This Weekend, Enjoy a Taste of Long Island to Support Our Veterans


Whether you’re a marathoner or someone who won’t even run to catch a train, this weekend’s Catholic Health Services’ 2nd Annual Suffolk County Marathon in Patchogue has something for everyone.

For the runners, the event includes a full and a half marathon and a 5K, but perhaps most exciting for Edible readers is the FreedomFest Taste of Long Island Festival and Street Fair on Main Street with Long Island brews and wines sharing center stage with local restaurants, small batch producers of local foods and food trucks. All of the action is directed towards funding services for Suffolk County veterans, many of whom will be providing the righteous live music all day long.

“Suffolk County has the second largest veteran population in the country, not just the state, but the whole country,” says August Ruckdeschel of Suffolk County Economic Development & Planning. The county, led by avid marathoner and county executive Steve Bellone, is hosting the event. “That’s really impressive. The veteran population deserves all the support we can give them.” Last year the marathon made $160,000 for the vets.

There have been some changes this year to make the experience richer for attendees and give more exposure to local food businesses. Last year the marathon began and ended at Heckscher State Park in Islip. This year the marathon will go through the park, but will begin and end in downtown Patchogue, giving a chance for local businesses to show off their stuff for the estimated 3,500 runners and 10,000 attendees. Expect a lot of real runners; this is a qualifying event for the Boston Marathon.

“We’ll be closing off the street, so there will be a real street fair atmosphere,” says Ruckdeschel. “We want to highlight food-based and beverage-based entrepreneurs in Suffolk County.”

There will be a beer garden with brews from Greenport Harbor Brewing, Twin Fork Beer Co. and Blue Point Brewing Company, plus wines from Pindar and Castello di Borghese. Fire Island Beer Company brews will be available at local restaurants, many of which will have outdoor areas set up for the occasion including That Meetball Place, The Tap Room, and Brickhouse Brewery. Emerging small food producers like Lucky Lou’s Gourmet Rice Pudding and NoFo Crunch granola will also be flogging their wares and local oysters will be on the menu as well. Four or five food trucks will also be on hand to feed the hordes. Vendor fees will be part of the funds raised for the vets.

All the while there will be live music.

“We have three different stages,” says Ruckdeschel. “We actively solicited groups that feature veterans. We did the same last year and they were legitimately great bands. I rocked out all day.”

The festival goes from 9 am – 4 pm on Sunday, October 30. Parking will be at a premium and the adult beverages will be flowing, so the smart festivalgoer will look into taking the LIRR to Patchogue and walking to the street fair.

“If the runners can go 26 miles, the rest of us can probably walk a half mile from the train station,” says Ruckdeschel.

For more information on the running part of the events, contact The Greater Long Island Running Club at 516-349-7646 or For information on Taste of Long Island call 631-853-4714 or visit their website.