Newman family fundraiser canceled after town denies permit for event

The family of Dylan Newman, the 18-year old Southold High School graduate who died in September after a long battle with cancer, were left disappointed after a request to hold a charity event in his honor at Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue was denied. Planned for Dec. 17, the holiday celebration was going to raise funds for the Newman scholarship foundation as well as other local charities.

“We are very disappointed it was canceled,” said Dylan’s father, Todd Newman. “It sounded like it was going to be an amazing way to get people together to honor our son.” 

Stacey Soloviev, who owns the Christmas tree farm, planned to partner with friend Randy Frankel to add more holiday cheer to the event. Mr. Frankel, a co-owner of the Tampa Bay Rays and owner of Rose Hill Vineyards in Mattituck, said he was very moved by Dylan’s story. He offered to donate fireworks for the event as well as 1,000 slices of cake made by the Food Network’s “Cake Boss,” Buddy Valastro. 

“The story of Dylan Newman touched me and I was able to recently connect with his family and friends,” said Mr. Frankel. “I didn’t want the event to be canceled and not give the family a gift.”

Mr. Frankel personally donated $25,000 to the Newman family’s scholarship foundation. He has also offered to work with the family on the construction of a scoreboard with Dylan’s name at Southold High School.

Members of the Town Board voted 6-0 to deny the permit request. They cited the area surrounding Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm as being too residential for the amount of traffic the celebration would generate. There was also concern that a fireworks display would create a significant amount of danger for those in and around the area. 

While nothing is planned for the immediate future, there is hope that the town and Ms. Soloviev can work together next year to host a similar event. 

“We hope to get something together to honor our son,” Mr. Newman said. “We are so thankful for the generosity of our community and Mr. Frankel. We want to do great things in Dylan’s name.”