OLD BETHPAGE, Long Island (PIX11) — Fall is here Thursday, and they’re ready for Halloween on Long Island. Starting on Sept. 30, the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze returns to the Old Bethpage Village Restoration for the third year. This year, there are no pandemic restrictions. Just fun!
PIX11’s Eileen Lehpamer was given a preview. There are 7-thousand Jack O’Lanterns are hand carved, although many are foam. This year, there’s a new jellyfish portal and some of the old favorites, like 19th-century scarecrows and the Pumpkin Planetarium, that you can walk through.
Creative director Michael Natiello tells PIX11, “it’s a good three-quarters mix of fresh pumpkins. Each week, we’re re-carving over 500 pumpkins to replenish the ones that rot through.”
Hundreds of volunteers, including Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups, help light candles in the pumpkins each evening.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said he hopes the exhibit will draw more tourists to Long Island to enjoy the Blaze and the
local restaurants and shops. He was presented with a carved pumpkin of his own image. Blakeman joked, “it definitely looks younger than me.”
The event is developed and produced by the Historic Hudson Valley. Waddell Stillman, the president of the Historic Hudson Valley, said the Long Island Blaze is “the biggest pumpkin experience in the country.” He says visitors will also get to experience some of Long Island history as they weave their way through the pumpkin lights. Stillman said, “It’s a great way to bootleg in some history along with the great fun of enjoying the jack o lantern displays.”
You must purchase your tickets in advance on the website www.pumpkinblaze.org. It runs from Sept.30 to Nov. 6.