Village of Sag Harbor businesses are gearing up for a bump in foot traffic next weekend when Long Wharf hosts its annual display of fireworks and ice.
What started out admittedly as a ploy to increase sales in the dead of winter by the local chamber of commerce, HarborFrost has blossomed into a stalwart of the frigid season in its fourth year. It will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 7, 8 and 9.
Barbara Manning, the chamber’s treasurer, said this week that over the past three years, and despite an ill-timed blizzard last year canceling day one, the three-day event has easily brought thousands to the small community.
“The show went on last year because people love getting out and breaking the cabin fever,” she said, noting that the usually more mundane second day drew at least 500 people last year.
Accustomed to bustling crowds in the summer months, the approximately 1,500 people that attend the free festival each year are a huge boon to business owners looking to stay afloat while the harbor is freezing over, Ms. Manning said.
Lacking hard numbers, Ms. Manning predicted that the crowd probably follows “the 80/20 rule,” with 80 percent of those in attendance living on the East End, and about 20 percent “day-trippers from who knows where.”
Citing a long list of sponsors that make a lot of the attractions possible, the chamber sponsors the event to the tune of about $21,000, hoping to break even on tickets sold to the pre-festival Frost Ball and the sale of items donated by the business community.
Ms. Manning said about $9,000 is spent on the entertainment alone—which will include live ice sculpting, fire dancers, a Grucci fireworks show and more.
The Frost Ball this year will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, February 7, at Muse in the Harbor.
In addition to the sightseeing fun, the festival will feature live music on Main Street, a culinary tour through the village’s restaurants and a Frosty Plunge at Windmill Beach.
Proceeds raised by the participants of the daring dip will go to the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Pierson High School Theater Company.
Lastly, Bay Street Theatre will be hosting a day-long tribute to the Beatles, celebrating their 50th anniversary.
“Sag Harbor has always been a destination village,” Ms. Manning said. “The goal is to make it a destination year round.”