The Summer Almanac 2014 – The Great South Bay

The small towns along the rim of the Great South Bay are key to summer. A big part of what’s happening is at the beach (it is the South Shore), but these homey main streets pack plenty of small town charm.

Town: Sayville

Walk the streets of downtown Sayville and breathe in deep the bustle of activity and excitement. The calendar of events keeps the vibe hopping, with street festivals nearly every weekend and family events of every stripe. For one, The Common Ground is generally drawing a crowd with a regular mix of live music and events like Erik’s reptile “Edventures.” It’s a rare chance to pet an alligator in the backdrop of a blissfully idyllic Long Island park. If the calendar is clear that day, there’s always Loughlin Vineyard for a winery visit and a BYOF picnic (bring your own food).

Summer on the South Shore

Summer in Sayville is punctuated by a number of family-friendly events. During Pirate Festival (June) a fleet of buccaneers will descend on the Long Island Maritime Museum, rattling sabers and firing cannons, for a family fun day that will essentially be mandatory. Eye patches optional, but encouraged.The Seafood Festival (August) provides a chance to dig deep into a plate of the ocean’s tastiest bounty. SummerFest carnival and music festival (August), also serves as a fitting exclamation point to the season.

In Babylon, the summer sunset concert series hits Argyle Park every Friday at 8 p.m. The town of Babylon sponsors a free summer concert and movie series with a rotating mix of venues, acts and films across all the towns within greater Babylon. Films last year included Raiders of the Lost Ark, Soul Surfer and Wreck-It Ralph, while live acts included tributes to The Beatles and Journey, plus Billy Ocean, Starship and Jo Dee Messina.

Patchogue’s downtown hums with new activity. The Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts anchors a main strip filled with restaurants, shops, art and music around almost every corner. Cupcake shop? Check. Wine bar? Check. Meatball joint? Check. Craft beer boutique? Checkmate. A lot has been said in previous issues of Pulse, go now.

Patchogue’s Shorefront Park will host two huge events this summer, the first being the Great South Bay Music Festival (July) which continues bringing world-class musical acts to Long Island. The second is the Battle of the Burger presented by Amstel Light and sponsored by this magazine (August). Believe it, you’ll want to come hungry.

Sail the Great South Bay

Tucked safely behind Fire Island, but with enough open water for a daylong pleasure cruise, the GSB makes for some excellent sailing. A few places let you get out and try your hand on the waves.

Bay Shore Yacht Club: The season starts in June for non-member registration for classes.

Bellport Bay Sailing Foundation: This community-driven nonprofit group is dedicated to spreading the love of sailing.

South Bay Cruising Club: Members enjoy a summer packed with coordinated cruises, races and a few on-shore festivities.

Wet Pants Sailing Association: Regular races like the Tuesday night sunfish races share the water with big regattas like the Long Island Leukemia Cup Regatta in August.