A couple of real-life elves were spotted in Patchogue Village, and, if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch a glimpse of them from now until Dec. 23, as part of the chamber’s “Elf’n Around Patchogue,” a monthlong event that provides deals to shoppers on Main Street wherever the elves are present. “Elf’n Around” does have its benefits.
For the second year, David Kennedy, Patchogue Chamber executive director, and Michele Cayea, director of education and outreach for the Patchogue-Medford Library, donned elf suits to participate in the merry event. The duo even posed for photos that were used to make life-size cardboard cutout images, which will be placed in front of different stores throughout the campaign. Wherever the cardboard cutouts are, that’s where the deals of the day are located.
“I love to bring energy. Anyone who knows me knows I’ll wear any type of crazy costume to bring awareness to local business,” said Cayea.
Kennedy said the event has taken on a life of its own, with Patchogue fans from near and far flocking to the chamber’s social media pages for updates on where the elves will be.
“We love that we’re bringing people into stores—there are a lot of shopping opportunities in the downtown,” said Kennedy.
To kick off the campaign, real Elf David and Elf Michele headed to the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27. The duo, along with chamber volunteers Jo Bennett and Gloria Burton, gave out Shop Small tote bags filled with swag from local businesses, including ChapStick, water bottles, and even free tickets for beer at the Village Idiot Pub. Inside the theater’s vestibule, young shoppers were handed holiday goody bags and invited to take a photo with Santa Claus.
For those walking along Main Street that day, the elves were a jolly sight and a reminder that the holidays in Patchogue are back in full swing.
“I think they’re festive,” said Mike Panzarino, an East Patchogue resident who passed by the theater and saw the elves in action. “It’s great. And I also think it’s great the holiday parade is back. It’s been very missed.”
Panzarino was referring to the Patchogue holiday parade, which returned to the village for its 59th year after a hiatus due to COVID-19.
On Sunday, Nov. 28, the cardboard Elf David and Elf Michele spent their first official day on the job—Elf David at Island Kava and Elf Michele at Tranquility Within. As promised, shoppers were offered deals at the stores of the day. Wherever shoppers see the cardboard elves (they’re impossible to miss), they should let the shop clerk know and the clerk will let the shopper know what the exact deal is, according to Kennedy.
“Patchogue is a fun town. That’s what we found with this campaign in particular,” he said.
“Elf’n Around Patchogue” takes a cue from the legend of the Elf on a Shelf, a Christmas tradition whereby one of Santa’s helpers is dispatched from the North Pole to keep an eye on kids, sitting on a shelf and taking notes about whether the child has been naughty or nice. Legend has it that, throughout the month of December, the elf moves to different shelves in the home on its own (without any assistance from mom or dad).
“It’s something the kids recognize and it’s a fun thing for parents, too. When they see us in the store, it’s fun; it’s whimsical; it’s festive,” said Cayea.
For updates and to see photos of the elves, visit the chamber’s Facebook and Instagram pages @PatchogueChamber.
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