8,000 attend HarborFest in Port Washington

8,000 attend HarborFest in Port Washington

Although rain cut the celebration short, people had the chance to enjoy a day of crafts, music and art Sunday at Port Washington’s annual HarborFest Dock Day and Craft Festival.

More than 8,000 people attended the event, which is presented by the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce and Town of North Hempstead, and held at the town dock, Baxter’s Pond and lower Main Street areas.

Before the rain halted the fun, children raced model boats made of milk and juice cartons in a regatta on Baxter’s Pond, cheering on their entries and watching as they crossed the finish line.

Bobbie Polay, executive director of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, said the model boat regatta had the largest participation ever.

“HarborFest gives everyone a chance to spend some fun time on our waterfront, which many take for granted. HarborFest raises awareness of the need to protect this precious asset,” Polay said. “People can even go out on the water by water taxi, schooner, launch, kayaks or paddle boards.”

Along Main Street, festivalgoers browsed and shopped at more than 90 craft tables, buying a variety of items, including art, incense and jewelry, as well as making sand art and taking photographs.

“People are commenting about what a wonderful time they had and how impressed they were by everything HarborFest has to offer,” Polay said. “Many of the volunteers were sad that it started to rain in the afternoon, but most of the visitors just talked about how much they enjoyed it.”

Local restaurants and organizations set up along the town dock, serving meals and deserts.

Ayhan’s Shish Kebab, LI Festival Catering, the Manhasset Bay Sportsmen’s Club, Port Youth Activities, Rosie’s Food Truck, Schmear, the Wild Goose and Yummy Gyro served food.

And Ralph’s Italian Ices, Long Island Kettle Corn, Schmear and Mel’s Ice Cream truck served dessert.

Melissa Welsh, a Port Washington resident, said events like HarborFest show the true connection in the community.

“It really is a sort of celebration of how we all coexist, depend on one another, and have fun together,” she said. “It really makes us all feel like we are a part of the town.”

Festivalgoers caught a ride on the North Fork Trolley, which made  a continuous loop from the Long Island Rail Road train station to the festival areas.

“HarborFest is one of those great community events that the entire community enjoys because there’s something for everyone,” Debbie Greco, a resident, said.

The SoundWaters ship returned to HarborFest for the Sunset Sail, which departed the town dock on Saturday and also sailed on Sunday.

At noon, World Tae Kwon Do conducted a demonstration and there was a Wright Brothers ukulele performance at 1:30 p.m., as well as a performance by the Red Stocking Revue at 2 p.m.

Children performed songs and dances on the Fun Stage, and the nautical museum featured a new exhibit, “The Real Port Washington,” named after the Port Washington community Facebook group that has more than 10,000 members.

The exhibit, which was assembled by Greco, is made of waterfront photos taken by residents and uploaded to the Facebook page.

“Even with the rain forecast, we had a record crowd,” Greco said.

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