All a ‘Blaze’

It’s great to hear that the pandemic can’t keep Historic Hudson Valley’s “Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze” down. The Christo-like happening that sees brilliantly lit pumpkins in various designs thread Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson has returned for its 16th season, running on a record 53 select evenings through Nov. 21.

But there’s more good news for Long Islanders or those visiting from Westchester and Fairfield counties:  “The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze” is making its debut on the island at Old Bethpage Village Restoration Oct. 2 through Nov. 1. Both historic sites feature 7,000 jack o’lanterns and pumpkin sculptures along wooded paths, orchards and gardens.

“After 15 sold-out seasons at Van Cortlandt Manor in Westchester, we are thrilled to partner with Nassau County on our first expansion of ‘The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze,’” Historic Hudson Valley President Waddell Stillman said in a statement. “Old Bethpage Village Restoration is an ideal location and the mission of both historic organizations are completely aligned. With new site-specific installations that celebrate the region, together we are bringing the magic of ‘Blaze’ to a whole new audience.”

“My team worked hard to bring this extraordinary event to Nassau County, continuing my efforts to expand on the variety of cultural, memorable and safe activities available to residents close to home – making the county a spectacular place to live, work and play,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran added.  “OBVR provides a perfect 19th century backdrop for this magical and spooky event, which we hope will also help spur economic activity in our local communities. I want to thank Historic Hudson Valley for working with us and choosing Nassau County to expand (the) iconic event.”

Being an outdoor activity, the ‘Blaze’ lends itself naturally to our challenging times. Historic Hudson Valley and OBVR have modified these experiences for 2020 and are operating in strict compliance with New York state-issued “Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidelines,” which are available at forward.ny.gov.

The “Blaze” takes place entirely outdoors, is touch-free, uses timed admission and features a one-way walkthrough path with no places to congregate. Capacity is reduced by 67%, allowing visitors to enjoy their time as safely and socially distanced as possible. All staff and visitors must wear a mask and maintain 6 feet of social distancing when on site, and there is no food and beverage available.

Also returning for 2020 is “Home of the ‘Legend’” on the grounds of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” author Washington Irving’s Sunnyside in Irvington. Visitors can embark on a literary-themed scavenger hunt and see a special “Legend”-themed exhibit. “Home of the ‘Legend’” is a daytime, all-ages event.

For tickets, visit hudsonvalley.org or call 914-366-6900. (There’s a $2 per ticket surcharge for phone orders.) For more, visit pumpkinblaze.org.

Georgette Gouveia

 

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