Local artist and educator Cynthia LaPrarie has been busy in her workshop in the run-up to this year’s Patchogue Christmas Holiday Boat Parade on Patchogue River.
The theme this year is “A Cartoon Christmas.”
And that’s where LaPrarie shines.
For years she’s been decorating her Patchogue home with hand-painted characters from everyone’s favorite Christmas specials, including Frosty, Herbie the Elf, Charlie Brown and The Grinch.
And now she’s a staffer at Drift 82, so LaPrarie has volunteered her services to help adorn the waterfront restaurant for the holidays, starting with the huge Nov. 18 parade and parties along the river.
She’s created 17 character cut-outs in just three weeks, with more to come.
“I was only asking for a couple things,” laughed John Sarno, a Drift 82 co-owner. ‘Then she pretty much created every character I grew up with.”
“And I have my own at my house,” said LaPrarie, noting all the characters at Drift are new.
Sarno says the goal is to be “over the top,” ultimately transforming the entire restaurant and property at the mouth of Patchogue River into a winter wonderland each year.
“Hopefully we’ll get families down, taking pictures,” Sarno said. “Yeah, it’s cold on the water but guess what? It’s cold on Main Street too, and we have parking right here within steps.”
“These characters will be a holiday tradition for people,” said LaPrarie. “Like at my home, if I don’t put them up right away people come knocking on my door. People [take photos and] get Christmas cards out of these things.”
For the boat parade, Drift 82 is planning to illuminate the entire property and line the water’s edge with drum fires for people to keep warm through the night.
The Christmas Holiday Boat Parade starts at 6 p.m., with all the waterfront restaurants hosting bashes and playing host to docked, lighted boats.
Click here for photos from last year:
Photo: Cynthia LaPrarie and John Sarno at Drift 82 on Wednesday. (Michael White)