Dec. 30, 2018 saw a record turnout at the Valley Stream Historical Society’s Pagan Fletcher Restoration House for the group’s end-of-year candlelight evening in which members provided tours to history fans from all over, of the oldest house in the neighborhood and the various historical displays contained within.
In addition to highlighting the society’s various exhibits, the annual event serves as a food drive for the pantries at Blessed Sacrament and Holy Name of Mary churches. By the end, society President Guy Ferrara reported, the drive had collected nearly eight boxes of non-perishable food donations to be delivered.
“I think it’s the biggest turnout we’ve had in maybe five years,” he said.
“We had the biggest crowd ever,” said Valerie Esposito, a historical society trustee, and one of the event’s original organizers.
Esposito said there were so many visitors that the evening’s tour guides — all of whom were equipped with electric candles — had trouble keeping up with demand.
Ferrara said the popularity of the evening was a testament to the respect the historical society has garnered over the years for its professionalism and the rich volume of Valley Stream history it has preserved and highlighted. People came for the tours from communities as far afield as Huntington, he said, as well as Merrick and Rockville Centre, and that interest was so great that visitors stayed long after the event had been scheduled to end.
Esposito said the evening also served as a membership drive, and was happy to report that by the end of the night the historical society had gained six new members.