Sag Harbor is a magnet in the summer: beaches, boats and sweet streets for strolling. But in the winter, it falls off people’s radar. The remaining residents hunker down and get back to their small-town roots. But the secret is that under a blanket of snow, Sag Harbor’s Main Street is more charming than ever. Enter Harborfrost. Long Wharf is blocked off, fireworks explode off the pier and ice sculptors and fire dancers coax people out of their dwellings and into the streets.
“Last winter was so long, so many of us were camped out in our homes trying to stay warm. But this is a chance to get out walking in droves and there’s a great community feeling,” said Kelly Dodds, board member of the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the Harborfrost committee.
The Fiery Sensations have been involved since the beginning, five years ago. The artists’ fire dancing, hula hooping and poi performances light up the street. It’s a unique celebration they really enjoy. “The chill and sparkly air lend a mystical feature, inspiring a mesmerizing performance for ourselves and the assemblage,” said member Susan Blacklocke who also noted the festival’s growth. “We are always surprised by the increasing numbers that Harborfrost attracts.”
In addition to the performances, galleries will schedule openings for the weekend. Laura Grenning owns the Grenning Gallery and along with her winter art show, she always hosts a musi- cal act in the afternoon. Grenning, who has kids in the Sag Harbor schools, values the sense of community. “I’ve been in town for twenty years and for the past ten, there’s been a renaissance in the year-round community—lots of us who have lived other lives and are totally in love with the small town of Sag Harbor. This is a celebration of that.”
Come daybreak on Saturday, the town is hopping: from the polar bear plunge in the morning, to the live music and performances throughout the day, straight through to 5pm, when the crowds gather on the Long Wharf for a fireworks display. “Having thousands of people cramped onto the wharf to watch the fireworks, to see the streets full of people, gives a rush of excitement,” said Dodds. “It’s this great community feeling, an extension of the spirit of the holidays.
Harborfrost takes place February 27-28