Threat of rain postpones Halloween Fest parade, cancels coffin races

Due to the forecast of heavy rains and winds Saturday, paired with high tides and potential river flooding, the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association has made changes to the schedule for the planned Halloween Fest this weekend, according to Diane Tucci, the executive director for the BIDMA.

The weather will not affect many of the events, but will impact the planned coffin races, parade and Jack O’Lantern Walk, she said. The Coffin Races, currently are held on the Peconic Riverfront, need to be held under dry conditions, she said in a press release Wednesday.

“Due to multiple factors, including safety reasons and logistics, organizers regretfully have decided the races will need to be postponed until next year,” the statement reads. “They have discussed looking at solutions for the future, including adding extra dates in for rain dates when submitting event applications and planning operations.”

The Grand Costume Parade, originally planned for Saturday night, will be moved to Sunday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.

“Weather is the most challenging and uncontrollable part of hosting outdoor events,” Ms. Tucci continued. “Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions, but they are based on both the safety of our attendees while trying to maintain a great event. People have spent a lot of time decorating lampposts, building floats and ‘coffins’ and making plans for Halloween Fest. We are hopeful for good weather Sunday. There’s plenty to do downtown all weekend, so hopefully people will stop in and enjoy a Main Street restaurant or event.”

There will still be restaurant specials all weekend, which are listed online on The Jack O’Lantern Walk will also be moved to Sunday, subject to weather conditions. The pumpkin contest will still be held and prizes awarded.

This is the second year the BIDMA’s Halloween Festival was impacted by weather. Last year, the then-inaugural coffin races were originally planned for Sunday on Griffing Avenue, but were moved to Saturday on Heidi Behr Way due to a prediction of heavy rains for Sunday.

Highlights from the revised Halloween Festival schedule is as follows:

Friday, Oct. 26:

8 p.m.: Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Suffolk Theater

Saturday, Oct. 27:

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Bats, Barnacles & Broomsticks at the Long Island Aquarium

3 to 5 p.m.: Free pumpkin carving at East End Arts Grounds (Carriage House if raining)

3 to 5 p.m.: Trick or treating on Main Street, stores will be open with Halloween candy.

8 p.m.: Masquerade Ball at the Long Island Aquarium

Sunday, Oct. 28:

7 p.m.: Grand Costume Parade