Antique cars, fire trucks and bicycles will all be wrapped in Christmas
lights when an Electric Light Parade kicks off in the West End early Saturday
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The parade, scheduled to head down West Beech Street from Nevada to New York avenues starting at 6 p.m., is the final event of an all-day West End Winter Wonderland Festival, according to John Bendo, president of the West End Neighbors Civic Association.
“Bring the whole family out and join your neighbors for more West End Winter Wonderland festivities,” Bendo wrote in an email to WENCA members and others Thursday.
Saturday’s events start at 12 p.m. with ongoing Pop-Up Shops
in which local artists will sell their wares at West End stores, bars and
restaurants until 4 p.m. Also at 12 p.m., Swingbelly’s, a barbeque restaurant at 909 W. Beech St., will feature Surfing
Santa, followed at 2 p.m. by an Elf Scavenger Hunt in which children, ages 12
and under, will hunt for clues throughout the West End and the first 150 kids
to finish will earn elf ears as a prize, according to the Long Beach Herald.
The Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, Historic West End Business Association, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Project 11561, Arts in the Plaza and Sustainable Long Island are sponsoring the events.
James Lynch, the financial secretary for the chamber, told the Herald:
“It’s the first time we’ve done this. We’re throwing it all up against the wall and we’ll see what sticks.”
Meanwhile, a kick-starter campaign helped raise more than $10,000 to
replace seasonal lights for the West End business district that were destroyed
in storage during Hurricane Sandy.
Saturday’s events follow the start Boardwalk Lights, an initiative that started Dec. 2 in which colorful seasonal- and nautical-themed lights adorn light posts throughout the boardwalk, from Magnolia to Long Beach boulevards, and will remain on display from 5 to 9 p.m. each night through mid-January.
These and other city-led events, provided for through New York stage grants and several sponsors, are part of a post-Sandy marketing campaign the city embarked on last summer to attract visitors to Long Beach, the overall costs of which are from $500,000 to $700,000, according to the city.
“New Long Beach commercials will be airing in the coming weeks, emphasizing all that there is to do here,” Fran Adelson, the council vice president, said in a statement earlier this week. “Though Long Beach has been traditionally known as a summer community — we're truly a year-round destination with concerts, festivals, and recreational activities from January through December. Our shops and restaurants are open all year, and there’s no place on Long Island quite like Long Beach.”
The city is providing a free shuttle service from the west to east ends of Long Beach. The upcoming events and shuttle schedule are posted on the city’s website here.