Riverhead is gearing up for its first-ever Edgar Allan Poe Festival, to be held all next weekend throughout downtown.
The fright begins just as school lets out on Halloween, with trick-or-treating and scary street characters throughout downtown Riverhead from 3 to 6 p.m.
Writers will be sharing the scary stories of Poe all afternoon, with Lisette Ruch’s reading of “The Cask of Amontillado” at Ralph’s Italian Ices at 3:30 p.m., followed by Ben Baglio’s Reading of “The Pit & the Pendulum” at Digger O’Dells at 4 p.m.
Author Jack Batcher will read “Never Bet The Devil Your Head” and “Are There Monsters In My Closet?” at Blue Duck Bakery Cafe at 4 p.m., while there will be family spooky ghost stories at Joe’s Garage at the same time.
At 4:30 p.m., Joseph Finora will read “The Bells” at Vines & Hops, and Lorraine Recchia will read “Spirits of The Dead” at the Riverhead Grill at 5 p.m., followed by Tom Gahan’s portrayal of Christian Carroll at the Grill at 5:30 p.m.
At 7 p.m. a Poe Parade will kick off from Osborn Avenue to Union Avenue, while a Wicked Apple Ale Party will be happening at Joes Garage from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by live music by NYX.
Joseph Finora will reprise his telling of “The Bells” at Vines & Hops at 8 p.m., followed by a 21+ Halloween party at Vines & Hops from 10 p.m. on.
On Saturday, Nov. 1, the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center will host a “Bats, Barnacles & Broomsticks Party” from 1 to 3 p.m., while an Edgar Allan Poe Exhibit officially opens at noon at the Suffolk County Historical Society.
The afternoon will be filled with literary happenings, including a reading of “The Pit and the Pendulum” at the Blue Duck Bakery Café and a meet and greet with Ichabod Crane at Joe’s Garage at 12:30 p.m. and readings of Poe’s stories throughout town all afternoon.
At 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall will host “The Ghost Writers Show,” a fictitious meeting between Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley and Bram Stroker, while the Peconic Ballet Company will present “Nightmare On Main Street” throughout the afternoon.
East End Arts will also host pumpkin carving from 1 to 3 p.m., with a carved pumpkin contest at 3 p.m., while cartoonist Don Duga, creater of the television show “Mad Monster Party,” will meet guests at Dark Horse Restaurant’s lunch boo-fet from 1 to 4 p.m.
The Vail-Leavitt Music Hall will present the children’s musical “Monster Mash” at 2 p.m., while there will be ghost stories for families at the farmers market in the former Sweezey’s department store.
The Long Island Science Center will also present spooky ghost stories at 2:30 p.m., and there will be a children’s costume party at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall at 6 p.m. with music by Batty Brady Rymer & Boo!tiful Jen Kane.
There will be fireworks at 8 p.m. and a Monster Mash Costume Party for grown-up kids at Joe’s Garage at 9 p.m.
Sunday’s schedule includes dance parties on the hour all afternoon at Ralph’s Italian Ices, an “Eat, Drink & Be Scary” brunch at the Long Island Aquarium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and encore performances of “The Ghost Writers Show” at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and of “Monster Mash” at 2 p.m.
There will also be tales by Poe and other scary writers throughout town all day Sunday.
At 4 p.m., the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall will present “Monsters and Mayhem in the Movies,” their exclusive exhibit of Hollywood memorabilia and original horror movie posters, with a video of Vincent Price’s daughter, Victoria, discussing her life with the horror icon, and videos of the making of movies based on Poe’s works. Four horror movie experts will be on hand answering questions.
The weekend ends with a Double Feature of Vincent Price movies at The Suffolk Theater beginning at 5:45 p.m., with screenings of “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Pit & The Pendulum.”