Historical Society shifts from Harvest Fair to Treasure Sale


What was once a crowded Harvest Fair outside the Seaford Historical Society’s Museum on Waverly Avenue — complete with local vendors and live performances in the Town of Hempstead’s portable bandshell — took a slightly different turn this year due to the pandemic.

The Seaford Historical Society held a Treasure Sale on the museum grounds on Sunday. A plethora of knickknacks and antiques — mainly donations from local people — were available for purchase, as were autumnal plants. All proceeds went to the Historical Society.

“It was too much to ask local businesses to support us this year — and they really do support us,” Judy Bongiovi, the organization’s president, said.

Despite the challenges of dealing with the coronavirus — from remote meetings to a lack of fundraising opportunities — the Historical Society has found ways to adapt and move forward. It has upgraded and refurbished the exterior of the museum, on Waverly Avenue. At its entrance is the Heritage Walkway, with each engraved brick purchased by a benefactor. While the initial bricks were installed last November, a new set has already been laid in place and another is expected to be completed in the coming months, Bongiovi said.

The museum, established in 1893, was repainted in May, and new landscaping was installed. The society has resumed regular meetings and raffles inside. Visiting hours are the first Sunday of every month, from noon to 3 p.m.

Charles Wroblewski, former president of the organization, said that the Treasure Sale, organized by the board of directors, served as a reminder to the community that the society is still functioning. “It’s a little different, but the main thing was that we wanted to get back and show the community that we’re still in business,” Wroblewski said, “and, of course, the plants are a big draw.”

Though the event was a change of pace for the community, locals stopped by from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to check out the items on sale, which included an antique Remington typewriter, a wooden soap box, a tin Nassau County ballot box and a bright yellow Royal Crown Cola cooler.

An antiques pricing expert visited the fair before it opened to provide estimates for the sale items. One weathervane, donated by a patron, was listed for $400. While its origin was unknown, museum Director Karen Cass said, it is assumed to be valuable because it is considered a collector’s item in Southern states.

Cass, a former Seaford Chamber of Commerce president and a current member of the Seaford, Wantagh and Massapequa chambers, said the fair was part of a continuing effort to maintain Seaford’s historic integrity.

“The whole aspect of it is the board of directors and the community get together, and all the money that’s raised goes to save the history,” Cass said. “Not just of the building, but inside the building, we have artifacts … that are specifically related to Seaford and the surrounding communities.

“People may have donated them for one reason or another,” she added, “but we can still get the funds back to the museum, which is what we’re trying to do today.”

Various tchotchkes filled tables close to the museum building, which ranged in price, and plenty of Seaford Vikings apparel, museum souvenirs and seasonal plants were available for purchase.

Seaford resident Phil Nicola, a Fire Department volunteer and a longtime member of the society, said that while the sale couldn’t replace the hustle and bustle of the Harvest Fair, it was certainly an appropriate replacement in the interim.

“I don’t think it’s going to take the place of the fair,” Nicola said at the event. “So we’re hoping to be back next year. But in the meantime, this is good. Once we’re out of the Covid era, I’m sure we’ll get back to the Harvest Festival.”