Thousands of people hit the road in Suffolk County today to show support for President Donald Trump.
A caravan of cars, trucks and motorcycles — which police said numbered about 1,500 — left East Northport for Riverhead this morning.
There were no incidents involving clashes between Trump supporters and protesters in Riverhead until the end of the day, long after the last of the caravan had departed.
Some caravan participants returned to the Riverhead Plaza parking lot, the former site of the Riverhead Walmart, where they clashed with a small group of protesters. While they exchanged words and an argument grew heated, Riverhead Police arrived at the scene and kept the two groups apart. They eventually dispersed without a physical altercation. There were no arrests.
The parking lot had been designated a “regrouping area” for vehicles on the East Northport-to-Riverhead leg of the road rally. But it was filled to capacity with some 400 vehicles long before the riders from East Northport arrived in Riverhead. The vehicles in Riverhead joined the caravan for the second leg of the journey to Greenport.
MAGA-Gras organizer Shawn Farash said the turnout for the caravan today “just incredible.”
“The whole parking lot (in East Northport) was packed. I was already in Smithtown and the first lot was just emptying out,” Farash said.
The mood was excited and upbeat among the people waiting in the Riverhead lot this morning, where all the vehicles sported American flags and/or Trump flags. Many were decorated with hand-written expressions of support for the 45th President. One man took it a few steps further. He wore a Trump mask and was dressed in classic Trump attire— a Navy blue suit, white shirt and red tie.
Some Trump supporters lined the sidewalk outside the Riverhead Plaza shopping center, holding Trump flags aloft and waving to passing motorists who honked their support for the demonstration. Other motorists expressed their dissent with other messages and gestures as they drove past, but most just hit their horns.
The caravan from East Northport drove through Riverhead in relatively small clusters of five to 10 vehicles. The caravan traveled the entire distance from East Northport to Riverhead on Route 25 and stopped for traffic signals.
Farash said the caravan passed a group of protesters holding Biden/Harris signs in Greenport.
There were no groups of protesters on Route 58 as the caravan came through this afternoon. Two protesters stood on the sidewalk, one holding a hand-made sign that read “Black Lives Matter.”
“This has been amazing,” Farash said. It’s the second “MAGA-Gras” Farash has organized. The first, on Sept. 6, traveled from Copiague to Patchogue, with a second leg to Smith Point Park in Shirley. It drew about 200 cars all told, Farash said.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti
Support local journalism.
Now more than ever, the survival of quality local journalism depends on your support. Our community faces unprecedented economic disruption, and the future of many small businesses are under threat, including our own. It takes time and resources to provide this service. We are a small family-owned operation, and we will do everything in our power to keep it going. But today more than ever before, we will depend on your support to continue. Support RiverheadLOCAL today. You rely on us to stay informed and we depend on you to make our work possible.