and James Diele-Stein, owner of Patch Print Ship & More, they energized this committee.
âOne thing we found in 2019 is that in the southeast parking lots at the back of the old Burlington Coat Factory and gymnasium there are spots available at 9 p.m.,â Kennedy said. , adding that more information on parking should be made public. But also: âWe are reconnecting with the village and must return to new parking strategies, in particular with restaurant owners and their employees. Kennedy pointed out that the village has 500 restaurant workers who work Friday and Saturday evenings. Mayor Paul Pontieri was asked about the village’s efforts and pointed out that building a parking lot would yield just 120 more spaces and cost $ 7 million – an unfeasible project that also does not include the costs of security for the town. “We are finishing the IMAs [inter-municipal agreements] with the county to rebuild the land there, âhe said of the 6th District Court. âBy removing the green space and rearranging it, we can get around 70 more spaces. The county will give us seed money and can give us $ 1 million for a $ 2 million project. If you install meters, you can pay for the project. We also tried to work with National Grid, across from the Patchogue YMCA, to rent their land to them. It would have about 200 or 250 cars, and we would do that for the employees.
Kennedy said he was incredibly excited about Liz Carrillo’s appointment as village administrator. “She is 100% right to have more Latino events and I would love to sit down with her and Javier Kinghorn [Latino Leadership Council chairman and Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce board member of Cirigliano Agency]. If we have to sacrifice an Alive After Five Night to host an event, we all agree. Once achieved, Kinghorn said one of his biggest goals for the New Year was to get the Latin American community to join the chamber. Additionally, âthis will also be the fourth annual Hispanic Heritage Event at the Patchogue Theater, and I would love to engage the Latin American business community and the arts community. We have a lot of talented Latinos in the arts. The free Kinghorn event was very popular.