Hundreds of people congregated downtown Friday for "A Night Out in Riverhead." East End Arts coordinated the event, which began at 5 p.m. with an art show and talk at its gallery on Main Street. Sunnyland, a jazz band, played to a large crowd on the East End Arts lawn before the much-anticipated official lighting ceremony of the historic Suffolk Theatre's new digital marquee.
Downtown restaurants participated in the event by offering discounts or complimentary food and beverages.
By 8 p.m. Riverhead Police Department had closed Main Street to accommodate the crowd in front of the theater.
Speakers, including John Galla, Vic Prusinowski, Supervisor Sean Walter, Angie Carpenter, and Pat Snyder, the evening's coordinator, all praised theater owner Bob Castaldi for bringing the old theater back to life.
Watching the countdown numbers flash on the marquee, the crowd enthusiastically counted out loud, cheering and clapping as the fully lit sign dazzled Main Street.
Snyder, Executive Director of East End Arts, smiled broadly at the success of the evening's collaboration between the arts and local businesses.
"Tonight is an example of strengthening our community," Snyder said. "Everyone working together is important. I'm glad we were able to do it."