By Rachel Bosworth
The New Year marks the symbolic time when everyone has the chance to make a fresh start. The opportunity to refresh, reinvent, and revamp ourselves and our businesses is often listed among resolutions, and with 2017 here, this idea is more important than ever to Sag Harbor residents and visitors alike.
The fire that ripped through Main Street just before Christmas — on December 16 — left a number businesses and apartments destroyed, including the iconic Sag Harbor Cinema that has been showing films on a single screen since the 1920’s. Firefighters from more than 10 districts battled freezing temperatures and wind as the fire consumed other businesses including SagTown Coffee, and the Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery, which lost nearly 100 paintings from various artists. Tragedy has a unique ability to bring people closer together, and with a new year ahead to look forward to, the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce is eager to rebuild Main Street.
“I think the best we can do right now is for each individual business to continue to be there for each other,” says Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce Board President Lisa Field, the owner of The Variety Store, one of the cornerstone businesses in the village. “The Chamber provides the tools to bring us together and be a united voice. If each of our businesses continue to do what we do best, Sag Harbor will come back stronger and better than ever.”
Sag Harbor is a culturally important seaside village on the East End, offering locals and visitors a number of things to do and places to visit year round. The Chamber hosts a number of annual events honoring the area’s vast whaling and industrial history, while promoting the growth of a thriving modern business district. A new event, the Candlelight Gathering, with Cormaria Retreat House was held last month to show community support, gratitude, and hope for the new year.
The first Chamber event of 2017 will be HarborFrost, which begins on Saturday, February 25. The winter celebration combines the elements of fire and ice; a theme Ms. Field says in more relevant than ever. “The fire on Main Street literally had our firefighters battling the same two elements. We hope to pay tribute to all of our firefighters in some way during this year’s HarborFrost event.”
The event will include a live ice carving demonstration, the Frosty Plunge — an event that invites residents and visitors to take a dip in the frigid waters off Windmill Beach — a fire juggler and dancers, and fireworks. Live music performances will be ongoing throughout the village while guests enjoy East End chowder by Baron’s Cove, a bake sale with the Pierson robotics team, tea and pastries by Golden Pear Café, and wine tastings with Wolffer Estate Vineyard.
Other popular annual Chamber events the Sag Harbor community will look forward to include the Easter Bonnet Parade and Petting Zoo, sidewalk sales and arts and crafts fairs, HarborFest, the Halloween parade and Pumpkin Trail, and Santa’s visit.
As different ideas are being discussed in regards to fundraising and rebuilding efforts, the Chamber continues to be involved and offer their services, said Ms. Field, who added the Chamber of Commerce is only as strong as their individual members.
“As we begin our annual membership drive, I would like to invite anyone in Sag Harbor or the surrounding community who has a business to join our organization and help us continue the work we do to keep our Main Street and business district thriving,” she said. “We are an important part of our community and proud of the work we do.”
More information about the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce and events can be found online at sagharborchamber.com.