Quantcast

Worth the trip across the bay: A Fire Island summer fun guide

Fire Island Lighthouse and the Great South Bay
Photo via Getty Images

There are events all summer long on Fire Island, but which ones are worth making the special trip for if you are not already there? In this list we explore which ones are worth planning a trip from the city for, making a community-lateral Fire Island visit for, and which ones on South Shore Long Island are worthy of a reverse commute from your beach abode for.

June

  • TASTE OF OCEAN BEACH, Saturday, June 1, 2024: Hosted by the Ocean Beach Community Fund, the 2nd annual Taste of Ocean Beach is a food & beverage crawl that allows participant to sample the best of the best of what Ocean Beach dining establishments have to offer be it appetizers, signature cocktails, main entrees or deserts. Tickets for Taste of Ocean Beach sold out within days of going live on Eventbrite in April, but the Ocean Beach Community Fund is keeping a waiting list for those who are interested.
  • ARTIST TOUR CHERRY GROVE & SILENT AUCTION, June 7, 8 & 9: The 11th Annual Artists Tour of Cherry Grove kicks off Friday Night, June 7 with a Silent Auction in which proceeds raised benefit the Cherry Grove Dune Fund. It is followed on June 8 and 9 with the talented artists in this collective opening their studios in the community of Cherry Grove with a free self-guided walking tour. Most participating artists will have their original works for sale, which is a great opportunity for collectors at all price points. www.artisttourcg.com.
  • JUNETEENTH ON FIRE ISLAND hosted by the Cherry Grove Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, an initiative of Arts Project of Cherry Grove, Juneteenth Weekend events are scheduled to take place from June 14-16 this year. Highlights include dinner and a show hosted by Miss Juneteenth 2023, Lanece Onassis as well as a screening of the Netflix film “Stamped from the Beginning,” with a group discussion to follow. Visit artsprojectcg.org or email inquiriesapcg@gmail.com for more information.

July

  • INVASION OF THE PINES, July 4: An event that started in 1976 as a protest, has evolved into the crown jewel for Fire Island events happens every year on the 4th of July now almost 50 years. Co-hosted by Arts Project of Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines Arts Project. The parade begins at the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove with a flotilla of drag queens (and kings) boarding ferry boats piloted by Sayville Ferry Service, where a red-carpet runway awaits in Fire Island Pines. From there enjoy music, dancing and live entertainment. Visit fippoa.org.
  • MAGGIE FISCHER MEMORIAL GREAT SOUTH BAY CROSS BAY SWIM, July 9: Perhaps the most feel-good event of the summer is shared equally by Fire Island and the Village of Brightwaters as swimmers and kayakers gather during the early morning hours under the shadow of Fire Island Lighthouse then begin their 5.5-mile journey across the Great South Bay to cross the finish line at Gilbert Park. Monies raised go towards Hospice Children and Family Bereavement Services as well as a scholarship with St. Anthony’s High School. Enrollment for swimmers closed last March, but there is plenty of opportunity to sponsor a swimmer or volunteer. Visit greatsouthbayswim.com
  • FIRE ISLAND DANCE FESTIVAL, July 19-21, organized by Dancers Responding to AIDS and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Since 1995, this Fire Island Pines based event is considered by many to be the pinnacle of culture during the Fire Island summer season. Major choreographers, ballet and dance companies participate in this weekend long gala affair. This year’s festival will be hosted by Tony Award winner, Beth Leavel. Featured performers this year include: New York City Ballet’s Gilbert Bolden III, choreographer Keerati Jinakunwiphat, and the  Paul Taylor Dance Company,  among others. Tickets available at dradance.org.
  • GREAT SOUTH BAY MUSIC FESTIVAL, July 18-21. Even Fire Islanders who refuse to leave the beach all summer long, will hop on the ferry wearing their Great South Bay Music Festival t-shirts, and head over to Shorefront Park in Patchogue because the event is just that good. Now 14 years strong, the Great South Music Festival is four days of music, artisan crafts, diverse food court and craft beers as well as child-friendly entertainment. Some of this year’s headline acts include Joe Bonamassa, Pepper, Dark Star Orchestra, The Disco Biscuits, Yes, and Justin Hayward as well as many other established and emerging artists. greatsouthbaymusicfestival.com
  • FIRE ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL, Ocean Beach. Something of a newcomer to the Fire Island events itinerary, getting their start only in 2021, the Fire Island Film festival brings independent films, both short and feature length in multiples genres together all under one roof. Filmmakers, directors and actors participates in a detailed Q&A about each film featured. This event was founded by child actor Jesse Ray Sheps. This year the 4th annual Fire Island Film Festival will be held on July 13. fifilmfest.com
Photo via Getty Images

August

  • OCEAN BEACH COMMUNITY FUND GALA, Aug. 3, the philanthropic organization that brings free dock concerts, historical society exhibitions, and other support to Ocean Beach and its neighbors all summer long hold this annual fundraiser August gala replenish their coffers for the next summer ahead. With music, fine dining, open bar as well as legendary raffle and silent auction items it is an event that can be enjoyed by longtime Fire Islanders and first-time newcomers alike. Usually held in the Ocean Beach Community House, they are trying something different for 2024 and holding an oceanside beach party. Tickets are usually sold at tables in downtown Ocean Beach by Community Fund volunteers themselves, and online venue will most likely be announced by the end of June.
  • LEZVOLLLEY VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT, Aug. 10, Cherry Grove. Beach volleyball at its best happens in Cherry Grove every summer and has been since 2011, thanks to LezVolley. This predominantly lesbian women’s tournament is one of the most popular LBGTQ+ and non-binary annual sporting events in the region. Competition is fierce, as is good sportsmanship. Demand to play is so high that year the LezVolley team enrollment period closed within the first 24 hours, but spectators are welcome on the beach to catch all the action.
  • PINES PARTY, Aug. 9-11, Fire Island Pines. The height of summer is celebrated with this most epic of all night annual beach parties in Fire Island Pines is actually multiple parties that includes tea dances, costume and pool parties all weekend long in Fire Island Pines. Now celebrating its 25th years, the theme for Pines Party 2024 is “Galactic Rodeo.” In this space-cowboy-infused fantasy, “a group of masked bandits are on the run, hiding in galaxies near and far. Known as the Cowboys and the Freaks, they’re drawn irresistibly to one thing: a legendary, out-of-this-world Hoe-Down.” It sounds like a wild ride. This is strictly and adults only event. Tickets are available now at pinesparty.com.
  • MISS FIRE ISLAND Contest, Aug. 31. In past years this Fire Island favorite events was traditionally held in September the weekend after Labor Day. Last year, the event was rescheduled to Labor Day Weekend when new management took over the Ice Palace nightclub. All the pageantry is still there. Must be at least 21 years of age to participate. Visit grovehotel.com/missfireisland.
  • DAVIS PARK ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW, Sept. 2, Church of the Most Precious Blood, Davis Park. Arts & crafts fair are plentiful on Fire Island all summer long and many of us have our favorites. However arguably none have quite the charm of green, lush Davis Park held on Labor Day. Held rain or shine within Most Precious Blood Church, it is a good mix of both local and visiting vendors with something for everyone at this family friendly event. Check local listings later in the summer for further details.

September

  • TRANS WEEKEND, Sept. 13-15, Cherry Grove. Trans Weekend first launched in 2023, was received with great success. This symposium weekend gear towards the transgender and non-binary community includes yoga, tea dances, and the celebrated New York Transgender Film Festival in which entries are presently still open for submission. queergrove.com for the complete itinerary.