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Town changes course to allow two festivals to proceed in Calverton

The third annual Pour the Core hard cider festival at Peconic Bay Winery.

The Long Island Potato Festival and Pour the Core Festival will be allowed to proceed at the former Calverton Links golf course after all, despite Riverhead Town officials’ contention that events have been held at the site without proper approvals.

Andy Calimano of Starfish Junction Productions, which had both festivals in Riverhead Town in the past, made his case to the Town Board at its work session on Thursday, saying they didn’t realize the people they were leasing the site from did not have proper site plan approval from the town.

The Town Board in August had actually voted down special event applications for both the Cider Festival, which would be in its fifth year, and Potato Festival, in its third year, along with the Zombie Run. The former golf course property is now operated as Long Island Sports Club by co-owners Dean Del Prete and Paul Sattler, who are leasing 80 acres from property-owner Parviz Farahzad.

The Town Board had gotten a slew of special event applications from Long Island Sports Park earlier in the year and Supervisor Sean Walter said the property should get an actual site plan approval to be operated as a recreational facility, rather than to just keep submitting special event applications for each event.

LISC has since submitted a site plan application, which has to be approved, officials said.

Mr. Calimano said on Thursday that Starfish Junction was unaware that Long Island Sports Park was operating without a site plan approval, and they asked the Town Board to make an exception, since they had planned the events well in advance of the town’s asking LISP for a site plan.

Starfish Function had leased the site directly from the property owner for last year’s Cider Festival, he said.

“The reason we like this location is that it doesn’t tie up traffic during pumpkin season and it’s right off the Expressway,” Mr. Calimano said.

The two events will both bring a lot of business into the town, he said.

“Their events are very well run, and they handle traffic and security well,” Councilman Tim Hubbard said of Starfish Junction. “I would hate to lose this offering for the people of the town to go to.”

Town Board members informally voted to allow the Cider Festival and Potato Festival to go forward this year at Long Island Sports Park.

The fifth annual Pour the Core Cider Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“The event will offer a unique line-up of ciders to sample, food available to purchase from some of Long Island’s popular food trucks, and several seminars on America’s historic beverage,” Starfish Junction event manager Kristyn Dolan said in a press release.

The third annual Long Island Potato Festival will be held on Sunday, Oct. 2, beginning at 11 a.m.

It will have more than 30 vendors, food trucks, live music, activities and seminars, attendees will help commemorate and celebrate Long Island’s long-standing heritage of potato growers, potato farms, potato products, and more, according to Ms. Dolan.

Photo credit: Vera Chinese, file

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