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Community: Tall Ships Festival Gave Village a ‘Great Vibe’

Southold Police chief, Greenport mayor and several business owners are proud of last weekend’s successful event.

By Wednesday afternoon, Mayor David Nyce said that the village wasn’t even close to a final tally of attendance and money made during this past weekend’s festival. But he was certain the unique event “did better than break even,” he said.

“All around I believe it was extremely successful — the trains from Mattituck, Riverhead, Ronkonkoma and points west were packed,” Nyce said. “The village merchants were making money and were very happy about that.”

Thousands poured into the streets and onto the docks of Mitchell Park for the three-day festival, which coincided with the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 this year. officials planned that the armada of historic replica would attract up to 50,000 visitors to the village this Memorial Day Weekend.offered riders traveling to Greenport a deal to pay only $5 at the gate instead of $15.

Village merchants, from restaurants to retail, said they did indeed have a profitable weekend.

“It was an extremely busy weekend and although the hotel was sold out long before news of the Tall Ships, the restaurant was non-stop with Tall Ships visitors,” said Deborah Pittorio, owner and executive chef at C “I think it was great that local businesses had the opportunity to feed the tourists rather than having outside vendors compete with us.”

Marc Lamaina, owner of on Main Street, said that there was a “great vibe in town” during the Tall Ships festival and described the weekend as the “best for us since we opened.”

Linda Kessler, owner of theboutique shop on Front Street, said that having the streets open for those strolling in and out of shops was a relaxing experience and that many customers commented on how they thought that the Tall Ships festival wasn’t a typical street fair.

“They expressed how easy it was to gain access to the local stores and frequent the restaurants and that we were keeping the revenue in the village,” Kessler said. “I would love to see the village close the streets at least once a month from June to September maybe in coordination with the gallery walks. It would cut down on pollution and encourage biking and strolling around the village.”

Safety-wise, Chief Martin Flatley also described the event as a success. Local patrols had help from New York State Police in the form of two bicycle patrol troopers and one trooper in a patrol vehicle.

“We planned and prepared for this event both from a traffic/ festival perspective and also from a marine event and I am very glad I did as the weather proved to bring out hordes of visitors both by car and by pleasure boats,” the chief said. “We had the usual types of calls that you would anticipate when you are entertaining that number of visitors, but none all that serious.”

Mayor Nyce said that in no way was this one-off event meant to compete with theannual Maritime Festival, which is set to go once again this year in September.

What was your favorite part of the Tall Ships festival? Let us know in the comments below.

hdhouse May 31, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Good for the Village and the area. Thank you all who worked so hard and did so well. This is just plain good news.
Amy K. Martin May 31, 2012 at 11:38 AM
It was a terrific event and a wonderful "role model" for what the Maritime festival could be. For years there have been requests to get that festival to be all about the history and not about filling the street with "jobbers & repetitive, tacky vendors" selling junk & bad food (with a few nice crafters in the mix ) Perhaps there's a way to get sponsorship to help them get to this caliber of event now that we all see what our local Merchants & service organizations can provide for the venue... The streets being pedestrian only was wonderful & besides the majesty of the Tall ships being here it was such a boon to the local economy with most of the money being made staying right here on Front & Main.... & It was really exciting to see that the trains would be used if given a schedule that made sense... to all that made this happen "JOB WELL DONE!" & Thank you!
marla May 31, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Well...Amy took the words out of my mouth. Let me just underscore that the local quality of this event set against the beautiful backdrop of the tall ships was a perfect combination. Congratulations on a job well done to all the planners, sponsors, and staffers. What a great beginning to the summer.
Dorian May 31, 2012 at 03:00 PM
It was wonderful! So nice to NOT see the vendors. This festival was a score all around & very happy to see Greenport do something positive for everyone. I imagine the planning and work involved was extraordinary, but you did it! Well done, indeed!
BOB PALADIN May 31, 2012 at 03:03 PM
'outstanding' i s the word I would describe it, .. we met the ships crews , the ships themselves were floating museums and we ate LOUIE LOUIEs sandy's at the cheese forum? great time was had by all
Erin Schultz (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Dorothy Faeth said on Facebook: "had a really great time.the ships were beautiful great weekend...."
Erin Schultz (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Caroline Waloski said on Facebook: "Way to go Greenport...the true Emerald City."
thatgirl May 31, 2012 at 06:56 PM
hats off to the village for coordinating a true, local event--a triumph of sound communications and planning that benefitted everyone involved! not insignificant was incentivizing train travel there--great thinking!!
Richard Bonforte June 01, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Agree with Amy. Glad to heat that retailers had a profitable weekend. Not so sure why "open containers" were permitted during the day. I understand a lot of citations were issued after 6PM and through the evening and night hours. Keeping the drinking down should be a goal. We have enough DUIs on the North Fork as it is. Also, the Village really needs to address parking. Sending all the traffic through village streets and having cars parked all over is a problem for home owners.

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