This year was a bit of a bust when it came to fireworks shows and other Independence Day events. Patchogue’s Main Street parade didn’t happen. Neither did any of the usual fireworks …
This year was a bit of a bust when it came to fireworks shows and other Independence Day events. Patchogue’s Main Street parade didn’t happen. Neither did any of the usual fireworks shows. But local kids and their parents got to flex their American muscle with a patriotic chalk walk, which took place on the walkways of several local businesses and municipalities.
“Usually, we build a library float and march down Main Street—we invite families to join in, too. It’s always a good time, but obviously, it didn’t happen this year. This allowed us to still gather and celebrate,” said Michele Cayea, community relations manager for the Patchogue-Medford Library.
The library was one of three local municipalities that participated in the July 7th event. The library supplied participants with a box of chalk in order to draw patriotic words and pictures along the front sidewalk and outside wall. Other municipalities that participated were the Suffolk County Police Department’s 5th Precinct and the Bohemia Fire Department. Capital One Bank in Sayville also participated in the chalk walk, but later that week in an event held on Sunday, July 11. The entire event was supposed to take place a week earlier, on July 1, with the thought that the chalk drawings would still be there for people to see and admire on the Fourth of July—but that event was postponed due to rain.
The chalk walk was organized by assemblyman Jarett Gandolfo and assemblyman Joe DeStefano, who judged the chalk art and decided which of the municipalities had done the best job. According to Lindsay Ekizian, from Gandolfo’s office, the winner will receive a gift certificate to a local business and a pizza.
“We thought this was a great idea leading up to the Fourth, to build up community spirit,” said Gandolfo.
Gandolfo spoke about the importance of patriotism, as people are beginning to venture out of their homes now more than at any other point since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.
“Now that restrictions have lifted, people like to get out and do, really, anything. There’s nothing more unifying than being under a flag all together, fostering that state of togetherness. I think it means a lot to a lot of people,” said Gandolfo.
Local residents also felt the importance of that sense of togetherness in celebrating our nation’s birthday. Families came and saw the red, white and blue balloons and decided to see what was happening, according to Cayea.
“This year, because of the restrictions, we changed things around. Normally, we would stay home and have a barbecue on the Fourth, but this year we went on vacation,” said Bethany Majestic, who stopped by the library portion of the chalk walk with her son, Quinton, 4 years old.
According to Cayea, 25 families participated in the library portion of the chalk walk; while Ekezian said about 75 children participated in the whole event.