The Fire Island National Seashore is once again teaming up with the village and local businesses for a Patchogue River Cleanup happening Sept. 21.

(The rain date is Sept. 28.)

Following the 10 a.m. cleanup, during which volunteers fan out across the river on boats, paddleboards and kayaks, the second annual Mac-N-Cheese challenge is set for noon to 3 p.m. at Drift 82.

The day’s cleanup portion starts at the Watch Hill Ferry Terminal and runs to noon.

The foodie contest will consist of over a dozen Patchogue restaurants competing for the title of best Mac-N-Cheese in Patchogue.

It’s $10 for attendees and $5 for cleanup volunteers to sample all the baked macaroni and cheese dishes. Proceeds go toward next year’s cleanup, with the money will be used for gloves, t-shirts, bags and other materials. The winner is chosen by a popular vote.

At the mac-off, there will also be music, vendors, and raffles.

This all comes as part of National Public Lands Days  — a national campaign through which volunteers from throughout the U.S. help better preserve the country’s natural resources.

cleanup details

Anyone interested in volunteering should meet at the Watch Hill Ferry Terminal at 10 a.m. for day-of registration. Fire Island National Seashore staffers will be supplying everything necessary for the cleanuip, including the safety wear and cleaning supplies.

A guide will be assigned to each volunteer group, some of which will be staying on land to clear the river banks of trash and debris.

The Village of Patchogue will be collecting the bagged garbage.


The idea of the event came during a boating trip with Kaetlyn Jackson, a park planner for Fire Island National Seashore, and her husband.

“As we were boating down we just started cleaning up,” said Jackson. “Then my husband asked if anyone cleaned up the river.”

After some research, she couldn’t find anything.

That prompted Jackson to hit the phone lines of the local businesses, municipalities, and schools to organize her own.

Now, in its fourth year, it’s grown ever since.

photo coverage from 2018: