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West End Gears Up for Winter Wonderland Festival

Swingbellys will host a Surfing Santa and Elf Crawl at part of the West End Winter Wonderland Festival in Long Beach on Saturday. (Photo: Joe Kellard)
Swingbellys will host a Surfing Santa and Elf Crawl at part of the West End Winter Wonderland Festival in Long Beach on Saturday. (Photo: Joe Kellard)

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 evening.

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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

oceanview December 13, 2013 at 11:02 AM
Santa skitching on the west end bus
jv December 13, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Is this another City-sponsored drunken debacle?
Jack December 13, 2013 at 07:21 PM
This will be Long Beach's version of Manhattan's "Santa Con". Great to get the young kids started early on drunkeness. Why not have it on the boardwalk if its just an electric light parade? Why is everything centered around alcohol? Paganism is alive and well. 2000 years of Christianity is under attack by another version of the secular Winter Solstice crowd. Witches, warlocks, druids, goths and animists!
Ang December 14, 2013 at 07:11 AM
It's going to be a festive time with fun pretty lights the kids to see and families. Why do you always find the devil and everything?
ally K December 14, 2013 at 08:51 AM
It's a parade with lights what do drunks have to do with it? The boardwalk lights don't help local shops or businesses so having it on the boardwalk doesn't help anyone but the hotel. With the parade you can take your family out to dinner before or after the parade in the West End.
Jack December 14, 2013 at 10:52 AM
It might start out innocent this year but history tells us it morphs into a bar free for all. Just as St. Brendan's day morphed into Irish day and into a drunken bar crawl.
roslyn bernstein December 14, 2013 at 12:34 PM
The holiday season reminds me of my childhood days at West School on Maryland Avenue in the 1950s. We spent weeks making snowflakes out of paper doilies and Chanukah Menorahs and Christmas Trees out of colored paper and we taped them to the classroom windows. You could barely see out! There were few restaurants and bars on Beech Street then --just a bakery, a pharmacy, and O'Rourke's, of course. A very different moment! (www.blueeftpress.com)
Richard Bergen December 14, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Merry Christmas!!!Embrace The season and Enjoy!!!
Eddie December 14, 2013 at 03:12 PM
The original West School sunk into the sand after a faulty design by the politically connected City Engineer. He was eventually indicted, convicted and lost his PE license. The cost of shoring up the building was enormous and paid by the taxpayers.
Jonathan Kaplan December 14, 2013 at 06:34 PM
You do realize Jack Kett that the Catholic Church was born of a fusion of Jewish and Pagan traditions right?
paul.d.spellman December 15, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Does anyone know when the holiday lights are scheduled to go up in the West End, the Holiday lights that the city relief fund donated funds to?
Carly December 15, 2013 at 12:23 PM
Whoever thought that LB should spend $500,000-700,000 for TV commercials and holiday lights to solicit wintertime visitors is seriously stupid. The money should have been given to LB store owners or residents who have yet to see a dime from any of the government agencies. Our so-called city decision-makers have to go.
Eddie December 15, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Democrats, Carly, going into the pockets of their friends and families.
Archy Bunka December 15, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Eddie You wrote: "The original West School sunk into the sand after a faulty design by the politically connected City Engineer. He was eventually indicted, convicted and lost his PE license. The cost of shoring up the building was enormous and paid by the taxpayers." Can you tell me the name of the City Engineer who got into hot water? and when this happened?
Archy Bunka December 15, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Another party for the West End? just what we need. Considering how limited Christmas stores are in the West End, I don't feel this makes any sense. What more is it then another bonanza for the bar owners?
Eddie December 15, 2013 at 03:53 PM
George S. Vanderwerken's firm laid the foundation for the original West School in 1925. It immediately began sinking and had to be shored up. He was charged with incompetence f9or making the supporting piles too short and was stripped of his license by the New York State Board of Regents. When Reynolds was developing Long Beach it was Vanderwerken who he hired to oversee the dredge and filling operations. In later years, he was indicted with Reynolds for misappropriating City funds in a highway financing scheme where money was paid for work not done.
Archy Bunka December 15, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Thank you, Eddie, you da man.
LB TAXPAYA December 15, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Jonathan, please ease up on ur statement of how the Catholic church was started. It wasn't Paganism Jonathan. You do have the Jewish part correct. Catholics and Jews share many of the same beliefs as you know. The pagan part is a no no.
LB TAXPAYA December 15, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Jonathan, through further research, I did conclude you were correct in a sense. If they did adopt pagan traditions, it was only traditions, not beliefs. No hard feelings!
Jonathan Kaplan December 15, 2013 at 07:30 PM
No worries LBTaxpaya, I've done a lot of research on the subject, it would be difficult to go over it all on a comments section, but it seems you found a few things that help explain my original comment. Merry Christmas & don't forget to pay your taxes!!!
Ed12345 December 17, 2013 at 05:29 PM
jack kett why don't you put on your puritan outfit and gtfo of the west end
DreamGirl January 01, 2014 at 01:59 PM
Eddie where did you get this onformation you wrote: George S. Vanderwerken's firm laid the foundation for the original West School in 1925. It immediately began sinking and had to be shored up. He was charged with incompetence f9or making the supporting piles too short and was stripped of his license by the New York State Board of Regents. When Reynolds was developing Long Beach it was Vanderwerken who he hired to oversee the dredge and filling operations. In later years, he was indicted with Reynolds for misappropriating City funds in a highway financing scheme where money was paid for work not done.
Eddie January 01, 2014 at 08:46 PM
It's from "Scoundrels by the Sea: The Sullied Past of Long Beach Politicians, Swindlers, Bootleggers -- and Worse" by Paul Jackson self published 2013. Buy it on Amazon - Great Book!
DreamGirl January 01, 2014 at 09:41 PM
Thanks

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