America’s Got Talent Finalist to Lead Huntington Holiday Parade
Bethpage pizza delivery man known as “Sal the voice” will serve as grand marshal of November 26 parade and sing at the festival
Sal Valentinetti, the pizza delivery man from Bethpage who charmed millions with his renditions of old standards as a finalist on the television program “America’s Got Talent,” will headline the Seventh Annual Holiday Parade and Street Festival in Huntington Village November 26.
The 21-year-old Valentinetti, who goes by the nickname “Sal the Voice,” will lead the parade as its grand marshal and perform a few numbers immediately after the tree lighting that follows the parade, which is set to kick off at 6 p.m. on the 26th .
“I’m honored and thrilled to be part of this Huntington tradition and I’m looking forward to it,” Valentinetti said, as he is preparing for three shows at The Paramount on December 15, 16 and 22 (tickets are on sale for all three shows).
Valentinetti’s official biography describes him as “the definition of an old soul with an olive oil voice and Italian charm. Valentinetti first learned the American standards at his grandmother’s knee and his passion grew further when he discovered his hidden vocal talent in his teenage years. His voice may seem like his strongest asset, but anyone who knows him knows that it’s his personality that shines brighter than the whitewalls of his Cadillac.” Clips of his performances have attracted more than 15 million views on YouTube. He finished fifth in the competition.
This is the first year the parade will have a grand marshal, only one of many features added for this year to make November 26 extra special in Huntington Village, seamlessly integrating Small Business Saturday, the parade and the festival, including an updated interactive map, a new Holiday Parade Facebook page, an expanded gingerbread house competition and a scavenger hunt.
The updated interactive map, which people can access online through their smart phones and tablets from the home page of the Town of Huntington website, www.huntingtonny.gov, will go live later this week and stay live through the holiday season. It provides information about participating merchants and any offers they might have related to Small Business Saturday or the Holiday Parade, as well as the parade route and parking information. The interactive map also contains a printable sheet of coupons.
Last year, 25 merchants signed up to be a part of the map and offer deals for the holiday season. Any merchant wishing to participate this year can download an application on the Town’s website or on the new Huntington Holiday Facebook page. The map site received a total of 2,789 “hits” last year, including 1,239 on the day of the parade and festival.
The parade, which draws between 5,000 and 10,000 people to the Village, will kick off at 6 p.m. from the Big H Shopping Center on New York Avenue and will proceed north to Main Street and then west on Main Street to West Neck Road.
The parade will include competitions for the best floats in several categories, with judging based on how well they follow the theme of the parade, “Cartoon Holiday.” The friendly competition among fire departments is particularly fierce, because the winning department gets to choose who gets to play Santa Claus in the 2017 parade. Businesses and organizations are also encouraged to participate.
By popular demand, The North Shore Pops, which calls itself Long Island’s favorite concert band, will again perform immediately after the parade, playing in front of the holiday tree, which has become a popular picture and gathering spot throughout the holiday season.
The Pops’ performance will be one of many throughout the day, with carolers strolling through the village. There also will be musical performances on and in front of the reviewing stand before the parade.
After the tree lighting ceremony, the festival will continue on Wall Street. A DJ will take over to maintain the festive mood, as children pay a visit to Santa Claus, get their faces painted, play in the bounce houses, or enjoy a free cup of hot chocolate, compliments of Christopher’s Restaurant, Almarco and Huntington Panini. There will also be holiday crafts and activities at both the Huntington Public Library and Panera Bread, starting at noon.
Free parking will be available at the Huntington train station, with a convenient free shuttle from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.