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A summer of family fun

Local chambers plan socially distant events

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As summer nears in Wantagh and Seaford, the Chamber of Commerce in each hamlet is planning a series of outdoor, socially distanced events to allow neighbors to spend time together.

Starting this Saturday, the Seaford chamber will host its first Maker’s Market at the Seaford Long Island Rail Road station. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents can greet and patronize roughly 25 local artisans and crafters. The event’s rain date will be Sunday.

“The chamber wanted to do something to get everyone out and into the community,” said Donna Jebaily, a member of the chamber’s board of directors, who is organizing the event.

“We have a lot of crafters in Seaford and we have a lot of people with home-based businesses,” she said. “We wanted to give those residents a place to sell their merchandise and the community an experience outside with their neighbors.”

The market will feature handmade clothes, cards, wooden signs, cat and dog mats, summer decorations, beach bags, candles, soaps, framed artwork, custom-made trays, crafts kits, masks and essential oils, among other goods from community vendors. The Seaford 9/11 Memorial Committee will also take part, debuting a commemorative coin in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Maker’s Market will be held again on June 12, July 10, Aug. 14 and Sept. 25. The chamber will also host a food truck festival with live music on June 19, July 17 and Aug. 21.

The chamber regularly hosts similar events and craft fairs at the LIRR station, but didn’t have nearly as many last year because of the pandemic. Jebaily said she hoped the Maker’s Market and food truck festival would make more people confident about socializing as a community again.

The 54-year-old mother of three moved to the community when she was 24. The care and compassion of neighbors in Seaford, she said, was reminiscent of her childhood in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

“It was like a big family where I grew up — everyone was looking after each other,” Jebaily said. “Kids were out playing until it was dark. Everyone’s parents were close, so they’d keep an eye on the kids.”

The major difference, however, is that Seaford seemed “a bit quiet,” Jebaily said. “When I first got to Seaford, you could go weeks without seeing your neighbors. Not many people were outside on their porch.”

Through efforts like the Maker’s Market, she hopes to bring neighbors together and create the atmosphere she loved about her hometown.

In Wantagh, meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce is joining County Legislator Steve Rhoads to host movie nights in Wantagh Park every Wednesday from June 30 to Sept. 1.

Chamber members will hand out “hospitality” bags, filled with gifts from local businesses, to the first 50 people to attend each of the 10 events. Wantagh’s Iavarone Bros. Italian restaurant and deli will donate the bags.

The chamber is encouraging local business owners to make donations to the bags or sponsor the events. Interested business owners can contact the chamber before June 1 at (516) 679-0100 or email info@wantaghchamber.com.