The Manhasset Chamber of Commerce held its first Manhasset Al Fresco on June 27 that brought together the community for live music, food, shopping and a taste of normal life again.
The street fair designated as the “night on the town” is being held every other Sunday through Oct.10 from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Plandome Road, alternating between South and North Plandome. “All the businesses were excited to be a part of this,” Antonietta Manzi of the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, said.
There were many moving parts in organizing the Manhasset Al Fresco event, Matthew Donno of the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce explained.
“We had to coordinate with the town, the fire department, the police department,” Donno said. “All who were amazing at helping us coordinate all of this. One of our primary goals was to help the small businesses in this town who definitely went through a harsh year, 2020, due to COVID, by communities coming out and supporting businesses. For so many years, these businesses supported the community and donated to every function and sports team.”
The sounds of rock music performed by the Long Island-based John Byrnes Band attracted diners to Plandome Road, which was blocked off by the Nassau County Police Department. The diners ate at the Greek restaurant Herb & Olive and Italian restaurant Villa Milano.
“Everybody is enjoying the live music,” Manzi said. “Earlier we had a DJ, a lot of the kids were enjoying that. Everybody is enjoying the outdoor dining. It’s been a success so far.”
Robbie Donno of the Manhasset Rotary Club’s Gift of Life program was manning a table with Jenny Hubbard of the Newtown, CT. based Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, founded in honor of her six-year-old daughter named Catherine who was among the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012.
Robbie Donno and Hubbard were promoting kindness gardens, an initiative between the Manhasset Rotary and Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, that works to beautify the land while increasing the number of native plants that help local pollinator health and butterfly migration. More than 5,000 square feet of pollinator habitat was planted in and around Manhasset, as Kindness Gardens were donated to local organizations and businesses like the Science Museum of Long Island. Hubbard said the Kindness Gardens have been a huge success in Manhasset.
“We’re now selling gardens for the September planting,” Robbie Donno said, adding that Manhasset Al Fresco is a way to revitalize Plandome Road after the pandemic. “You’re driving people down to Plandome Road, it’s getting foot traffic and the restaurants enjoy the business.”
Matthew Donno, Robbie Donno’s son, said Manhasset Al Fresco will only grow from their first event.
“Now that people know about it, being that this is the first year it’s been done, it’s going to get more exposure,” Matthew Donno said. “In two weeks we’re going to do the next event which is the second half of town. It should be fantastic.”
Manhasset Cinemas will be among the businesses to participate on the July 11 event on North Plandome Road. The theater will be serving popcorn and soda that will pair perfectly with the live entertainment happening next door.