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12/09/16 3:36pm
12/09/2016 3:36 PM

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New York State played Santa Claus for local municipalities and developers Thursday, doling out $62 million in grant money on Long Island, with the Riverhead, Southold and Riverside communities all on the receiving end.  READ

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09/23/16 9:00am
09/23/2016 9:00 AM

Alive on 25

Alive on 25 turned a nearly $15,000 profit this summer and plans are already in the works to hold the event again next year, according to Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association president Steve Shauger.


09/29/15 7:00pm
09/29/2015 7:00 PM

Steve Bellone

Members of the East End Tourism Alliance asked County Executive Steve Bellone to increase the amount of tourism funding they get through an existing 3-percent county room occupancy tax at a meeting in Riverhead Tuesday. READ

05/16/14 10:00am
05/16/2014 10:00 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Taste North Fork shuttle bus stops are now scheduled for 25 locations during Veteran’s Day weekend.

Six months after touting their collaboration on the first-ever Taste North Fork weekend in November, organizers from three local tourism and agricultural promotion groups have announced they won’t team up for the event again this year.

Plans for last year’s festival were unveiled in August by the North Fork Promotional Council, Long Island Wine Council and East End Tourism Alliance. The event was made possible by a portion of a $335,000 “I Love NY” grant that funded shuttle bus trips across the North Fork for three days over Veterans Day weekend. Various farms and wineries participated by hosting special events to attract visitors.

Shuttles made a loop between Riverhead and Greenport, stopping at around 50 hamlet centers, farms and wineries along the way.

But the event was poorly executed and did little to help businesses that weren’t wineries, said promotional council president Joan Bischoff.

According to the promotional council’s internal evaluation of the event, a copy of which Mr. Bischoff provided to the Suffolk Times, “For non-winery North Fork businesses, the primary successes of Veterans Day Weekend — the weekend supported by the bus provided by the grant — resulted from North Fork businesses’ self-organizing, not from the grant-funded components.”

But this news doesn’t signify the end for either the event or the Taste North Fork name.

Throughout the upcoming tourism season, various promotional council events will be branded “Taste North Fork,” although they won’t be affiliated with last year’s grant-funded festival. The first such event, 2014 Season Kick-Off Taste North Fork, is set for Saturday, May 17. Marking the unofficial start of the tourism season, it will feature a meet-and-greet for residents and the media with a host of local chefs, growers, winemakers and bed-and-breakfast owners.

“We cannot wait anymore,” Mr. Bischoff said. “We have to get the North Fork going now, not in November.”

Meanwhile, the Long Island Wine Council has received another “I Love NY” grant to again help fund a three-day event in November.

Wine council president Steven Bate didn’t respond to requests for details about the fall event, but has also said the Wine Council and East End Tourism Alliance will no longer work alongside the North Fork Promotional Council.

East End Tourism Alliance president Bryan DeLuca referred all questions about the upcoming event to the wine council.

Eugene Gluck, the promotional council’s executive director, said a lack of grant money won’t prevent his group from bringing local businesses together in the future.

“Taste North Fork is something the promotional council developed last November — it is not necessarily a part of the grant,” he said. “The grant wasn’t Taste North Fork, it was Taste New York. Taste North Fork is the spin we took from it. It is our branding.”

12/09/13 11:00am
12/09/2013 11:00 AM
FLICKR PHOTO/thurdl01 | Riverhead could soon see its own incarnation of Water Fire, as pictured in Providence.

FLICKR PHOTO/thurdl01 | Riverhead could soon see its own incarnation of Water Fire, as pictured in Providence.

Floating fire pits could soon light up the Peconic River near Grangebel Park under a proposal being put forward by the East End Tourism Alliance and the Riverhead Business Improvement District.

Bryan DeLuca of EETA and Ray Pickersgill of BID pitched the idea of bringing “River Fire” to the Peconic River at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Board work session, saying he believes it can be an attraction that drives people downtown.

The idea is based on the successful “Water Fire” program that has been done in Providence, RI for the past 10 years and which is now done in other areas throughout the nation.

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“It’s an absolute tourist attraction and we strongly believe it’s a great opportunity for Riverhead,” Mr. DeLuca, who also is executive director of the Long Island Aquarium and Hyatt Hotel in downtown Riverhead, told the Town Board on Thursday. “It would be the only one on Long Island.”

The floating pits have firewood in them and don’t use an accelerant, Mr. DeLuca said.

Pat Snyder of East End Arts has suggested that an artists’ contest could be help to design some of the floating pits. Mr. DeLuca would like to see every fifth fire pit be an “artisan” one.

In Providence, Water Fire – run by a nonprofit arts organization of the same name – has almost one “water fire” display per month and uses about 90 floating fire pits. Mr. DeLuca said he’s hoping Riverhead can have three or four per year.

Mr. DeLuca is seeking grants for the project and got informal Town Board approval to have Chris Kempner, the town’s community development director, apply for some grants for the project.

The costs of the pits can range from $2,000 to $4,000 apiece, although the BID had one designed for $1,000, with a price estimate of about $600 for each additional one.

They are hoping to start with about 10 to 20 fire pits, Mr. DeLuca said. They also would need money to purchase the wood, and volunteers to stoke the fires.

In addition, some of the fire pots could also be on land, he said.

The ones in the water can be easily removed if needed, Mr. DeLuca said.

Councilman John Dunleavy expressed concerns about the cost of policing for such an event, as well as whether the fire marshal would need to be involved.

“That should be the least of our concerns, Mr. DeLuca said on the police issue. “We’re talking about driving traffic downtown.”

10/22/13 5:00pm
10/22/2013 5:00 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Taste North Fork shuttle bus stops are now scheduled for 25 locations during Veteran’s Day weekend.

With less than a month to go, details of the first-ever Taste North Fork festival are falling into place with more than 50 local wineries, restaurants, hotels and shops signing up to participate.

On Tuesday, Hampton Jitney released the official list of more than 20 stops (see below) the free shuttles will be making on Veteran’s Day weekend.

The three-day event will feature a full range of activities celebrating local wines and foods across the region. Wineries, as well as local breweries and distilleries, will be invited to offer special tasting menus paired with foods from local restaurants.

The buses will run in a loop between Riverhead and Greenport. There will also be feeder buses from the Cross Sound Ferry and Long Island Rail Road. Stops will be made at each location approximately every 45 minutes during business hours.

The pilot program is being made possible through a portion of a $335,000 “I Love NY” grant, aiming to help promote agritourism on the East End. Since the East End Tourism Alliance, Long Island Wine Council and North Fork Promotion Council unveiled the plan in August the event has received an overwhelming response from local businesses and town officials, organizers said.

Southold, Greenport and Mattituck have all signed on to host their own “mini-festivals” in honor of Taste North Fork through the holiday weekend.

North Fork Promotion Council president Joan Bischoff said he hopes the shuttle program can continue next year for the entire summer season.

“We have to make sure it’s not a bridge to nowhere,” he said. “We would like some sort of annual event in the slow season to bring in tourists.”

The list of stops are as follows:

Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard

Bedell Cellars

Castello di Borghese

Clovis Point

Coffee Pot Cellars

Duck Walk Vineyards

Jamesport Vineyards

Jason’s Vineyard

Kontokosta Winery


Osprey’s Dominion

Palmer Vineyards

Pellegrini Vineyards




Sannino Bella Vita Vineyards

Sherwood House Vineyards

Sparkling Pointe

Waters Crest Winery

LI Spirits Craft Distillery




Orient Point (Cross Island Ferry connection)

[email protected] 

10/11/13 11:19am
10/11/2013 11:19 AM
Courtesy photo by Bryan Deluca | A glimpse of the new East End Getaway boutique at Long Island MacArthur Airport.

Courtesy photo by Bryan Deluca | A glimpse of the new East End Getaway boutique at Long Island MacArthur Airport.

As part of a $335,000 grant run through the East End Tourism Alliance, a draw for travelers will be on display at MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, promoting the tourist economy the East End has to offer.

In addition to selling standard tourist fare like t-shirts and hats promoting the East End, the shop will sell local food products and artwork from the region’s artists.

“This is another great opportunity for us to promote the region, not only for tourists flying in but also for commuters using that airport frequently to give them a better idea of what’s going on at the East End,” said Steve Bate, executive director of the Long Island Wine Council.

Click here to read more about the shop on Northforker.com.