Holiday Lights in the Hamptons
by jamee gregory
The Montauk Lighthouse lights up on November 26
|The Living Room at c/o The Maidstone will host holiday festivities on December 11|
Looking back at Christmases past, what I remember most are winters in Southampton in all its decorative splendor: Main Street illuminated, the Parrish Art Museum angels dancing brightly on Jobs Lane—and the year a strep throat kept us home. I think back to the night, clear and cold, when my husband, Peter, and I wrapped our daughter, Samantha, in her parka, and walked to Agawam Park. We gathered in the darkness with other families circling the tall tree, then Chuck Scarborough’s strong voice welcomed one and all, the switch was thrown, and the majestic Southampton tree was officially ablaze.
The Holidays Light Up on the East End
This year myriad lightings will continue to brighten the South Fork for the holidays, menorahs and vines vying for attention with trees from Westhampton to East Hampton. Just as it has for more than 50 years, Southampton will once again feature the Parade of Lights on December 3, a caravan of fire trucks, hosted by the town’s volunteer fire department, that ends at Agawam Park, where carols will be sung and guests will mingle among the garland, wreaths, and 150 Christmas trees that festoon the village. Also on December 3 is Santa’s annual ride up Bay Street in Sag Harbor, culminating with a town lighting.
Another long-standing tradition takes place at the Big Duck, this year on November 30. Children from local elementary schools sing Big Duck holiday songs, and Santa visits on a Flanders fire truck, then helps kids switch on the beautiful wreath that has encircled the duck’s neck for decades.
Despite this heritage aspect, the holiday lighting scene on the East End is a constantly evolving one. The Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum & Gift Shop, shining brightly for more than 200 years, joined in the festivities in 2008, kicking off the season with its Lighting the Lighthouse Thanksgiving weekend, featuring a concert by Sarah Conway and the Christmas Revelers. Newer still, in addition to its annual tree lighting event on December 11, c/o The Maidstone will now welcome East Hampton revelers and Santa into its restaurant, The Living Room, for cookie decorating and refreshments ranging from hot chocolate to grog, a concert by the East Hampton High School Choir and pianist Brad Beyer, and a raffle to benefit the East Hampton Food Pantry. Also in support of a local cause, Wölffer Estate Vineyard will set its vines ablaze with more than 30,000 holiday lights.
Gather your loved ones for a South Fork celebration, and let there be light!
photography by Ralph Pugliese of Cutchogue (lighthouse)