Plans Underway for 4th Annual Huntington Awareness Day
A parade within the parade – celebrating diversity among the community’s canine population – and honors for two longtime community residents will highlight the Fourth Annual Huntington Awareness Day, to be held this year on Sept. 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
First held in 2010, Huntington Awareness Day has become an annual tradition, with thousands of people turning out to celebrate the community’s unity, diversity and solidarity.
Once again, bands, floats, vintage cars, service groups and local merchants will join the march through Huntington Station from West Hills Road to Church Street, ending at the fair in the municipal parking lot between Railroad Street and Church Street. The fair will include performances by local artists and booths offering crafts and services.
The parade will honor Alfred A. Sforza, better known to generations of Huntington Station residents as “Freddie the Shoemaker.” Mr. Sforza took over his late brother-in-law’s shoe repair business in 1934 and operated it, at three different locations on New York Avenue, for more than 75 years. The shop was a gathering place to discuss current events. As the manager of a local softball team, he has been inducted into the Huntington softball Hall of Fame. Mr. Sforza is 99 years old.
Also to be honored is lifelong Huntington resident Charles Gumbs. Now 83 years old, Mr. Gumbs is a member of the Huntington Knights of Columbus who worked in the trucking industry and who, as a member of the armed forces stationed in the Middle East in the early 1950s, was a champion middleweight boxer.
The event will also give special recognition to James Conte and Lawrence Kushnick, both of whom passed away in the last year. Mr. Conte represented Huntington Station in the New York State Assembly for 24 years. Mr. Kushnick, an attorney who was the chairman of the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, helped organize the fair portion of Huntington Awareness Day.
New to the festivities this year is Corky Nightingale’s Woof, Wag and Walk Fashion Show, a parade-within-the-parade that will see canines come together to celebrate their breed diversity. Spectators are invited to line New York Avenue to see canine “Super Models” with their owners, show off their outfits down the “New York Avenue ‘Cat Walk'” wearing a variety of styles which represent their heritage and breed history. (Imagine French poodles wearing berets, German Shepherds wearing lederhosen and Scottish Terriers sporting kilts. Mixed breeds are encouraged to combine outfits.)
Persons interested in joining this part of the parade should call 631-367-2565 for more information.
The parade and fair are organized by the Huntington Awareness Community Partnership. “We continue to look for sponsors and, of course, we will gratefully accept donations to help us keep all events and rides free of charge,” said co-chair Dolores Thompson. “That way, everyone in the community can enjoy this special day. But we are particularly looking for vendors: people who want to sell arts and crafts, artwork, jewelry, fashion merchandise and other items that might be of interest to fair goers.”
Persons can obtain details about sponsorship or parade participation and download the necessary forms at the website, www.huntingtonawareness.org.
Those interested in becoming a parade sponsor, entering a float in the parade or reserving vendor space can also contact Dolores Thompson either by calling her at 631-425-2640 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.