There is no shortage of love in East Meadow, and one way businesses and neighbors prove that is how they come together once a year for East Meadow Community Pride Day.
Well, not the past two years, because of the coronavirus pandemic. But Community Pride returns on Saturday, celebrating its 31st year at Senator Speno Memorial Park on East Meadow Avenue.
Forecasters predict warm temperatures and sunny skies for Pride Day this year. The idea for the event came from East Meadow’s own Greg Peterson — who, at the time, was the Town of Hempstead supervisor — and has since grown to be a beloved event.
“He thought that East Meadow should have a day celebrating East Meadow,” said Ted Rosenthal, of the law firm Rosenthal Curry and Kranz. “Not just businesses, but the residents. Just everybody in general.”
Peterson had asked the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce to take on the event. The only requirement was that everything had to be free.
“The chamber and various other organizations got a bunch of businesses to come and put tables up, and people gave away things,” Rosenthal said. “It grew and grew from that first year.”
Nearly 50 local businesses are expected to participate in some fashion this year between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Whether it’s giving out food, running an activity or just setting up a table, businesses expect to be out there for their community.
“This event isn’t really about the businesses,” said Jim Skinner, owner of A&C Pest Management. “It’s really about bringing everybody — all of the organizations — together because each and every one of us has been involved in some way in East Meadow.”
Coldwell Banker American Homes will give out popcorn, while Nassau University Medical Center will provide the cotton candy. And, of course, there will be bagels and sandwiches, too.
“We’re doing much more activities than we’re ever done,” said Debbie Kirsch, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker American Homes in East Meadow. “There’s a whole long list of activities planned at different times.”
That list includes a color run — a run where participants are doused from head to toe in a different colored powder — as well as a pie-eating contest, and music inside the band shell.
The East Meadow Kiwanis will return its annual tree dedication memorial ceremony in honor of those Kiwanians who have died. This year its members have added a new group to remember as well: those who have died as a result of Covid-19.
This year’s Community Pride is about more than just food, although Rosenthal admits there will be a lot of it.
The two-year halt in activities made many more passionate about this Community Pride Day, Skinner said.
“There’s a lot more energy because everyone wants to do it,” he said. “We have a lot more people getting involved.”
The planning committee for this year’s event is made up of nearly 25 people covering different aspects of the day.
For Richie Krug Jr., president of the Chamber of Commerce, Community Pride is especially poignant because he grew up going to this very event.
“It was very exciting to me then,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve felt this excited about this event since I was a kid.”
The event’s main purpose is to showcase how special East Meadow is, Rosenthal said.
“It’s a special town. It’s going to be a great day.”