Youngsters were called upon to assist with the sculpting. (Eileen Casey)
- Despite the chilly temperature, rain, fog, massive puddles, and difficulty in securing a parking spot, the indomitable spirit of a local community was triumphantly on display in Sag Harbor on Saturday, as large crowds gathered to observe, participate and enjoy the inaugural Sag Harbor HarborFrost.
A round of applause for founding sponsors, including Save Sag Harbor, Sag Harbor Chamber
of Commerce, Hamptons Gym Corp., Prudential Douglas Elliman
, Brown Harris Stevens
, and the Sag Harbor Express
In an effort to boost community spirit, merchants and restaurants, HarborFrost offered numerous activities, live music, prizes, raffles, and '$20.11' special lunches and dinners, as well as discounts in local shops offering a variety of items, all of which contributed to a much needed and enjoyable release from a rather difficult winter.
The activities began with an ice sculpting demonstration on Long Wharf, featuring the talents of Fear No Ice
, two gentlemen who quickly and expertly sculpted a beautiful and appropriate 'Whale's Tail' (featuring a bench as well) - much to the delight of observers.
Attendees gathered on Long Wharf under umbrellas to view the ice sculpting and frosty plunge. (Eileen Casey)
Weilding chain saws; power and hand tools, as well as employing the assistance of observing youngsters assured the well deserved oohs and aahs from the crowd, and allowed adults to forget for a short while that this same 'artistic resource' is still making some roadways and driveways an unwelcomed obstacle.
Matt Lauer with his son took the plunge. (Jakes van der Watt)
Immediately following the ice sculpting demonstration, many hearty risk takers participated in 'The Frosty Plunge' into the village beach for the benefit of the Sag Harbor Ambulance Corps. Goosebumps, teeth chattering and foot shuffling accompanied the swimsuit clad participants prior to their daring plunge into the cold water as umbrella holding observers shouted encouragement.
In and out as fast as their frozen toes could take them, good natured and purple lipped plungers of all ages were offered free hot showers at the Sag Harbor Gym, free hot soup from Phao
, and everyone was offered warm and welcoming free hot chocolate as well. Among those who dared to plunge were Matt Lauer
, with his son, Jack
, and Ted Conklin, Jr.
With the rain increasing in intensity, many made their way into Bay Street Theatre
to warm up to the melodic sounds from local jazz musicians, while others headed for the restaurants and shops along Main Street.
A second ice sculpting demonstation was held at the Civil War monument later in the day, eventually revealing an equally elaborate and skillfully sculpted trio of Eskimos - appropriate as the temperature continued to drop. With the fog rolling in steadily, and the wind picking up it was still game on for the Grucci Fireworks display held at Long Wharf once the sun set. Foggy skies and steady rain certainly did not diminish the exciting anticipation of fireworks on a wintry night.
Plungers brave the freezing cold water at the village beach. (Eileen Casey)
For those who braved the weather to walk to the end of Long Wharf, as well as those who simply crossed the bridge into Sag Harbor at an opportune moment thus coming to a full stop and enjoying the display from the comfort of their vehicles, Grucci once again did not disappoint. Although the heavy fog obscured the fireworks somewhat, nonetheless, the spectacle of bursting pyrotechnics over the harbor lifted the sense of community and camaraderie among everyone.
A Whale's Tail kicked off the HarborFrost activities. (Eileen Casey)
Well done and a community thanks to the supporting sponsors, including Apple Bank, Corcoran Group
and Amaden Gay Insurance Agencies. Contributing sponsors, including Baron's Cove Inn, Collette Consignment, Corner Bar, Flying Point Surf & Sports, Homework of the Hamptons, F. Michael Hemmer, Le Lampade, Macroni Kid, The Sag Harbor Hysterical Society, Sag Harbor Inn, Sag Harbor Variety, Southampton Inn
, Times/Review Newsgroup, T&S Mott General Contracting, Tulla Booth Gallery
, Water Mill Cupcake Company and 27 East Press News Group, as well as local police and fire department personnel who ensured that all were safe; and to the local merchants who competed for a prize for the best promotion.
It is always encouraging when a community comes together to show support for each other and their environment. The inaugural Sag Harbor HarborFrost successfully managed to provide an opportunity for attendees to enjoy a day in their hometown, and to partake in what local merchants and restaurants offer. Contrary to some beliefs, the sidewalks do not roll up in the winter in the Hamptons, and year round residents, as well as business persons created and participated in an opportunity to extend to all of us an uplifting wish for a prosperous and Happy New Year.
Let's hope this becomes an annual event, and both Mother Nature and the economy cooperate.
Fireworks by Grucci topped up a wonderful day despite rain and fog. (Eileen Casey)
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.